Tag: Chicken (Page 1 of 2)

A Favorite Recipe: Chef Jerry Traunfeld’s Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Of all of the cities outside of the Midwest to which I’ve traveled, I’ve visited Seattle the most.

This is not by chance, as two of my good friends have resided there for years. The last time I visited Seattle was for my friend’s wedding during the winter of 2012. I felt giddy with excitement to find a coffee shop and Thai restaurant on every block. When Jake and I got married, our Seattle friend gave us a copy of Chef Jerry Traunfeld’s cookbook The Herbal Kitchen. Traunfeld is currently Chef Owner of Poppy, a restaurant that serves a Thali-inspired menu, and he’s opening Lionhead this spring which will serve his take on Szechuan cuisine.

As the book’s title suggests, An Herbal Kitchen focuses on cooking with herbs. I appreciate how this book includes recipes that are easy to prepare at home. I’m not into those glossy cookbooks that only include complicated recipes with 20 ingredients, most of which I will never be able to find in North Iowa. Right now, I seek recipes that are both elegant and approachable.

We’ve tried several dishes from The Herbal Kitchen and our favorite is the Lemon Rosemary Chicken. Chicken thighs are one of the most affordable and flavorful meats available and this recipe’s short ingredient list produces a complicated flavor that tastes like a million bucks. The olives, red onion, currants, and lemon cook down to something resembling a sweet and savory chutney. I like to add a little extra broth so we can sop-up the extra sauce with bread.

I’ve prepared this recipe with both boneless-skinless and bone-in chicken thighs with equally delicious results. You’ll find both methods below.

Chef Jerry Traunfeld’s Lemon Rosemary Chicken
Published by JeniEats with permission from Chef Traunfeld


1 1/2 lb. boneless-skinless chicken thighs
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary (or about 1/2 this amount of dried)
1/2 cup chicken broth (or more if you like extra sauce)
Zest of one lemon, finely grated with microplane
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives
3 tablespoons (or more) of lemon juice


  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange chicken in a single layer and cook for about three-minutes or until browned. Stir the chicken and brown the other sides. Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat and add the onion and rosemary. Cook until the onion is softened (about three-minutes).
  4. De-glaze the pan with chicken broth, scraping up all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the lemon zest, currants, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper and browned chicken. Cover and cook on low for about 15-minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  6. Uncover pan and increase heat to high. Add lemon juice and cook until the sauce forms a glaze.

Bone-in Chicken Thigh Method:

Olive Chicken

  1. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 lb. boneless-skinless chicken thigh meat. I used 2 lbs of bone-in chicken thighs which equalled three thighs.
  2. Season thighs generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Sear the chicken, skin-side down in oil until golden brown and rendered. Flip and sear on the other side until browned. Remove from pan and set aside. 
  4. If yo have a lot of fat, drain all but enough to coat the pan.
  5. Add the rosemary and onion and saute until the onion is soft.
  6. Add about a cup of chicken broth, lemon zest, currants, olives, salt and pepper.
  7. Place browned chicken on top and cover.
  8. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through (165℉).
  9. When the chicken is cooked, uncover and add lemon juice. Cook until sauce is as reduced as you like.

My Recipe For [Relatively] Easy Chicken Parmesan

We’re fans of meat cutlets. There’s really not much to dislike about thin, breaded, pounded-out pieces of meat cooked until crisp, unless you don’t like meat, that is. I used to only order breaded meat cutlets dishes at restaurants instead of preparing them home because I feared they’d be too messy or cumbersome. Then, we made breaded cutlets so often in culinary school that I lost my fear.

Thanks to my year in culinary school, I can practically prepare many foods in my sleep. These include soup, tuna salad, and pie crust which I avoided for 28 years. The same applies to breaded foods. I really do think I can assemble a proper breading station with my eyes closed.

Once you feel comfortable preparing a breaded meat cutlet, you can make a variety of dishes. Besides Chicken Parmesan, we like schnitzel which I’ve made with pounded-out pork. And if you ever visit a Mexican restaurant that serves tortas, try ordering one with a thin and crispy slice of beef milanese.

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Grilled Korean Chicken Sandwiches For Two

White meat or dark meat?

Jake and I differ in our preferences. While Jake is far from a picky eater, he prefers boneless skinless chicken breast while I prefer the drumsticks and thighs. I often find boneless skinless chicken breasts inedibly dry unless they are heavily marinated or fried.

One evening, Jake asked me if I could make a Korean version of a blackened chicken sandwich with the gochojang I brought back from United Noodles in Minneapolis, MN. Gochujang is a fermented chili-soybean paste that’s frequently used in Korean cooking. It’s widely available in most Asian grocery stores.


This spicy chili paste is intensely flavored and adds a Korean flavor to any dish. I’ve used spoonfuls of gochujang to season fried rice, ramen noodles, beans & rice, and short ribs. I am dreaming of more gochujang possibilities like chicken wings or a spicy gochujang-mayo. Maybe gochujang will become the next Sriracha.

The marinated chicken in our sandwiches tasted more like a Korean twist on teriyaki than anything blackened, but dinner a success. I soaked the chicken in the marinade for four hours. This process helped it remain juicy and flavorful after we cooked it on our little Foreman grill.

Korean Chicken Sandwich

Garnish your grilled chicken sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and red onion and a little mayonnaise. This combination may sound a little strange, but will hit all of your favorite sweet, savory, and spicy notes.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (our pack contained three)
Soy sauce, enough to coat the chicken breasts
Brown sugar or honey, a little less than the amount of soy sauce used
Sesame oil, a small drizzle
1 clove grated garlic
Grated ginger with the juice, about a teaspoon
Black pepper
Gouchujang paste, about one tablespoon
Garnishes: Lettuce, tomato, onion, mayonnaise


  1. Place the chicken breasts in a ziplock bag.
  2. Add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, black pepper, and gochujang.
  3. Squish the bag together so that the marinade combine and coats the chicken. You can also whisk the marinade in a bowl first and then marinate the chicken in a container. Allow the chicken to marinate for several hours or a day.
  4. Grill the chicken breasts and create a sandwich with your favorite garnishes.

Is It Possible To Cook Rotisserie-Style Chicken In A Crock-Pot? My Take + Good Gravy

I have a confession:

I used to think Crock-Pot recipes were kind of annoying. It seemed like I kept encountering Crock-Pot recipes everywhere, for every time of food imaginable such as Crock-Pot mashed potatoes to Crock-Pot spaghetti. I couldn’t help but question, “Just because you can cook it a crock pot, does mean you should?”

The answer I’ve arrived at is a “We can crock pot that!” attitude in the spirit of Portlandia’s We can pickle that! bit.

I love my big Crock-Pot, so much so, that it’s earned a mostly permanent spot on my kitchen counter. Before college, my mom gave me a small Crock-Pot that lives in my cupboard. I use it less frequently, but find it handy for keeping food warm and making small batches of stew.

Crock Pot Selfies wm

When my friend Kristen of Make the Best of Everything posted her recipe for Crock-Pot Rotisserie Chicken, I had to give it a try. I had just bought locally-raised chickens from my friends at Twisted River Farm and her timing could’t be more perfect.

I simply rubbed a small chicken with butter and a seasoning mix before placing it on foil balls. Then, I cooked it on low until the meat was tender and the skin rendered.

rotisserie Chicken twisted river wm

The chicken had a texture and moistness very similar to a store-bought rotisserie chicken. The skin wasn’t crispy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how far it had rendered down to a paper-thin layer. Then, I added the chicken’s drippings into my rice’s cooking liquid.

More recently, I tried a different spin on Crock-Pot Rotisserie chicken. This time, I bought a pair of chickens from my friend Shannon who raised them at her pumpkin patch Enchanted Acres. I’ll always remember the excitement I felt upon holding a baby chick for the first time when we visited her days after she brought the chicks home from Hoover’s Hatchery in nearby Rudd.

chicken Collage
I followed the The Country Cook‘s advice and stuffed the bird with aromatics. I used fresh lemon, onion, fresh garlic and parsley.

To add flavor to the juices and elevate the bird from the bottom of the pot, I nested it on a bed of vegetables I found in my fridge such as sweet potatoes, carrots celery and onion. With the Crock-Pot set to low, I roasted the bird for about six hours until it began to fall apart.

With this particular chicken, my skin wasn’t as throughly rendered as the first. This may be due to the facts that the chicken had more fat or cooking it on a bed of veggies instead of tin foil created more liquid and steam. I followed Brandie’s advice to simply broil the chicken before serving. The juices that formed in the bottom of my Crock-Pot made a beautiful gravy; one of the most umami-filled gravies I’ve ever tasted.

FInished Chicken wm

Cooking a rotisserie-style chicken in a Crock-Pot is not necessarily the fastest way to cook a chicken, nor will it produce results exactly like your grocery store’s, but the method is stress-free and close enough to a real thing that it’s become one of my new favorite recipes.

Jeni’s Take On Cooking A Rotisserie-Style Chicken In A Crock-Pot

Vegetables, roughly chopped. Enough to cover the bottom of your Crock -Pot: I used sweet potatoes, carrots, onions & celery
1 whole chicken
Olive oil or butter
Parsley sprigs, a handful
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/2 head of garlic, sliced in half, or a handful of crushed garlic cloves (skin-on is OK)
Your favorite seasonings: I used a combination of Lawry’s seasoning salt, thyme, rosemary, smoked paprika and sumac.

Chicken fat
Chicken stock
Pepper, white & black
Garlic or garlic powder


  1. Layer the bottom of your Crock-Pot with chopped vegetables.
  2. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
  3. Season the inside of the chicken with salt & pepper, and stuff with garlic, lemon slices and more onion.
  4. Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil or butter and your favorite herbs and spices.
  5. Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender. This could take anywhere between five and seven hours, depending on the size of your chicken.
  6. For more rendered skin, put the bird on a pan and broil until it’s as golden as you like.
  7. To make the gravy, pour the juices and vegetables into a strainer placed over a container. Press the vegetables gently to gather all of the broth.
  8. As the juices cool, the fat will rise to the top. Strain about 1/3 cup of the fat into a pan and heat.
  9. Whisk flour into the hot fat, until it resembles the texture of wet sand. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. Cook long enough to eliminate the raw flour quality, but not enough to brown.
  10. Whisk in the broth, a little at a time. The flour-fat roux will thicken the broth. You can always add more liquid.
  11. Season the gravy with salt, pepper and a little garlic. Drizzle over the chicken.

I Got Chickens: Meet Twisted River Farm

Every day that we live in Iowa, I learn how much I don’t know about farming.

Jake’s still a city kid at heart, and I thought I was, too. But since our move to North Dakota, I have become very taken with the rolling prairie and big skies. I was driving back home to Mason City from Riceville at dusk the other night and realized that I like feeling humbled by nature. The vastness of the colorful sky and bobbing of the fences along farms made me feel small and I liked it.

One of the best things about moving to Iowa has been connecting with all types of farmers. Many of these farmers are gifted bloggers who I enjoy following. They share their favorite recipes and glimpses of their lives caring for their farms. I especially get a kick out of Cristen’s stories about raising pigs on her blog Food and Swine. Her recent post about their pig Cookie Dough blowing bubbles in their kiddie pool made me giggle.

Two North Iowa farmers we’ve connected with are Steve & Marcy of Twisted River Farm located in Rock Falls, IA. This is their first year farming.

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

Photo by Twisted River Farm

When Steve told us they were beginning their farming efforts by raising chickens to harvest, we jumped at the chance to order them. Through social media, they chronicled raising the chickens in a pen that they rotated around a pasture for seven weeks.


Photo by Twisted River Farm

In the pen, the chickens had access to sunshine, grass, and exercise, plus a diet of all the bugs they could eat and organic feed produced in Webster City, IA. Steve explained that these birds were raised in a pen because the particular breed is slower and easy for prey to catch.

The great news is that Twisted River farm sold out ALL of their chickens this first go-around.

Unfortunately, Steve and Marcy won’t be able to raise another harvest of chickens this year. In the meantime, they are not only working full-time jobs, but strategizing how to grow their business and taking time to research what will fit their efforts by touring other farms. Many customers requested that Twisted River Farm sell eggs next year, so Steve and Marcy hope to add eggs and produce in the future.

We ordered two chickens and enjoyed one immediately after delivery. I simmered the bird and pulled the meat from its bones (which I froze to make stock with later). Then, I made Jake’s favorite thin crust pizzas and topped them with the moist chicken.

You can find my favorite pizza crust recipe in my recent post about making beet flatbread. Before you bake the flatbread, coat it in a light coating of olive oil and season it with salt and pepper.


We may have discovered our new favorite combination of pizza toppings! Our finished flatbread reminded me of the Roasted Chicken and Basil Pesto Flatbread we loved ordering from Maxwell’s in Fargo, ND. Try the following:

  • Minced garlic scapes, if available. Otherwise, spread some finely minced or grated garlic on the crust under the cheese.
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Pulled chicken
  • Roasted kholrabi (peel, dice, roast with olive oil, salt & pepper at 375℉ until golden)
  • Caramelized onions
  • Diced tomato
  • Reduced balsamic vinegar to drizzle over the baked pizza

Once you top your pizza, bake until the crust and cheese are golden brown and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes if you like it spicy.

Twisted River I

Photo by Twisted River Farm

Thanks for the chickens!

Learn more about Twisted River Farm on Facebook & Twitter.

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