Smoked Chicken Breast Stuffed with Seasoned Cherries

Stuffed with cherries and smoked chicken breasts

Hot smoked chicken breasts make any meal exciting! Salads, sandwiches, soups, pasta dishes — you name it! — will benefit if you add some smoked lean chicken. But cooking skinless and boneless chicken breasts is easy and challenging at the same time. To make them tender and juicy we need to protect their moisture and to make them uniformly thick. Usually, a combination of pounding and brining is a solution. In this recipe, we make a pocket to stuff it with moist and/or fatty ingredients instead of pounding. As a bonus, different stuffings add interesting flavors to otherwise mild-tasting chicken.

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Happy Thanksgiving! Smoked Apple Chutney

Smoked Apple Chutney

The original chutneys come from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal cuisines. They can be made of fresh or cooked ingredients. Their texture varies from smooth to chunky. To prolong their shelf life, they can be fermented or cooked with vinegar, citrus juice, or tamarind puree. There are many variations, and recipes vary from region to region.

Today chutney is a large category of condiments made of spiced fruits and vegetables. In addition to traditional Asian condiments, there are American and European (aka Major Grey’s style) chutneys that became popular in western cuisines. This recipe is based on the classic Anglo-Indian version with apples and raisins. Serve smoked apple chutney with mild cheddar, ham, roasted pork, poultry, on top of baked brie, etc. This chutney will beautifully flavor brown stock and demi-glace sauces.

May this holiday season bring joy to your heart and a pleasure to your taste buds! Thank you for being Lyukum Cooking Lab friends!

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Smoked Basmati

Smoked Basmati with Eggplants

Smoking grains with Camerons stovetop smoker is a no-brainer. Cook them to 80-90% of doneness, season, add some fat, and finish by smoking with wood chips of your choice. But if the introduction to smoked grains made you curious, you might want to try this recipe with Middle Eastern flavors. You can start without the Mandi spice mix or replace it with another Arabian mix you like and have handy.

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My Hawaii: Smoked Potatoes

Smoked Potatoes

The Canoe House’s smoked potatoes were so good that we nearly leaked the serving bowl. I asked our waiter about the cooking method. He said they are cooked and mashed first and then placed into a continuously running smoker at the back of the restaurant. The level of smokiness was as delicate as a reminder of a campfire and charcoal roasted potatoes from my childhood. There was just enough butter and seasoning to emphasize natural flavors of potato. The texture was a combination of creamy fluffiness and chewable morsels. No wonder I wanted to recreate these smoked potatoes at home!

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Salo #3 | Cured in Hot Brine and Smoked Pork Belly

Pork belly cooked 60C sous vide for hot smoking

As I mentioned earlier, Salo in a Jar (сало в банке) is a highly popular way of wet curing salo at home, and there are recipes with cold and hot brine. But where the idea hot brine comes from? Can I speculate that someone impatient decided to try it hot? The result was somewhat in between cured and cooked salo, which is another widely used cooking method for pork belly in Ukraine. Cured with hot brine salo was so pleasing that the recipe quickly became popular. Using sous vide allows full time and temperature control in this recipe.

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Duck Breast: Cured and Smoked at Home

Cured and Smoked Duck Breast

Many people do not realize how easy it is to make cured and smoked duck breasts at home. No special equipment is needed. Just 12 hours of curing in a mix of three basic ingredients, 48 hours for air drying in refrigerator, and you get a gourmet deli product to use for salads or main fancy dishes. Duck breasts taste good cured and air-dried, but if you own a Cameron’s stovetop smoker and slightly smoke them at the end, they’ll be extraordinary good.

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Happy 4th of July! Smoked Wagyu Burgers

Making Smoked Wagyu Beef Burgers

I think it was a special game for our instructor chef J to teach us how to turn what school provided into delicious and well presented meals. It became a tradition for many other our shift students and teachers to come and eat at the end of the class what was cooked in our lab. Our burgers were not an exception. Chef J explained every element of successful burger meal, from meat to bun and to everything sandwiched in between. From that point, I could make my own perfect burger, adjusted to my personal taste. That’s what I do every 4th of July.

This recipe is part of Easy Smoked Meals at Home coming cooking class.

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Pork Ribs: Cowboy Bigos

Cowboy Bigos

There are magical recipes so simple, a child can follow and get professional quality results. They do not require any special skills or equipment. I’m serious! I shared this recipe with my friends, clients, strangers, who were experienced and inexperienced, poor and rich, teenage students and mature adults, cooking for one or for large family — they all made perfectly cooked ribs.

When you pack seasoned ribs relatively tight in foil and cook it low (270-300F) and slow (~3 hours), you do not let any moisture to escape. Thus, you keep in all the juices and flavors of meat, bones, cartilage, and fat. They gelatinize tough tissues and concentrate. The result is full of flavor and melts in your mouth!

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Stuffed and Smoked Hatch Peppers

Angus Beef Stuffed Smoked Hatch

Green chile peppers are known for their tough skin. They are usually charred to peeled it away. Seeds and membranes should also be removed. Only then peppers are ready for using them in final dishes. Unfortunately, charred peppers often loose their shape and wholeness and can’t be used for stuffing with raw ingredients. In Nuevo Tex-Mex cookbook, David Garrido and Robb Walsh mention another traditional way to prep chili peppers for stuffing — softening them in hot water for 20 minutes. Some cooks go even further by adding some piloncillo (raw cane sugar), apple cider vinegar, and salt to make a hot brine for peppers. Precooking peppers in salty and acidic water helps to preserve color, lowers heat level, and makes it easier to clean seeds and membranes.

In Hatch cooking classes, we stuffed Hatch peppers with carnitas and roasted them to serve with green Mexican rice. Stuffing them with lean Angus beef and hot smoking with hickory chips seamed the next obvious step. Delicious!

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Culinary coach and personal chef with extensive knowledge of cuisines from cultures around the world. I invite you into my cooking lab to share my discoveries.
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