Chicken and Turkey

Spatchcock A Go-Go

Posted by on Nov 22, 2016 in Chicken and Turkey | 3 comments


Spatchcock, a late 18th-century cooking term, probably Irish, refers to dispatching a capon. Nowadays, chickens and even turkeys are popularly ‘spatchcocked’ which means to cut out the backbone, lay open and flatten as one piece— like, butterflying for birds.


If you find yourself downsizing from large family meals, cooking for a few or two, this method seems celebratory, fancy and delightful…


Begin with a ‘rack’ of fresh vegetables. I use carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, onions and celery or any combination of aromatics on hand.  Not only do the hard vegetables provide a resting place, they roast on their own absorbing luscious juices and flavors.   In this sequence, after I used scissors to remove the spine, I arranged onions and


Delicata squash with a bundle of fresh sage leaves.


Dry the chicken with paper towels and liberally salt both sides of the bird. I chose olive oil mixed with fresh garlic, and strands of exotic saffron to season the top side, creating a flavor  profile and a vehicle to crisp the skin.


Set the chicken on top of the seasoned vegetables.  This is best done hours in advance (set the roasting pan uncovered in the refrigerator).  Set chicken on the counter 30 to 45 minutes before you cook it; this allows it to reach room temperature.  Roast the chicken at a high temperature (450 degrees) for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size;


then add 1 cup of white wine or stock and continue to cook until the thigh meat (away from the bone) reaches 160 degrees.


Remove from the oven and cover the pan, allowing the juices to redistribute.

Lift out the chicken and cut into pieces, placing them on a platter with the vegetables.

Place the pan on the stovetop over low heat.  Scrape up the brown bits; add a tablespoon of butter and cook until slightly thickened.


Adjust the seasonings and pour over the platter of chicken and roasted vegetables.

Cozy and comforting; this will remind you of long ago; you know, back in Ireland


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Oh, Those Figs

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Chicken and Turkey | 0 comments


Theoretically, this episode was to feature figs; an ancient purplish brown and green fruit which I long for in early summer and then again in autumn.



The sweet, sumptuous fruit seems like a grown-up indulgence piled onto a slice of toasted artisan bread for breakfast or

2015-06-26 19.51.36

 dolled up with fruity olive oil on a quiet staycation afternoon.



  A collection could land on a pizza titillated by goat cheese and a balsamic reduction.

On this occasion, I was inspired to create an Asian salad where grilled figs had a starring role alongside a potent gingered sesame dressing.



May you perhaps surmise in the end, Spicy Honey –Brushed Chicken Thighs stole the show.  A magical mix of earthy and spicy seasonings tinged with honey and cider vinegar is the secret to tender boneless, skinless thighs.  Although Cooking Light illuminates these under a broiler, they ought to make grill appearances all summer long.




I nixed sweet gilded cashews for raw nuts in the Food and Wine feature recipe; thick and fragrant dressing added a wallop of contrast to the o’so delicious chicken—


but, yes the succulent fig beauties remain my besties.

 Photographs and text used on cococooks belong to me, Peggy Lunde unless linked otherwise.

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs


  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray for grill
  • 6 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar


  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Add chicken to bowl; toss completely.
  3. Place chicken on a grill coated with cooking spray. Grill the chicken 5 – 6 minutes on each side until done.
  4. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Brush honey mixture on both sides of chicken thighs. Let stand 1-2 minutes longer.
  5. --adapted from Cooking Light


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Alfresco Days are Here to Stay

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Chicken and Turkey | 0 comments

Here they come.  Food magazines line up revealing summer’s demise and hyping the amazing flavors of fall. Ah, I sigh, not here in Cali.  Garden and green plush lawns are gone; water restrictions sadly display a seemingly endless drought.  So for us grilling season runs through Christmas counting on El Niño to patch us up.

Tandoori Chicken is a great way to plump alfresco-style picnics and potlucks since it is served hot off the grill or portable at room temperature. And, why not indulge in a drum and a thigh setting aside weary boneless, skinless breasts for the harsh winter ahead.


Indeed, another plus is the make-ahead dynamic, meaning you could have prepped this yesterday.



Few ingredients make this simple enough to prepare a double or triple batch. (Drumsticks are beloved by children).



First, sizzle up the spice blend in a bit of oil, which handily removes rawness and busts out fragrant exotic spice notes in less than a minute.


Pour red wine vinegar over the spices and stir.  Place the yogurt in a medium bowl; slide the spice mixture into the yogurt to combine.









Now, drape each piece of chicken in the yogurt mixture to coat.  Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours.  Set up a direct and indirect grilling pattern.  Over moderate heat set the skin side pieces on a well-oiled grill over direct heat.  Let each piece grill without disturbing until it releases easily –don’t rip off the skin—is what I’m saying.  Turn the pieces over and grill until lightly browned and move to indirect heat to finish.  Internal temperature should be 165 degrees.


Serve hot or at room temperature with your best, best sides.

Green Bean Potato Salad

gb salad (2)

Bulgur and Blueberry Salad with Mint Dressing




Grilled Tandoori-style Chicken Thighs


  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in skin on chicken thighs
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons each, curry powder and kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt, like Fage
  • Vegetable oil for grill


  1. Mix the spices together in a bowl. Heat the oil in a small non-stick skillet over low heat. Stir in the spices and heat until they become fragrant, 30-60 seconds. Stir in vinegar. Add the yogurt to a medium bowl. Add the spice mixture to the bowl to combine; add chicken thighs and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, heat a grill to medium -high and coat with vegetable oil. Place each thigh on the grill skin side down resisting the urge to move, grill the thighs until the skin side has dark grill marks and releases easily to turn (about 5-6 minutes). Turn and grill the other side 4-5 minutes longer. Move the thighs to indirect heat cover and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Or move the thighs to an oven-proof baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until done. Set thighs on a platter and let rest before serving.
  2. The recipe easily doubles.
  3. --adapted from Fine Living


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Because She Swims

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in Chicken and Turkey | 0 comments

Accommodating our girls at dinner can be tricky. We love Mac n Cheese ‘my way’ and pasta works but, it isn’t the healthiest choice.  More often, I cajole Izzy to have a go at brand new dishes (and incidentally enjoy her meal).  Jules, the adventurous albeit unpretentious sister watches diminishing platters and serving bowls like a famished outlander—or a Returned.









After whisking up a double portion of vinaigrette for bushels of tender lettuces, she lands in her seat; then conversation begins.

"You’re not going to eat all that, are you?”  Jules asks us, nodding toward serving dishes.








“ No.” we each say over our forks.

Jules continues to keep MP within sight and range.











Another version of turkey meatballs... here is how I made them.








One giant shallot or two large shallots and two cloves of garlic were sautéed in a tablespoon of olive oil with a pinch of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste as usual.








When the shallot mixture was cool, I added it to the ground turkey with an egg and two scallions for color and more texture.








I shaped the meatballs into 8 large rounds (about 3 ounces each).  Chill them in the refrigerator; this will help them keep their shape without adding breadcrumbs.









In a bit of oil, caramelize the lemon slices and set aside.








Add the turkey meatballs and brown them on one side.  Make sure not to mess with or move them around-- they will fall apart. The meatballs will release from the skillet to let you know when to gently turn and brown the other side








Set the meatballs aside with the lemons and deglaze the pan with 1/2- 3/4 cup turkey or chicken stock.








Stir in the chopped Kale.  I made these two times, once with flat Tuscan Kale and another time with curly Kale.  I prefer the flat variety.











Plop the meatballs and lemon slices back in the skillet and cover simmering 10-12 minutes or until done.  Stir 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into one tablespoon Citrus Yuzu Ponzu or soy sauce and 3 tablespoons of water to combine.








Stir the mixture into the simmering meatballs and cook until lightly thickened.








Such a meal we prepared and shared--inevitably gathered around our crowded kitchen island rather than a dinner table.  A mountain of salad and double-sized Turkey Meatballs with Caramelized Lemon and Kale-- gone; pronounced a winner from a surprised Izzy-- who nearly went for another...meatball. The lemon slices add a citrusy aromatic note to the sauce and are chefy -- but too bitter to eat.

Turkey Meatballs with Caramelized Lemons and Kale


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 scallions (white and some green) thinly sliced
  • 1 thin skinned lemon (preferably Meyer), thinly sliced
  • ½-3/4 cup of chicken or turkey stock, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Citrus Yuzu Ponzu or reduced-sodium soy or tamari sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


  1. Saute the shallot and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil with a pinch of crushed red pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the skillet and let cool.
  2. Add the sautéed shallot mixture to a bowl with the turkey, egg, and sliced scallion. Gently combine meat mixture with a large fork and shape into 8 evenly sized meatballs. Refrigerate and let set for up to 4 hours or covered overnight.
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet and caramelize the lemon slices; set aside. In the same skillet, (adding a little more oil if needed) brown meatballs on one side until they release and turn gently. When the second side is browned, set aside with the lemon.
  4. Turn up the heat and deglaze the pan with stock, scraping up any browned bits. Add the chopped kale and return the meatballs and lemon slices to the skillet. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, stir the ponzu or soy sauce with water and cornstarch to combine. Add to the simmering meatball mixture and cook until slightly thickened. Adjust seasonings.
  6. Serves 4
  7. © Copyright 2014 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  8. All Rights Reserved





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No Rubber Chicken

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Chicken and Turkey | 2 comments









Planning dinner for a crowd in your home or maybe taking it on the road across town, sometimes to another state can be daunting. Cooking for eighty is not only ten times more than eight—it is a systematic organization, proper storage, and time management.  The menu needs to be seasonably fresh, flavorful, and delicious, reflect modern food trends, cross sections of dining lifestyle choices, and be pretty. Whew!











Being a confident home cook does not protect a former blonde from the jitters; my family is often the target of a new dish (more than once).  Boneless skinless chicken breasts have become the bane and bother of professional chefs, at the same time a go-to protein for large groups. In my collection is a tried and true winter menu of Creamy Chicken Breasts with a Trio of Mustards.  The springtime favorite is a Mediterranean Herb-Marinated Chicken with a Medley of Dried Fruits and Olives.


Today is a trial run to create a Grilled Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs inspired by Zov Karamardian (Zov’s Bistro); with an unusual profile twist cozied alongside a Summer Tomato Compote, fragrant quinoa, and grilled zucchinis.  The recipe is not online but found in the Zov Cookbook.








Chicken breasts marinate in a blend of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, chopped parsley, and oregano along with salt, pepper, paprika and a touch of cinnamon.  The tomato compote is a simple sauté of red onion, garlic, more parsley and oregano with fresh ripe tomatoes. The suggested garnish is pine nuts.








This proved to be a lovely light summer dinner shining with bright colors; softly charred vegetables, and a fascinating allure of warm spices in the chicken as well as the quinoa.







MP Master Griller!


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Now You Know

Posted by on Jun 4, 2014 in Chicken and Turkey | 0 comments

Now you know.  I can be obsessive. Don't even get me started about the use of my kitchen scale... Here is one more turkey burger before I launch another cupcake idea—








Italian-style Turkey Burgers.








This rendition gets a slice of fresh mozzarella tucked inside.  The procedure remains the same for a busy day.  Create the mix early or even yesterday.








Form the burgers and refrigerate until 30 minutes or so before you fire up the grill or cast iron skillet.








To carry out the theme I made a little chunky tomato sauce to heat and serve on the burger and fresh basil –laced ricotta to smear on the bun. 









Stack it up, it’s Turkey Burger Tuesday or







Wednesday I suppose.

Next time I think it could be 'crunchified' with a Parmesan Tuile!








The remaining burgers line up happily for cold sandwiches too.

Italian-style Turkey Burgers


  • 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jumbo egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Romano cheese
  • Five slices fresh mozzarella (about 1-ounce each)
  • ¼ cup Ricotta cheese
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Crumble turkey meat into a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients in the order given through Romano cheese. Using a large meat fork combine the mixture well without overworking. Divide the turkey mixture into 10 equal patties. Place a slice of cheese on each of 5 patties and top with remaining patties to enclose the cheese. Wrap and chill several hours or overnight. Combine the Ricotta cheese with the torn basil leaves; add salt and pepper to taste and reserve. Grill or cook the burgers in a hot cast iron skillet brushed with canola oil until browned on one side. Turn the burgers over and cook the burgers until completely cooked in the center.
  2. Serve on soft or toasted whole-wheat buns with ricotta cheese mixture, Chunky Tomato Sauce, and butter lettuce
  3. © Copyright 2014 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  4. All Rights Reserved

Chunky Tomato Sauce


  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon dry oregano
  • ½ Tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh torn basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon honey (to taste)


  1. Saute onion, and garlic in oil; stir in tomatoes and herbs. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes until thickened. Stir in honey to combine. Adjust seasonings; cover and refrigerate. Reheat sauce at serving time.
  2. © Copyright 2014 Peggy Barrett Lunde
  3. All Rights Reserved






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