Foraging in the freezer inspires creativity in the kitchen

Cooking for me has always been an extension of my creativity.

Cooking for me is an extension of my creativity.

I am a right brain individual who allows creative juices to flow freely whenever possible.

I get all kinds of ideas once I open the fridge and find out what I want for dinner.

The other night I saw some chicken thighs sitting in the corner of the freezer and as I had not had fowl for a while, I latched onto three thighs.

I came up with an idea to debone the thighs and stuff them, but with what?

Back into the fridge and after shuffling some of the contents around I saw some feta cheese that would be good for the stuffing.

In the back of the fridge I also see some red wine garlic jelly.

If I spread some of this jelly over the deboned thighs it would taste good.

Now I go into the cupboard and find some Mediterranean vegetable spice in a grinder, so lets add a little of that to the cheese to kick it up a notch.

Then a little garlic powder along with some ground pepper and a little seasoned sea salt to complete the mixture.

I then pounded the chicken thighs as flat as I could, stuffed them with my creative mixture, rolled them in a little flower and put them into some olive oil and butter in a medium hot pan.

Cooking time was about 10 minutes.

This turned out to be pretty darn tasty along with a quick salad topped with homemade dressing and a nice slice of plum tomato that helped give a little extra flavour and colour to the dish.

I realize not all people are creative cookers and a lot of people do not even like to cook but do so because they have to eat.

When cooking becomes a chore it is not fun anymore.

So for those of you who have not cooked before and would like try your hand at roasting a chicken here are a few tips.

Just basic steps, no secret recipe stuff.

For roasting a whole bird, remove the giblets, neck and any fat from the chicken cavity.

Season the bird inside and out with salt and pepper. You can stuff the bird for a little extra zap.

Try putting in a split onion, a cut up apple, a cut up orange perhaps and then you can add some garlic cloves, fresh sage leaves or some fresh twigs of rosemary for some extra flavour.

For all birds I roast, I like to put a little flavoured butter between the breast and thigh meat.

Chop some green onions fine, and mix with dried tarragon or some oregano then blend it together with some softened butter. Lift up the skin and put some of the flavoured butter on the breast and the thighs. You can also rub this mixture into the skin of the bird.

Put the bird in a roasting pan, lightly oil the bottom of the pan so the bird doesn’t stick when cooking. You can had a cup of juice, white wine or chicken broth to the pan. Basting the bird while cooking also helps.

Take some of the juices and spoon it over the chicken. Helps keep it moist and gives a nice colour

When the chicken is done, prick the thigh with a fork. If the juices run clear the chicken is done.

For a three-to-four pound bird it should take anywhere from 90 to 135 minutes to cook and if you want to be sure insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. The temperature should read between 175 to 180 degrees.

Simple huh!

You don’t have to be creative to  cook down home basic fare. Enjoy life and cooking.

Bye for now and Gooood Cooking.

Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.

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