Tag Archives: Chicken

Faux Samosas

Faux Samosas

 

As a girl with third world sensibilities, I have a horror of throwing out perfectly good food.  I also understand, however, that trying to finish tons of leftovers can just kill the appetite.  So while I don’t mind recycling edible, clean food… I like to do it with a little style and effort.

These aren’t really proper samosas. They aren’t even empanadas. I am not sure what they are. They are chicken pot pies but I avoid calling it that because my proper chicken pot pie is a casserole. Anyway, the silly name sorts of ensures it will be consumed. People can be very fickle about what they put in their mouths and I do not blame them.

Since I took the trouble of recycling leftovers, I decided to document the process, too.

 

Dough

Proportions doubled from original dough recipe of the Culinary Institute of America’s The Professional Chef (9th edition). The method, however, is pretty much what I remember from cooking school.  

24 oz. all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

8 fluid oz. warm water

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

In a large bowl, sift the flour. Sprinkle the salt on top. Make an indentation in the center of the flour and pour the water and oil into the hole. With a large wooden spoon or a spatula, slowly mix in the liquid into the flour mixture. If it begins to get difficult to use a spoon, knead the mixture with very clean hands, trying to get everything into one big mass. When the dough is smooth, cut into two (or four) pieces and shape into square discs. Cover each disc individually with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

While waiting, consider your filling.

 

The Week’s Chicken Filling

For the filling of this particular version, I used my brother-in-law’s delicious chicken asado, two-thirds of a Costco roast chicken, and the last pieces of my chicken paprika. I could have thrown in a couple of other odds and ends but I feel it was important to preserve the flavor profile of the chicken asado, which I wanted to dominate over everything else. Aside from the leftovers, I assembled:

1 onion, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

leftover chicken, no skin, chopped up nicely

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

1 cup frozen peas

1 to 2 teaspoons paprika

1 to 2 teaspoons sugar

salt and pepper

I browned the onions in warm olive oil, added the chicken, tomato sauce, peas, and seasonings to taste.

Since I have no idea what leftovers you might be using, good luck with experimenting. Just remember to let the filling cool down before assembling the faux samosas.

 

To Assemble: 

On a large, well-floured board, place the chilled dough. Dig out your rolling-pin. (The CIA dough procedure uses a pasta maker, but since I sold mine when I moved, the rolling pin is an old-fashioned option.)

If you don’t own a rolling pin, a gonzo option includes any heavy cylindrical glass you may have in the cupboard. Just exercise caution while doing this. You don’t want broken glass all over your hands. A tinned soup can, without a label and absolutely clean, should work too.

 

With clean, well-floured hands and a well-floured rolling pin, roll out the dough, using even pressure throughout. Rotate the dough with each turn, to make sure it does not stick to the bottom of board. Roll out the dough until it reaches a 1/4 inch thickness.

At this point I would like to point out my dough is far from perfect. I can see air pockets and folds. If aesthetics doesn’t bother you too much, feel free to ignore these things in your own work too.

 

 

 

Dig out your pizza cutter—or any sharp chef knife—and cut the dough into squares.

Place a teaspoon or two of chicken filling in the center of the dough square.

 

 

 

 

 

Seal the faux samosa by pinching the edges together. 

For a bit of old-school charm, bring out a fork and primp the edges of the dough.

 

 

 

 

 

To finish: 

Just before deep-frying, brush the surface of the faux samosas with egg wash.

Deep fry in a good quantity of hot oil. Let drain briefly on clean paper towels before serving hot.

I think total preparation time took around two hours. It’s a lot of work but it’s still better than throwing out at least a kilo of chicken. Once these are piping hot and smothered with peanut sauce, it becomes worth the effort.

Paprika Chicken with Mushroom Risotto

Paprika Chicken with Mushroom Risotto

Last week’s experiment tasted better than it looks. I’ll probably fine-tune the proportions for the risotto the next time I make it. Please consider this a rough draft you can work on, if so inclined.

 

Pan Fried Paprika Chicken

4 to 5 boneless chicken breast fillets

salt and pepper

paprika

1/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

red pepper flakes

1/4 cup olive oil (add more if needed)

1/2 cup white wine

Take your boneless chicken breast fillets and pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess liquid. Pound them between sheets of plastic film if you wish them to be thin. (This is optional if you aren’t bothered by thickness of the fillets and you’re too lazy to hunt for your mallet like me.) Season each fillet with salt, pepper, and paprika. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, cheese and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a roomy sauté pan. Once the oil is warm, dredge the seasoned breast fillets into the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Pan fry each piece around three to four minutes on each side, taking care not to crowd the pan. Larger fillet pieces will need extra cooking time. (This is why hunting out for the mallet was a good idea. Oh well.)

Let the cooked fillet pieces rest on a plate with some clean paper towels while making the risotto.

Off heat, deglaze the pan with white wine, scraping off the nice brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Set this aside for the risotto.

 

 

Mushroom Risotto

6 cups warm water *

1 chicken broth cube

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced finely * *

1 cup button mushrooms, sliced finely

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced finely

1 white onion, diced

2 cups Arborio rice

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated cheddar (or any nice hard cheese you have on hand)

sea salt to taste

black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter

 

* If you’re using dried mushrooms (fresh shiitake mushrooms aren’t available everywhere!) hydrate the mushrooms by soaking in one to two cups of warm water.  Microwaving the mushrooms in the water helps speed up the process. After at least ten to fifteen minutes of soaking, check each mushroom piece and discard any hard pieces (usually the stems.) Remove the mushrooms with a spoon, then strain the remaining liquid into a measuring cup. Whatever amount you have (usually around one cup) can be used to replace some of the 6 cups of water.

* * Don’t forget to remove the black gills beneath the mushroom caps. These things are easily peeled off once you remove the stem. Technically, you can leave it in, but it will muddy up the color of the risotto.

 

Dissolve the chicken broth cube in the water. Set aside.

Warm some of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms, and sauté until soft, for about three minutes. Remove mushrooms and their liquid, and set aside.

With the remaining olive oil, sauté the onions for five to six minutes, or until it has a nice, slightly caramelized look. Add the rice, stirring to coat with oil, and cook for a few minutes. When the rice is golden brown and begins to smell lightly toasted, add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, stirring constantly for even absorption. When the 1/2 cup is almost absorbed, add another 1/2 cup, and continue to stir. Repeat this process until all the liquid is absorbed, ending with the white wine from the chicken. It usually takes twenty-five to thirty minutes.

Turning off the heat, add the mushrooms and any of its liquid, butter, and the cheeses, stirring well so distribution is even. Season with salt and pepper.