Judging the Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest

 

I recently had the honor of judging the Third Annual Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest . Six finalists were chosen to prepare their dishes for myself and four fellow food savvy judges including Liam Mayclem from CBS 5’s Eye on the Bay ; Lynne Char Bennett, food writer and test kitchen director, San Francisco Chronicle; Ken Frank, chef and owner of Napa’s La Toque restaurant ; Carolyn Jung, author of the Food Gal blog ). Our assignment was to make decisions based on taste, use of fresh, local ingredients, appearance and appeal, simplicity, and ease of making, and originality.

Liam Mayclem and myself in front of The Culinary Institute of America after judging the Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest

 

 

 

 

In the end, it was Merry Graham of Newhall, CA who won with her Lemon Hoisin Glazed chicken on Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Sesame Rice. Mary’s recipe beat out nearly 1,200 West Coast recipes to win the $10,000 grand prize and a one-year supply of Foster Farms fresh chicken. Her recipe featured

Merry Graham was the winner of the Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest, and received $10,000 and a year’s supply of Foster Farms chicken

locally grown ingredients including lemons, asparagus and of course, Foster Farms fresh chicken.

“This recipe started out as something my family loved and I kept working on it until I felt it best represented the flavor and integrity of the fresh ingredients,” said Mary.

Mary’s recipe is below if you’d like to make it for your family. Also, stay tuned for more chicken and other poultry reipes. My new book, Culinary Birds, will be out early fall of 2013.

 

Lemon-Hoisin Glazed Chicken on Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Sesame Rice

Serves 4 – 6

6 Foster Farms chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into 1” chunks
2 ¼ tsp salt, divided
1 tbsp minced ginger root
4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
3 tbsp peanut oil, divided
6 green onions, chopped, with whites and greens divided
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice, rinse well and drained
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice, divided
2/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tbsp honey, divided
1 large lemon or two small, finely grate zest
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, divided
2 tsp black sesame seeds
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/3 cup roasted salted almonds, roughly chopped

Mix chicken, one teaspoon salt, ginger, and half of the garlic. Set aside.

In medium saucepan over medium heat, warm one tablespoon peanut oil. Stir in onion whites, remaining garlic, and jasmine rice. Cook, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes or until beginning to toast. Add broth, half of the lemon juice and one teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with fork, stir in dried cherries, sesame oil, and remaining green onions. Set aside.

In large frying pan over medium high heat, warm one tablespoon peanut oil. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 minutes or until no longer pink on the outside.

In small bowl, stir together vinegar, Hoisin, one tablespoon honey, remaining lemon juice, half of the lemon zest and 1/4-teaspoon red pepper flakes. Add sauce to chicken in pan and continue cooking for 10 additional minutes on medium. Raise heat to high and cook for 2-4 minutes until sauce on chicken is dark and has thickened. Sprinkle chicken with black sesame seeds. Remove pan from heat, set aside and keep warm.

In second large frying pan, warm remaining peanut oil over high heat. Add asparagus, remaining honey, red pepper and remaining salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-4 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.

To serve, plate rice on serving platter. Top with half of the cilantro, almonds, and roasted asparagus, Top with chicken pieces. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and lemon zest.

 

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