Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Braised Chicken

Starbucks VIA Colombia Braised Chicken

The coffee aisles of my local grocery stores have been growing in recent years.  But, for some reason, coffee has never really made into the mainstream as a cooking ingredient.  Perhaps that’s because ground coffee is too coarse to dissolve nicely into a sauce, and instant coffees are notorious for their crappiness.  Well, we may be turning a culinary corner with the introduction of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew – the first instant coffee from Starbucks, and a new staple-to-be of my spice rack.  For this recipe, I chose the Colombia roast, which is a medium-bodied coffee that adds a subtle but important rich background flavor to the braised chicken.  The sweet onions balance out the bitterness of the coffee and make this a wonderful and unique dish.

Makes: 2 Grande Servings
Total kitchen time: 75 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 single-serving packets Starbucks VIA Ready Brew Colombia
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 can white beans, drained
  • Olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat a dutch oven over high heat.  (You can use a heavy-bottomed pot or deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid).
  2. Coat the chicken breasts on all sides with a small amount of olive oil.  Add to the pot and sear each side until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side.  Remove the chicken and let rest.
  3. Add the cider vinegar and deglaze the bottom of the pan with a spoon (scrape up all the brown bits).
  4. Add the diced onion and reduce the heat to medium.  Sweat the onion over medium heat until softened and slightly browned, about 3 minutes. 
  5. Add the Starbucks VIA Ready Brew coffee and stir to coat the onions.  Then, add the water and brown sugar.  Stir to combine, and add salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Return the chicken to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil.  Cover and reduce to a simmer for about an hour, or until the chicken pulls apart easily with a fork. 
  7. Before plating, warm the white beans in a small skillet.  Plate a portion of beans into a shallow bowl, then add one chicken breast and top with onions.

I’m excited by the notion that coffee may appear more widely than as a pork rub or in baked goods.  I can’t think of any other ingredient that imparts as rich a flavor and aroma, except perhaps wine.  Hmm, coffee and wine sharing culinary characteristics?  This is gonna get really interesting…

Full disclosure: I got free stuff but that doesn’t pay for my opinion.

Starbucks Via Ready Brew Braised Chicken on Foodista

Orange-Curried Turkey Roulade with Goat Cheese & Spinach

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My goal of having 6-pack abs for my honeymoon apparently won’t be met by reducing my intake of foie gras and pork belly alone.  In an effort to trick myself into eating healthier, I’ve been experimenting with other white meats.  Usually, I think turkey is pretty bland.  However, this recipe was so shockingly tasty that it made me forget I was even trying to cook “lite”.  The pungent flavors of the curry and orange marmalade transform plain turkey into a dish I would even serve for company.

Total kitchen time: 1.5 hours
Makes: 2 waists a little smaller

Shopping list:

  • 2 boneless skinless turkey breast halves
  • 1 tbsp. red curry powder
  • 2.5 Oz goat’s cheese (about 1/3 cup finely crumbled)
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tsp. orange marmalade
  • 4 8” pieces of cooking twine
  • kosher salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F and place the top rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with foil or a non-slip baking mat.
  2. Working one at a time, place each turkey breast between two sheets of plastic wrap.  Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet, pound the breast until it is uniformly thick.  Be careful not to accidentally rip through the meat.  If you’ve had a long day, this step can be very therapeutic.
  3. Generously salt both sides of the breast.  Then, coat each side with curry powder.  Lay the breast flat-side down and top with 1/2 of the goat cheese, pressing the cheese into the meat to help it stick.  Then, top the goat’s cheese with half of the spinach.
  4. Roll the breast into a log, starting with the narrow end.  Tie the roulade (rolled meat) in two places using lengths of twine.  Repeat for the remaining turkey breast.
  5. Finally, rub the outside of each roulade with 1 tsp. of orange marmalade.  Place on the lined baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roulade reads 160°F.  Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

I enjoyed this dish alongside an artichoke with my favorite choke-dip: light mayo and curry powder.  I suppose other healthy options might include a salad, fruit, or a doughnut.  Wait, doughnuts are healthy, right?

Pineapple Crispy Duck with Coconut Curry

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Sometimes I feel like getting a little fancy, and a whole roasted duck fits the bill.  Don’t let it intimidate you, though.  Roasting a duck is just like roasting a chicken, and no, it’s not absolutely necessary to crack open an actual coconut to make this recipe.  If you’re feeling a little adventurous, give this one a try.  I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

Total kitchen time: 2 hours
Makes: foul for four

Shopping list:

  • 1 whole duck (or 4 duck breasts, if you prefer)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 24 oz. (4 small cans) pineapple juice
  • 1.5 cups basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1/4 cup cream of coconut (from the drink mixers aisle of your supermarket)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. red cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 425° F and set the top rack in the middle position.  Rinse and thoroughly dry the duck, inside and out.  Salt and pepper the skin and inner cavity.
  2. Blend together the orange zest and butter using a small food processor (or with the back of a fork if you’re Amish, in which case I don’t know how you’re viewing my blog right now).  Stuff half of the orange butter under the skin of the duck and rub the remaining half on the outside of the skin.
  3. Truss the duck (it yields better results, but it isn’t absolutely necessary) and place it on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up.  You can also place the duck directly onto a preheated heavy-bottom skillet, but a roasting pan will help the duck cook more evenly.  Whatever you’ve got around will work, so don’t fret.
  4. Roast the duck for 45 minutes, then flip carefully and roast another 45 minutes with the breast side down.  Be sure to pour out any fat drippings from the body cavity when you flip the bird.  Let the duck rest at least 15 minutes before carving.
  5. Meanwhile, boil the pineapple juice in a small saucepan over high heat until it has reduce to about 1/4 the quantity.  It should be shiny and a little syrupy.  Set aside.
  6. Prepare the rice using your rice maker or stovetop, according to the directions on the package. 
  7. In a small saucepan, combine the cream of coconut, coconut milk, curry powder, cinnamon, red cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil, and adjust to taste by adding more curry powder or red pepper flakes.  Fold the coconut mixture into the rice.
  8. Plate the duck atop the coconut curry rice and spoon over some of the pineapple glaze.

If you’ve never cooked duck before, you’ll be surprised at the amount of fat that melts off the bird as it cooks.  Ducks have fatty skin because ducks need to float.  Wood also floats, and burns.  Witches burn because they are made of wood.  Therefore, if a woman ways the same as a duck, she is a witch.  Wow, a recipe and lesson in illogical justice?  What doesn’t this blog have!