Thursday, July 10, 2008

Picnic Chicken and Black-eyed Pea Salad

Today’s accomplishment (read: what I did) was the invention of a black-eyed pea salad to accompany oven-fried chicken. The chicken recipe can be found at

Enter Spice-Rubbed Picnic Chicken in the search box.

We used packages, one each, of bone-in thighs and legs. At our market the packages of thighs usually have four pieces and the legs five. For two people that’s enough for two big meals.

Important -- try this variation: We found the chicken too salty the first time we made it. Today we brined the chicken for two hours, dried it (without rinsing), and then put the spice rub on it without adding the salt it calls for. Then it sat in the fridge from about 11:30 am until 4 pm, at which time we took it out to come up in temperature until 5 pm when we put it in the oven.

If you like things saltier than we do, just go with the original recipe.

Brining liquid for chicken

For 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces:
1 quart water
¼ cup sugar
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce)
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp garlic powder

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Add the chicken pieces, weight down with a plate to keep it all submerged, and place in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 hours.

After that time, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Do not rinse it.

Black-eyed pea salad
10 oz. frozen black-eyed peas
Cook peas according to package directions
Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature

1 Yellow jalapeno, sliced cross-wise
1 large stalk celery (or 2 or 3 small), sliced small, including leaves
1 scallion (green and white parts), finely chopped
1 green pepper
Salt and pepper
Buttermilk dressing

I microwaved the peas, cutting down the cooking time by about 2 minutes to keep the beans al dente.

The pepper looks just like a jalapeno but is yellow instead of green. I don’t know what it’s called. It’s a little milder than a jalapeno. Cut the top off, scoop out the pith and seeds (or leave it in if you want a little extra kick), and slice it cross-wise into thin rings.

Blister the skin of the green pepper under the broiler and then place it in a paper bag to steam for about 20 minutes. Peel the skin off after it is cool. Chop into bite-size pieces.

When the beans are cool, toss all the ingredients together. Add the dressing about 1 hour before serving.

I deliberately cut all the vegetables to a size that allows for eating the salad with a soup spoon. Do what you like.

Buttermilk dressing

I am including this recipe (and the brine recipe above) because they come from a magazine, “Cook’s Country,” an ancillary publication to “Cooks Illustrated,” which you may not receive. We did not make these two things up ourselves.

I am going to the library today to pick up a book I’ve been waiting to get my hands on. It’s titled “Charcuterie” and reportedly will tell me how to make all kinds of cured meats at home. Yummo! This is the book that contains the recipe I downloaded for making corned beef. I referred to the corned beef in my last blog. It will be ready in 3 more days. Can’t wait.

¾ cup mayonnaise
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup roasted red pepper, chopped
3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp dried dill
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Mix all this stuff together.

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