Oh my… I had fun with this challenge.
I studied. Really hard.
I went to the library. A lot.
And, I found some treasures…
For this challenge, I was asked to create a classic dish -from a culture I am unfamiliar with. ( Eeek!) I live in such a metropolitan area… I shop at Latin supermarkets. They know me at the Asian, Indian and Middle East markets. I’m the weird American girl that comes in with the toddler who dresses herself. Anyone that has had a toddler knows what that can look like.
Example: Backwards dress, polka dot tights, messy hair, flowered rain-boots and a sticker somewhere-or everywhere, heck- you can probably toss in the weird object of the week, too. Once it was a wax ring (a new one in the box) this week it’s candy melts.
So… I had to eliminate Latin, German, Italian, French, Indian, and (duh) American. Because I have done some of that here already. I wanted to do something brand new- not only to me, but you guys, also.
I went to the library for some inspiration… (and to pay fines-I am such a slacker.)
I found a classic dish-that made me say “Ewww, and hmmm…”
A dish that made me ponder the vastness of the world and the creativity behind another culture.
A dish that forced me to think beyond the box.
A dish I would have never fathomed approaching.
A dish that made this weird American girl broaden her tastes that much further.
Let’s get started, shall we?
This dish is a Turkish dessert. And, it is made with a chicken breast.
Generally, I tend to keep my chicken in the savory category-I am sure most of you do, too… I mean, really- a chicken based dessert? That sounds so …well, to be blunt -(and to pull out my 5 year old talk) gross.
You know what else?
It will transform your tastes. No longer will you have the biased taste-buds to associate types of food. By making and eating this dish- I have a new respect for the way obscure ingredients can marry so well. And, I now have a fondness for Turkey. The country, silly… although I am sure you can substitute turkey here.
When I began my research of this dish I found out two things:
1) It can be made without chicken, and commonly is.
2) It is classically made with chicken, and that’s how I approached it.
One thing that surprised me in this dish, is that you can taste the chicken, and that (oddly enough in my culture) is what makes this dish, so delicious. The chicken combines with the sweet creaminess of the milk and cream, the sugar enhances the sweetness- and with the caramel nuttiness of the browned surface joins in- it combines in a way to create a velvety, buttery, nutty sensation that must be experienced.
I will also warn you- you have to work over a hot stove for a bit.
But, chances are you do that anyway…most people that visit here cook.
Now: how I made kazandibi- a Turkish dessert made with chicken breasts,based on tavuk gögsü, another chicken-based dessert.
In a saucepan, mix the sugar, cream and milk along with a pinch of salt and bring it to a boil- stirring constantly.
Temper the rice flour mixture with a few spoons of the hot milk mixture and combine the two. Lower heat, and stir briskly. When it begins to thicken, stir in the chicken. Simmer until quite thick- 5-7 minutes at medium heat.
Now, have a large heavy pan, greased well, over high heat. Pour some of the custard into it to make a 1/2″ thick layer. *the recipe did not call for this step-I had to make this twice because I dumped the whole thing in the 1st time. Woah~what a mess that was. Maybe they have really large pans specifically for this in Turkey…
Pour that mixture in, and wait 5 minutes. It will look like this:
After 5 minutes, turn off the heat-but leave the pan on there to cool.
Allow to cool a long time. Just kidding- I will be proper. Allow to cool for 2 hrs 42 minutes and 17 seconds.
Once it is cooled, slice into rectangles and roll into logs, dust with cinnamon and sugar-mmm, cinnamon and sugar…seriously-cinnamon and sugar who though of that mix? That’s up there with peanut butter chocolate, raspberry almond, lemon pepper and now- milk and chicken. I never thought I would say that.
Note: If you enjoyed this post, please take a tiny moment to vote for me… I am somewhat of an underdog… and it would be awesome to pass through this challenge. Voting opens Sept. 27th-here
recipe adapted from Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast-cooked and finely shredded
5 TBS rice flour
1 1/2 pints whole milk
1/2 pint heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
powdered sugar and cinnamon for dusting
Combine the rice flour and a small amount of the milk to make a thick runny paste. Set aside.
Place the sugar, milk, salt and cream in a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add a few spoons of the hot mixture into the rice flour mixture to temper it.
Now, combine the rice mixture to the milk mixture, reduce heat and stir until it begins to thicken.
Add chicken, and simmer 5-7 minutes.
In a large hot greased pan over high heat place all or a portion of the mixture (depending on pan size) to 1″ thickness.
Leave on heat for 5 minutes, turn off heat and allow to cool.
Once cool, cut into rectangles and roll into logs. Place on a platter and dust with sugar and cinnamon.
*my personal note: it may be possible to put mixture into a casserole, and broil the top, or use a kitchen torch to achieve the crust.