Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini and Peach Crisp

I spent most of my Monday with a splitting headache. I kept popping pills every now and then, but they only seemed to dull the pain a bit. I tried drinking water, but it didn’t help. Finally, at the end of the work day, I came home and drank a diet Dr. Pepper while laying down and rubbing my dogs’ bellies. Somehow, that helped! I don’t think it was the caffeine, as I got my regular morning coffee, but then again maybe it was. That or finally relaxing, who knows.

Now that the headache was finally gone, I found myself with the energy to cook. After a quick review of the things I had in my pantry and of recipes that I haven’t made in a while, I settled on the chicken tetrazzini recipe that I fell in love with last Thanksgiving when I used leftover turkey instead of chicken.


And for dessert, I decided that it was time to put together the peach crisp that I intended to make over the weekend but never got around to.

First, I got some water boiling to poach some chicken breasts, as well as a big pot for spaghetti. Then I turned to dessert, which I decided to focus on first because the recipe made it look so easy to make.

The first step was to peel and slice the peaches. The recipe didn’t say how to do this, but the reviewers agreed that the best way is to blanch them: drop them in boiling water for 20-30 seconds, then drop them in icy water. Since I had a pot of water coming to a boil for spaghetti anyway, this was easy. I didn’t take a picture of them in the hot water, as I was actually busy counting out 20 seconds, but here they are in the ice bath.


The reviewers were right. The skins came off pretty easily at that point. The fruit was slimy, but it smelled so good that it didn’t bother me.


Then I took a few minutes to whip up the topping. In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter. I used about 1/4 cup less sugar than the recipe called for, since reviewers complained that it was too sweet as written, and I added about 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.


I forgot to get a picture after I used a pastry blender to mix it all up. It looked like bread crumbs. 

I had waited to slice the peaches because I didn’t want them to turn brown while I made the topping. Now, I returned to them. I halved them with a paring knife, removed the pit, and then plopped them onto a cutting board to slice up. My knife went through them like a hot knife goes through butter.


Put them in a square baking dish and sprinkle with almond extract. Except that I used vanilla instead, since I didn’t have almond, and I added a splash of lemon juice.


Then top with the crumbly mixture.


Now, back to dinner. Here are my ingredients (most of them, at least): heavy cream, sherry, a can of mushrooms, chicken broth, spaghetti, and butter.


Pause to notice the puppy in the background. She’s stalking her older brother. She pounced on him a moment later. Little sisters are wonderful, aren’t they?


First, melt the butter.


Add flour, salt, and pepper. Stir it in the butter until it’s smooth and creamy, then remove it from heat.


Measure out a cup each of chicken broth and heavy cream.


Gradually add it to the flour-butter mixture, stirring until it’s smooth and creamy.


Put it back on the stove and boil it for about a minute. Add some sherry and stir it in.


Then stir in the cooked spaghetti (did I mention that I cooked some spaghetti?) and chicken (did I mention that, either?), along with a can of mushrooms (drained).


Put it in a 9x13 inch baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese.IMG_3691

After a half hour at 350 degrees, pull it out and enjoy!


I love this dish. I think it’s the sherry that really makes it, but it’s so creamy and wonderful. Plus, it satisfies both my love of pasta and hubby’s need for meat. It’s a little more involved than I’d typically want to do on a weeknight, but it was worth it, I think.

Anyway, once I pulled it out of the oven, I bumped the temperature up to 375 and put the peach crisp in. 45 glorious minutes later, it was bubbly and perfect.


I wish there was a way to bottle up the way it smelled. Peachy, cinnamony, sweet, yummy as hell.


Hubby took one bite and declared it “dangerous.” He didn’t say another word until the bowl was licked clean.

Highly recommend it!

Recipe for the chicken tetrazzini is here, and the original peach crisp is here. I’ll have my modified version in my tastebook very soon!

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