Tag Archives: tabasco

Pulled Chicken

Good morning, lovely friends! Somehow, it’s Monday again. But that’s okay. We just came off a fabulous weekend with my sister Erica and her husband, I’m starting a yoga class tonight with my favorite teacher at Broadway Armory Park, I’m about to imbibe a steaming mug of mint tea, and I have exciting things to share with you this week–starting with this chicken.

What to say about this chicken?

It’s great. I made it on a whim. I was committed to bringing a dish to a women’s gathering at our church, and as I was browsing the incredible food blog that is Kayotic Kitchen, this chicken sandwich caught my eye. I’m so glad that Kay highlighted it in her Superbowl-friendly recipes post, because I might not have found it otherwise. It’s simple (not at all labor intensive, seriously), delicious, and I was asked for the recipe.

There’s no greater compliment than being asked for the recipe, in my book.

The sauce is richly complex, satisfying, the right amount of vinegary and sweet, and of course adjustable to each person’s individual taste. So make this for a party! It’s amazing.

I made a few changes–green pepper instead of red, ginger sauce for added sweetness, sriracha, more chicken (the ratio of sauce was a little high), and the results were delectable. I will now show you how it all went down!



(Serves 10-12)

7-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion
2 TBS butter
1 bell pepper (red or green)
6-8 garlic cloves
1 serrano or jalapeño chili, seeds and membrane removed
1 cup ketchup
3 TBS sriracha
1 1/2 cups water
3 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS ginger syrup
1/2 cup apple cider or white wine vinegar
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Mince the onion, bell pepper, garlic, and chili.

Heat the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook for 15 minutes, until it’s starting to caramelize.

Add the bell pepper, garlic and chili and continue to cook for another 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are softened.

Season those veggies with salt and pepper as they cook.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients (except for the chicken).

Give the sauce a taste if you want, though the flavors will change and deepen when it cooks.

If you don’t have a certain ingredient (like ginger sauce), don’t sweat it–this is a flexible sauce. A forgiving sauce. A sauce that’s begging to be personalized.

Add the ketchup mixture to the pot with the veggies and bring ‘er to a boil.

Add the chicken breasts, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

Don’t overcook the chicken, or it will dry out! Overcooked chicken is the worst, man, especially once you understand the full potential of tender, perfectly cooked fowl flesh.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the pot and set it aside to cool a little on a plate.

Turn the heat up to medium and simmer the sauce for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t burn to the bottom, until it’s very thick. Like dees!

And if you burn it a little (I certainly did–you can see the blackened chunks if you look closely), it only adds to the smokiness of the barbecue flavor.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

Shred the chicken with two forks . . .

. . . and mix the chicken and sauce together.

My chicken went straight into this lovely plastic container, for transportation to our women’s ministry gathering.

Oh man, my mouth is watering.

Serve! On a plate, over rice, in a sandwich—you’ll love it.

The chicken is so amazingly tender and flavorful.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Pulled Chicken

Cormeal-Fried Catfish

My husband and I are deep in the throes of wedding hangover. Something happens when your sister gets married–the steady stream of strong emotions, the abundance of tears, the brief interactions with beloved family members you rarely get to see: we awoke Sunday morning feeling like we had been binge drinking for about 30 years straight.

As we wandered around the house with eyes feeling like raw red meat and heads feeling like bowls of mushy oatmeal, I realized I had been right: I didn’t have the fortitude to blog about anything remotely wedding-esque, and I was so grateful so pull this recipe from the line-up and toss it into the world while I avoid the 881 pictures currently loitering on my camera’s memory stick. And so I bring you . . . fish.

I’ve put off making catfish for a long time. I heard it was a bottom dweller? And eats trash at the bottom of the lake or ocean or sea or wherever it lives? And that just sounds gross. Plus, their whiskers look real nasty. I mean, what are they made out of? Not hair, surely? Probably some kind of disgusting probe-like thing.

Yikes—why am I talking about this before telling you to eat this fish?

Moving on. Catfish is cheap. I got mine for $2.29/pound, which beats the prices on salmon these days.

Are you afraid of cooking fish? I’ve heard some people are. Well, if you buy fillets or ask the fishmonger to fillet a whole fish for you, there are no bones—and for these babies, no skin either—so it’s not any grosser than raw chicken. Less gross, I would venture.

With a simple cornmeal coating, this isn’t a heavy battered dish—it’s light, crisp on the outside, delicate on the inside. Mmmmm.

Don’t overcook it! That’s a crime with fish, and gives them the texture of canned tuna—kind of stringy and dried out. If you can learn to cook your fish to just the right point, it will change your experience of seafood. See this post for scientific evidence.


(Serves 4)

1 whole catfish, filleted (or 2 large skinned fillets, halved crosswise)

4 generous pinches salt

4 generous pinches black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 TBS Tabasco sauce

4 TBS spicy brown mustard

1 1/2 c cornmeal

4 TBS oil


1 whole lemon

Ask your fishmonger to fillet a whole catfish for you. Don’t know your fishmonger? Well, it’s time to make his acquaintance. He’s the dude behind the fish counter wielding the large knife and wearing the rubber apron. Or the dudette–let’s not be old-fashioned here. This should yield 2 very large fillets, which I halved crosswise to create 4 servings. I hadn’t yet halved them in the picture below, so you’ll just have to trust me. Sprinkle all sides of fillets with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Tabasco. Be generous with your seasonings, since these fillets are fairly thick.

Now, spread a thin layer of mustard (any kind is good) over both sides of the fillets.

Coat the fillets in cornmeal, and shake off the excess. You can do this in a large ziploc bag, or you can do what I did and simply pour the cornmeal over the cutting board and turn the fillets in it a few times until they’re covered.

Your pan may not be big enough for all 4 fillets, so heat 2 skillets with 2 TBS of oil in each. When heated, lay in the fillets. My pathetically small (8 inch) skillet could only fit one fillet at a time:

Thankfully my grandfather just bequeathed me (via Erica’s wedding) with the mother of all cast iron skillets, which had been collecting rust in his basement for years. It has a diameter of a whopping 14 inches, and after a few days of hefting it around I expect to see drastic changes in the girth of my musculature.

After about 45 seconds, turn the heat down to low and cover the skillets. Let the fish cook for about 4 minutes. Take the cover off and gently turn the fillets over using a sturdy spatula. When I used tongs to do this, my cornmeal coating fell off. Lesson learned: don’t be like me! Befriend your local spatula.

Cover the fillets again and cook for 6 minutes (still on low) or until just cooked through. These fillets will be firmer and meatier than tilapia or even salmon. As soon as they’re done, sprinkle with chives and squeeze fresh lemon juice over them–the lemon juice really makes the fish. Serve it with Spicy Garlic Sauce, and I guarantee you will have no regrets.

Conclusion: nothing about this delectable dish says “bottom feeder”. There is no heavy, fishy flavor–it has kind of a “blank slate” flavor like tilapia, but with a heartier texture. Conquer your fears and make it this weekend! Then, report back to me for a gold star.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Cornmeal-Fried Catfish