Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chicken and Bechemel (yet another way to use up leftover chicken)

This is not a picture of my chicken recipe of the day, obviously, this is a picture of my two Pugs, WalterPug (right) and BabyAlice (left).

I suppose, technically, she's not a baby any more, she's 7 months old but I have a feeling that as we progress through our lives and dogs come and dogs go, whether she's the youngest of the herd or not, she'll always be BabyAlice.

They are my constant companions in the kitchen.  I try to think it's because they love me but lately, I am starting to believe the hype, they don't love me, they love what I drop! :)

I love them and thought they needed some screen time.

Ok, the food, that's why we are here.

I've been thinking about it lately and I do realize I cook a lot of chicken.  I like chicken.  Chicken is cheap and you can do about 2,387,875 things with it. I always have chicken leftover somewhere in this house.  I am starting to think it's a serious problem but not one that I'll deal with at the moment.  At the moment, I have half a chicken that needs tending to and I don't want to do the same thing with it I've done before.

I've been in bed for 2 days with a horrible stomach plague.  I have a hankering for something warm, gooey, unctuous and that will let me eat it out of a bowl with something soft, something crunchy, something green and something creamy.

Hello new pots and pans (that's another post) how YOU doin?  Let's cook something.

*Oh and for regular readers.  I'm going to write these posts in this format; Recipe first, short version instruction, long winded blather on and on describing every moment in tine with a million photographs version, end. So you can get in and out quickly if you've no time for my nattering. O____O

Tracys Chicken with Bechemel and Broccoli
(you bet it's like a fake version of my fake chicken divan-ish, sometimes imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)

half a cooked chicken
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
milk (3-4 cups?)
frozen broccoli
Ritz crackers
Gruyere cheese, or sharp old cheddar or none

The short (don't make me read your commentary, just tell us how you made it) instructions: 

Make a roux, make thick bechemel, cool.
Pour over broccoli cuts and sliced, cooked, chicken.
Add a little grated cheese on top and some crackers and butter!
Bake about 40-45 minutes in a hot oven.
Serve with plain, steamed rice.
Be happy.

Here's the play by play and long version commentary 

Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a pan and add the same amount of all purpose flour, whisk around a bit.

The trick to "corner" cleaning with a whisk is to push with the palm of your hand around the edge and it'll get any dry bits from the sides :)  no need for spatulas!  *chefy trick!* Stir it around for a minute or so then add about 2 cups of cold milk.  Don't worry about adding gradually, just dump it in and keep whisking.
Add some thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg. I use whole nutmeg and this cutie pie little grater that holds the nutmeg in the top, cool.
Stir until it boils, it's still pretty thin here
Add more milk once it comes to a boil and let it go Volcano.  It'll be thick and molten and bubbly.  I like it to be on the thick side here considering I'm going to lay it over chicken and bake it, it'll thin out in the cooking in the oven.  This looks good.  Pour it into a 4 cup measure to cool, cover it with cling wrap and let it just wait for you.
Butter your favorite 9inch round pie plate and put some frozen broccoli in it.  I use the 'cuts' rather than 'florets', they are more delicious, taste more like broccoli, have more taste and texture than just florets and are much less expensive.
Here's my half a roasted chicken, it's the leftover from the Roast Chicken in a Bundt Pan recipe. It was a gigantic hit and the only reason there's some left over is because I dished it up and then packed it away and then got sick and when I'm sick, no one cooks so it was waiting for me.
 Pull off the wing, leg and thigh and breast. 
Flip the backbone and pull back the skin, seriously, this matters. On each side of the backbone, you'll see the "oyster"  this is the best part of any ANY roast chicken, of any chicken any way you cook it.  It's cooks treat.  Slide your thumb down into the depression, a little oyster shaped indent in the bone and it'll slip out.
Get the other side too.  These are the two hollows, always get this meat!  I steal it from the pressure cooker chicken as soon as I open it because I cook that one upside down.  That's another post, I'm doing video with that one, won't be long!
Put all the bones, the skin and the jelly/fat that's in the bottom of your pan and put it in your new cookware :D  Cover with water, bring up to a boil and simmer, with a lid on for 20-30 minutes.  Strain it and you have some killer, quickie, roast chicken stock.  I will be using to cook pasta or dumpling in tomorrow or the next night and it's free!
Ok, stock doing it's thing, after the de-boning, slice the chicken and lay it over the broccoli. When the bechemel is cool, drape (look how chef-y I am getting in the new year!) the sauce thickly! over the chicken and broccoli. 
Grate a very little bit of Gruyere over the sauce then maybe breadcrumbs if you'd like or not, if you'd like and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes. 
I decided I did need crunch so I grabbed a handful of my favorite salty, buttery, Ritz crackers.  Place said crackers into your Magic Bullet blender cup and blend for 2 seconds and you have crumbs!
Ah, look at my chef-y crumb scattering!  Now, don't tell anyone but yes, I did melt butter and drizzle it all over the top.  C'mon, I've been ill and starved for food and cooking!
425 degree oven, top third, 40 minutes.  I'll meet you back here with beauty shots.


Serve with plain rice or noodles or buttered or brown rice or pasta or salad or nothing. I think this is a keeper.  I will admit it's so very similar to my fake divan but this doesn't have the denseness and it feels fresher and lighter and I think I'm adding it to my regular rotation. 



Ok, so after 30 minutes of simmering, I strained the stock and got 4 cups, of free, golden, delicious, roast chicken stock.  I'll pop it in the fridge to de-fat it.  I will scrape any fat that rises to the top into my "chicken fat" jar in the fridge for use another day.  I will then separate the stock into 1 cup plastic containers or bags and throw them in the freezer or use them to boil up noodles or dumplings or just have as hot broth the next time I'm hit with the plague of the century, like the one that hit me on my Birthday this past Saturday night and put me in bed for 2 days.  Nasty stuff that but next time, I'll have this broth to soothe me. 

Make your own any time you have bones,  You'll be happy. 


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