Charlotte Cooks – Stuffed Chicken Thighs and Legs

Charlotte Cooks – Stuffed Chicken Thighs and Legs


VOICEOVER: This is a production
of WTVI PBS, Charlotte. NARRATOR: The following
episode of Charlotte Cooks is brought to you by Central
Piedmont Community College, and viewers like you. Thank you. [MUSIC PLAYING] Hi and welcome to this
edition of Charlotte Cooks. I’m very happy
you’re here with me. I’m Chef Pamela
Roberts and today, we’re going to be making a
stuffed chicken leg quarter. We’re going to take
the leg and the thigh, where they’re still attached. We’re going to remove
the bones, and we’re going to stuff them with a
fabulous spinach and mushroom filling. And then we’re going to show
you how to plate them up. They’re absolutely delicious. This is a really nice way of
having a really good, delicious chicken dish
without having to go through a whole lot of trouble. It’s a little bit of
fuss, but you know what, it’s worth it in the end. So we’re going to start off
by sauteing our mushrooms. We’re going to
saute our spinach. We’re going to put
that aside to cool. We’re going to take our chicken,
we’re going to debone it. We’re going to stuff
it with the filling, and then we’re going to truss
it in a neat little special way, I’ll show you how. We’re going to roast them. And then at the end, we’re
going to cut the strings off and then we’re going to
cut them and plate them up. And you’re going to just
find this dish irresistible. Now there’s two ways
you can cook this dish. You can cook it
in the oven, which is what we’re going to do
today, or you can cook it in the grill kind of offset. But let’s get started because
we’ve got a lot to do. We’re going to take
a pan, we’re going to take a nice deep saute pan. Now you could use one
that’s a little bit um– with a sloped side, so
you could actually give a toss. But we’re just
going to saute this because we’ve got a lot
of mushrooms to saute. I usually encourage
people, when you’re cooking mushrooms and
spinach in particular, to buy more than
you think you need. Because these things
shrink down quite a bit, and we want to make
sure that you’re going to have enough for everybody. Because once you taste this,
the pan is just– I mean, everything’s just
going to disappear. OK so we’re going to
put a little bit of oil in the bottom of the pan. And then we’re going to use
a little bit of diced onion. And we’re going
to take a spatula that we’re going to be able
to stir the stuff around with. So we’re going to put a
little bit of diced onion in the bottom of the pan. Now remember, when you
guys are cooking at home, you always get your pans hot
before you put food in there. You want to make sure you’re
hearing the sizzle, OK? So that’s something I’m always
telling students in school. Make sure that pan is hot first. So after this is going
and you hear it sizzling, we’re going to be
sauteing our mushrooms. And they’re going to take
a little while to cook, so you want to go ahead
and get them in there. But get your onions
in there first, so they can get down on
the bottom of the pan. Add your mushrooms. You’re just going
to slice them up. Now you can use any kind
of mushroom you like. In this batch, I’ve
got some baby bellas. I’ve got some shiitakes. I’ve got a little
bit of chanterelle, which that’s that
lovely chanterelle mushroom right there. We have some regular white
button mushrooms and some baby bellas, so there’s a good
combination of things in there. While these are
cooking, we’re going to take a little bit
of salt. Sprinkle them with a little bit
of salt. And whenever you salt things,
one of the things– especially when I’m
teaching people how to cook, they always ask why
how much is too much, how much is too little? When you’re seasoning
something, I suggest it’s always
good to put enough salt, or particular salt, over
the surface of the item. And that way it will
be enough that you can be able to actually season
the depth of the pan as well. I hope that makes sense. But you always want to test
your food before you serve it, by tasting. You have to also remember that
salt concentrates as it cooks, OK? So you don’t want to add all
your salt in the beginning and think, that’s the end. Add a little bit of
salt at the beginning, and test it at the
end and make sure you don’t need to add any more. I’m also going to be
adding a little bit of fresh black pepper. I’m going to grind this fresh
over them, because I’m– just, there’s nothing like
fresh ground black pepper. There we go. And then the next thing
I’m going to add to this, and you always want to get
your pan going before you add your fresh garlic. I’m going to take
some fresh garlic and put it on the microplane. And I’m going to
put this in here. And I know, if you
guys watch this show, you know this already, but
I’m going to tell you again. When you put your fresh
garlic into a hot pan, it can’t be the first thing
you put in there because garlic burns really, really fast, OK. So always get things going. And then add your garlic. Now the microplane is one of
those tools that– you know, if you want to smash and do
your garlic with that, you can. But the microplane is one
of these wonderful tools that– it’s actually a wood
rasp that someone decided, let’s take that out of
the woodworking tool and put it into the kitchen. And they did that and it
really does work very well. You see the garlic just
totally goes out to nothing. You come out with this beautiful
paste on the other side. You can use two cloves of
garlic, however many pieces of garlic you like. I like lots of garlic,
especially with mushrooms. Oh you guys should smell
this, it smells great. It really smells good. And I’m going to say that’s
enough garlic for today. Put it down in there and give
your mushrooms another stir. Now what you’re looking
for, when you’re doing these mushrooms, is you
want to see some brown forming on the bottom of the pan, OK. When you see that brown
forming on the bottom of the pan, that means
that, number one, your pan is hot enough. And number two, your
mushrooms are cooking. Now I don’t know if you
can hear this very well, but I’m going to be
quiet here for a second so you can hear this. When you stir your
mushrooms around the pan, they should make little
squealing sounds. [MAKES SQUEALING SOUND] OK? Just a little bit sound. Not a lot, not aloud. But you’re going
to hear it, so I’m going to be quiet, now,
so you can hear it. [PAN SIZZLES] I don’t know if you
can hear it very well, but sometimes when they
get going, they squeal. They– “squee squee.” And it’s really kind
of a neat little sound. But it’s unique to mushroom. All right, so, when you
see the little brown on the bottom of
your pan, you’re also going to be noticing that
there’s some liquid coming out of these mushrooms. The liquid coming
out of the mushrooms is what we call mushroom liquor. We just love it so much, it’s
such concentrated mushroom flavor. You want to, sort of,
want to capture that. If you’re making like a wild
mushroom soup, or something, that all that–
that mushroom liquor just adds so much to
the flavor of that dish. It’s just amazing. OK so once these are
done and you starting getting to the brown in
the bottom of the pan, we’re going to add
a secret thing. Our secret thing is Marsala. We’re going to
use a dry Marsala. Now you can use a
sherry for this, as well– just as long as
it’s not the sweet kind, just use the dry kind. Marsala, Madeira, sherry
are all very good. Now remember, this is alcohol. You want to take it,
your pan off the heat. Add your alcohol. How much are we adding? A couple of tablespoons. Basically, just enough to
cover the bottom of the pan. We’re going to tilt
it forward, just in case there’s any alcohol to
burn off, which there’s not. We’re going to just let
that sit and simmer, OK. So what we’re looking
for here, once again, is for this mushroom
liquor to evaporate. And now that it really
has some liquor in it, it is essentially a
mushroom liquor, really. OK, so we’re going
to let that simmer. Now once it’s done,
we’re going to take it and we’re going to–
let me get a towel here, because that handle’s hot. Wrap it up. And we’re going to
take a strainer, and we’re going to strain it. Now you can use a wire
mesh strainer over a bowl. You can use any kind
of a perforated pan that you might have. But what’s really important
is that you have somewhere to capture any liquid
that comes out of here. Why are we draining it? Because we’re going to
stuff the chicken with it, and we don’t really have
any use for this liquid. We kind of, sort of do. And I say we kind of,
sort of do because we’re going to pop that
liquid into our spinach when we’re sauteing our spinach. So take your mushrooms
and put them in a pan where it’s going to
capture that liquid. Now don’t even bother
to clean your pan. Put the pan back down. Come and get some spinach that
you have washed and trimmed. And any kind of
large leaves like this, folks, go ahead and trim
them off and toss them away. But anything large– if you’re
using baby spinach, it’s fine– but if you get a large
stem, just pick it off. And you don’t have to
go through every leaf because that’s quite tedious. We’re going to pop
that into your pan with just the amount of water
that clings to the leaves after you’ve washed it. That’s it. Spinach will cook
down to nothing. This will, actually, go down to
a nice tiny little thimbleful in just a moment. If we didn’t have
enough liquid, this is where we can take this liquid
from the bottom of this pan– let me show you real quick. We’ve got a lot of this
nice little liquid here. Pour this in here,
because that’s going to flavor our
spinach just amazingly so. We’re going to
take our mushrooms and push them over to one
side of the pan, here. We’re going to give our
spinach a little toss. Now you want to make
sure that you’re making more stuffing
than you need to stuff your chicken with,
because we’re going to use it to plate up later, as well. So now this is done. We’re going to take this–
because this handle is hot, better use a towel– and
just take this spinach. See that spinach probably took
less than two minutes to cook. And you may see that
some of the leaves aren’t totally wilted yet. That’s OK, because by
the time you use it, they will be completely wilted. So now just set this off to
the side, and let it cool. All right. There we go. Put it off to the side there. Now we’re going to get
busy on our chicken. One thing I forgot to tell
you about spinach– whenever you cook spinach, always add
a little bit of fresh nutmeg. Your fresh nutmeg will
do tremendous things to the flavor of spinach. Just add a little bit in. Take your microplane once again. Now you can use ground
nutmeg, but come on, folks, how often do you use nutmeg? Nutmeg may not be
one of the things you grab in your pantry every
single day, every single time. So get the big nuts of
nutmeg, and just scrape off what you need, so you
get that wonderful aroma. Now one thing that you need
to know about nutmeg is nutmeg will help you relax. And so when you have nutmeg in
your dishes, just smelling it is a wonderful thing to help
you relax just a little bit. OK, so now that we have
our stuffing finished, we’re ready to do our chicken. Now here, I’ve got a
little tip for you. Whenever you do chicken
at home, I particularly have a cutting board I
use just for chicken. And you can do that. And now here’s a little
professional tip. Whenever you put your
cutting board on the counter and you’re going to use it
for any reason whatsoever, put, like, a damp paper
towel underneath it. Just a little damp, doesn’t have
to be soaking wet, just damp. And what that does is it keeps
it from sliding around on you. Instead of having
to chase the cutting board across the counter,
it’s going to stay right there and you can do your work, OK. So now we’re getting
ready for the chicken. We’ve got boneless
legs and thighs, here. This one has already
been deboned out. As you can see, this
is what the final piece is going to look like. And this one is what
we’re going to show you how to get this done. Now that burner’s hot, so I’m
not going to put that there. So when you get your
thighs– now I have really, just for the sake of the show,
here, I’ve already done this. And so I’m going to
show you how to do it, but I’m not going to
actually do the procedure. If that doesn’t make any
sense, you’ll see in a minute. Well when you get
your legs and thighs, you’re going to see that you
have this thigh bone that’s very visible. And so all you’re
going to want to do is take your knife and scrape
the meat off of this bone. Now you’ll have to cut
around where the ball joints are, just to remove a lot
of the tendons that are here. And especially when you get
up into the leg portion, there’s a lot of tendons
that hold this meat together. And so you’re going
to cut around, you’re going to cut around. And then when you
scrape around and you see the knuckle
on the other side, here, you’re going
to take your knife and you’re going to wrap
around it and find that bone and continue to scrape. And then when you scrape
and you get all this meat down to the end, you’re going
to take your knife– now use the back end of your
knife, not the sharp end of your knife, because you don’t
want to cut the skin– whack it, right there. And then pull the bone out. Now one thing you’re going to
notice is around this knuckle here, where the thigh
and the drumstick meet, you’re going to have a little
chunk of meat around here. Don’t stress about that, OK. I’m not looking
for a naked bone, here, because this is
virtually impossible to get this to be a naked
bone for this process, OK. So once you’re done with
this, you can take this. You can either save this and
freeze it and use it for stock, or you can throw it away. So I’m going throw it away. So now we have our chicken
thigh and our drumstick, which is still completely solid, and
our chicken thigh all laid out. There is no bone in here
except this little bitty bit on the end. Most people don’t
eat that anyway. So now we have to stuff. The first thing
we’re going to do is season it with a
little bit of salt. We’ll season this one
too while we’re at it. And a little bit of pepper. Salt and pepper. Standard seasoning. Universal, found everywhere. If you don’t like
it, don’t use it. If you don’t like– do salt,
don’t use it, that’s OK. All right, so now I’ve
got my cooled stuffing. I’ve got a little bit of
stuffing I prepared earlier. That’s a combination of the
spinach and the mushrooms. And here’s something else
that I’ve added to this– and you can do
this at home too– is you can add a little
bit of feta cheese to it. You can leave the
feta cheese out, but if you want to add feta
cheese, you certainly can. So I got my feta cheese
and I crumbled it. And you can add
this when it’s hot, you can add it when it’s cold. It really, really,
really doesn’t matter because it’s going to be
baked in the oven anyway, OK. So this is what we’re
going to do next. Now the thing is, most people
when they do this dish, they want to overstuff
this product. So one thing you
want to make sure of is that you don’t
overstuff these. Because when you overstuff,
they’re– number one, they’re hard to truss. And number two, they
get overstuffed. OK it’s not necessary to over
stuff them, OK, so my point is. Grab a little bit of your
spinach with the feta cheese, and you’re going to find
the little hole where you pull the bone out. And you’re going to
stuff this stuff up. You’re going to get a mushroom,
and you going to stuff it up. Now notice my hands are going
into raw chicken, right? Raw chicken is not
something you want to necessarily spread around. So make sure, when you have your
little bowl of stuffing done, that you either keep it
clean from raw chicken, or use it all in your chicken. Because if you have any left
over after you stuff this, you’re not going to be
able to use it again because it will be contaminated
with the raw chicken. So I’m going to show you
how to do with this again on the other one. Now notice you’re going
to be able to take this, and you’re going to be able
to wrap this skin around it here like this, OK. Bring it together. That’s all we’re
going to do, here. I’ll show you how
to do this again. Mushrooms and
spinach, stuff it up into the cavity of
the leg and the thigh. Just want to make sure
that this has enough to be plump, and then just
a little bit down here. One mushroom slice is
usually enough, some cheese and some feta. OK and that’s it. Going to bring them
around and you’re going to make sure that
you can wrap them up. OK now here’s the tricky part on
how to truss them and tie them. This is a very interesting trick
and it’s a lot of fun to do. We’re going to take
a piece of string. You can take your
string– make sure that you’ve got a nice
long piece of string, usually about two yards long. Don’t let your strength
fall on the floor, don’t let the string
get in any other things. You’re going to
grab it, and you’re going to slide it underneath,
and you’re going to tie it. Remember, “right over
left, left over right makes a square knot neat,
tidy, and tight.” So square knot,
so it won’t slip. Using your hand, put
your hand away from you. Wrap the string around you
so you have this loop, OK? You’re going to
bring this around, and you’re going to tighten it
up around the top of the thigh, where the thigh and
the drumstick meet. And do this again,
all the way around. And you have to drag
it all the way down. You can’t start lifting
it up from the bottom because that’s
cheating, and your knots will all go in a different way. Once again, hand away from
you– wrap it around your hand. Notice my hand is
facing away from me. Wrap it around. Twist, like you are going
to reach down and pick up just this thigh, OK. And notice I’ve got my
string, here, like this, OK. It’s got to be that way. Thread it around, and
tie it around again. This is a trussing technique
that you can use for pork loin. You could use this for
any kind of a– like if you had a beef
tenderloin, even. And what this does
is it, basically, is just holding it
in shape while it cooks, because
after it cooks we’re going to cut this string off. So about four sections
of string on this side. And what we’re
going to do next is we’re going to fold this under. We’re going to roll it over. And over the string,
basically, the same way we did on the other side. Just like this. And all this does is
it hold it together so the stuffing doesn’t fall
out, and once it’s cooked, it’s going to
maintain its shape. Rolling back over again
and give it a tie. Right over left,
left over right. What does it do? “Makes a square
knot neat, tidy, and tight.” Throw that away. OK. That’s what you’re looking for. We’re going to take
this, we’re going to put it on our sheet pan. Now while you’re doing
this, get your oven heated up to 350
degrees, 375 degrees if you want it to cook fast. We’re going to take it and
we’re going to oil our chicken, and we’re going to
salt and pepper it. And we’re going to roast it, or
grill it, whatever you choose. Let me do this for
you again, real quick, so you can see how it’s done. OK. Over your hand, loop it. Bring it down, and tie it. Now this seems like
it’s kind of tedious, but once you practice this and
get this done, you can pop this out really, really quickly. The key thing– and I tell my
students this all the time– practice, practice, practice. You can’t practice too much. I still practice and I’ve
been cooking forever. Forever and ever and ever. Older than salt. So,
ever and ever and ever. OK, here we go. Flip it over. Make sure this piece of
meat gets stayed in there. Flip him over, we’re going to
do a nice little truss here. Nice little truss here. Nice little truss. And another one. Flipping back over
and tie it off. And then trim your excess rope. Rope, we’re using rope. We’re tying our
chickens up with rope. There we go. All right, now we’re ready
to put them in the oven. We’re going to take them,
we’re going to sprinkle them with a little bit of oil. Give him a little
rub down, like you’re giving him a little massage. Make your chickens happy. Little bit of salt
on the outside, because I don’t know about
you, but I like chicken skin, and I like it crispy
and I like it’s salty. A little bit of fresh
cracked black pepper. And you know, folks, that’s
really all the seasonings you need on these. Fresh pepper, salt. In
the oven 350 degrees, approximately 45 minutes. But you want to check
the internal temperature. What temperature
are you looking for? 165 degrees Fahrenheit, OK? And when they’re
done, they’ll be done. In the oven. [MUSIC PLAYING] Here’s another quick
tip from my kitchen. I’m going to show you
how to separate an egg. You going to need a bowl. You’re going to need
an egg, of course. Crack it on a flat surface. Cracking an egg
on a flat surface will allow you to get
more of an even crack all the way around the egg. If you crack it on an
edge of a bowl or pot, typically, you’ll rupture
that membrane that’s inside. And you get lots of
little shards of shell within your separated egg. You could take your egg and you
could toss it back and forth, just like this in
between your whites. And your whites will
fall down, and your yolk will become separated
into your egg like this. And we have a yolk, OK? Set that aside. There’s another way to do it. Crack your egg. Break it open. Now I kind of like this way. Just let the whites sift
out between your fingers. See how that’s happening? It’s kind of weird, and
it feels really weird, but it works really well. Just pinch your fingers together
and pinch that white off. And now you’ve got a perfectly
separated white and a yolk. Put that in your bowl. Now here’s another way to
separate an egg that’s really a lot of fun, and you can
get your kids involved with this one. You can use a plate,
you can use a bowl also, but I’m going to do a plate
so you can see how this goes. Crack the egg and put it
directly into the plate. And for this next
trick, you’re going to need an empty water bottle. Not someone’s– you don’t want
one someone’s drunk out of, OK? But pour the water out, squeeze
the bottle, and there you go. Separated egg yolk. Right in there. You want me to do it again? I’ll do it again. Take your egg– let me get
rid of this so you can see it. Put it in your plate. Kids love to do this,
because it’s a lot of fun. You know, adults like to do
it too, because it is fun. Squeeze your water bottle, put
it on the yolk, suck it in. Just like that. Leaves your white behind
and there’s your yolk. Perfectly separated, ready
to go into your recipe. Isn’t that fun? Try it. You’ll have a fun time doing it. [MUSIC PLAYING] All right. Now it’s been about 45 minutes,
and these chickens are done. Look at how nice and
golden brown they are. They’re lovely. They’re absolutely lovely. So what we’re
going to do next is we’re going to show you
how to cut those strings. Because they’re hot,
use your pair of tongs. Put it on your cutting board. We’re going to take our rope–
rope, rope I’m stuck on a rope today– we’re going
to take our string, and we’re just going to clip it
all the way down on one side. And it should just
roll right off, OK. And look, they stay together. And they’re gorgeous. Isn’t that marvelous? So clean your knife off. Cut them in half,
and look at this. You have a beautiful little
pair of chicken leg and thighs that’s going to make a
fabulous little setup. On our plate, we’re going
to take a little bit of our spinach that we cooked. And since this is
still warm, I’m just going to go ahead
and use this on our plate. A little bit of
spinach on your plate. Put some of those
mushrooms on your plate, because you definitely
want this– you definitely want this stuff on your plate. Because it’s just
so “dericious.” For one serving– one
leg and one thigh. Let’s put them in this way. Cluster everything
here in the center. We’ll add a couple potatoes
just for– round out the meal. You’ve got your mushrooms,
you’ve got your spinach. You’ve got your
stuffed leg and thigh. Now who wouldn’t fill
up with that meal? That’s one way of doing it. If you wanted to do it family
style, where people can take their own, take your spinach–
when I do this family style, I’m going to take your
spinach and your mushrooms and put them in the
center of the plate. And you’re going to cut
your legs and thighs, and you’re just going to pile
these all up around there. Take each one–
because they are hot– take each one off
your cutting board. And you’re going to
cut them right where you see the leg and the thigh. Just cut it. Cut it. Cut it. One, two, three, four, five–
ah, that’s a nice big one. Nice big juicy one, there. And six, yeah let’s do that. That will be fine. Nice and juicy, oh
so big and pretty. Take a look at that folks,
isn’t that gorgeous? Yummy. Look at that. Now I gotta figure out
how to put this up here, so you can see them. All right. There you go. Our boneless stuffed chicken
legs and thighs for you guys to enjoy. I hope you do plan to make this. If you don’t want to bone out
the legs and thighs yourself, ask your butcher to remove them. And I’m sure they’ll be
happy to do it for you. Enjoy this dish. It’s a nice healthy dish. I think you’ll love it. It’s full of flavor. Enjoy it. Try it on the grill, it’s great. If you’re looking for the recipe
and you need something printed out, check out our
website, pbscharlotte.org and you could find them there. If not, email me. [email protected] Thank you for watching this
episode of Charlotte Cooks. I’m Chef Pamela Roberts
and I will see you later. [MUSIC PLAYING] NARRATOR: A production
of WTVI PBS, Charlotte.

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