Dumpster Fire Asiago Jambalaya (aka: Tasty Chicken Glue)
Long story short, I made mysteriously-edible glue.
But before I can tell the full story, I need to begin with a little historical backstory in order to establish some context.
So off I went this morning to YouTube, to hunt for a specific old television clip from my childhood. Memory had established it a PBS “thing” — which meant it would totally “work” for my purposes of establishing said context, since the vast majority of my readers are in the USA so there was a good chance it could be familiar to many of you.
Alas, reality is that it was actually a San Francisco Bay Area “thing”, and not a “PBS” thing. But I’m not gonna let that stop me, since without context, the whole punchline of this post is meaningless. 🙂
But for anyone who was in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80’s, and who watched KTVU — you will totally recognize this Charlie and Humphrey public affairs skit.
The rest of you are likely just wondering what the hell I’m prattling on about, so click the play button on the embedded video, and hopefully this will all make sense. 😀
All of this is working up to the statement that summarizes this latest adventure.
Glue! I made glue!
OK, maybe this is all just funnier in my mind than in reality, but go with me.
Glue! I made glue!
And now we’re off to the races!
I sent out a call awhile ago (after hitting my first full-on DFL-6), asking for recipes that even I couldn’t mess up.
Loyal-reader Beth suggested One Pot Instant Pot Asiago Chicken with Mushroom Risotto, from Adventures of a Nurse. And since (a) Beth, being the loyal reader she is, has a pretty good handle on my (lack of) kitchen skills, and (b) I love Asiago — into the meal queue it went for the next grocery shopping trip.
Based on my previous Mushroom Mishap, we already know it’s never safe to assume that there’s no way I could possibly Eff up something as simple as a “dump recipe”. And since this Asiago Risotto is pretty close to a dump recipe, all bets were totally off immediately out of the gate.
Mise en Place
If you don’t know this fancy french term (mise en place) then you’re obviously not a Food Network junkie like I am. (And definitely not a “Worst Cooks in America” junkie.) However, it’s an important cooking term that you should become familiar with. I use this term a lot — because it is the bane of my existence for all recipes.
For those of you who are Alton Brown fans, and have seen his live roadshow — you’re totally familiar with this term, because he wrote a song about it to the tune of Edelwiss. And. It’s. Efing. Awesome.
If I could find a video of it anywhere on the Internet, it would be linked here now, and I’d be watching it in a loop as I type this tale. But all I can find is people desperately wanting a copy of this song — because he didn’t include it on the CD — or even just the lyrics to it. #ThisPainsMeGreatly #MoreThanYouCouldEverKnow #MyLifeIsIncomplete
For a sample of just. how. freaking. awesome. Alton Brown is on stage, watch this miscellaneous sampling of other songs he’s performed on his tour.
Mise en Place, it sucketh
And traditional recipe-writing convention mislead-eth
Anyhoo — where was I going with this? Oh yeah, mise en place sucks. Not only does it suck, it allows recipe authors to totally cheat when they list how long their recipe will take.
And I am on a one woman mission to change The Way Things Are with recipe writing.
Screw this “Prep Time” and “Cook Time” shit.
I want recipes listed as “Active Time” and “Passive Time”.
And I want this total bullshit practice of listing eighty bazillion ingredients, all needing to be mise en place’d first — while then claiming to be “prep time: 1 minute” — to cease being a thing.
CEASE, I say. And DESIST, too, while you’re at it! (#AndGetOffMyLawn)
“But that’s the way it’s always been done” is no damn excuse. Modern times people! We want in and out of the kitchen. Boom. Done. That’s it!
Ahem, but I digress. (DO note, please, that this rant is not recipe, or recipe-author specific!)
Back to the problem at hand: a “Prep Time: 3 minutes” recipe — in the hands of my Hot Mess self.
Welcome to my rule of “triple the prep time, then round up to the nearest 15 minute increment“.
If I’m lucky, I’ll have this all prepped in 15 minutes.
If. I’m. Lucky.
Regular readers already know where this one is going…
Handy Tip for Recipe Writers: Just because you’re Lightening McQueen with the knife, doesn’t mean the rest of us are. If your target audience is the home cook, please adjust your expectations accordingly. 🙂 Thank you.
Prep the Chicken
Heeeeereeeee chickie chickie chickie
The recipe first calls for “1 pound thinly cut chicken breast”. And since raw chicken is soooo totally easy to “thinly slice”… I totally sliced it in under 1 minute.
Thanks to the wonders of timestamped cellphone pix, I know that it took me 3.5 minutes to slice (not even “thinly”) the four chicken breasts that totaled my approximate 1 pound requirement.
Make the Glue
I mean “coat the chicken”
Next, I’m supposed to coat this sliced chicken in 1/2 cup of flour. In theory I know what “coat in flour” means, and the proper way to do it — in a wide flat-bottomed pan, using wet-hand dry-hand.
But, in practice, thinking on the fly — while hungry?
Yeah… not so much.
And thus commenced my first misstep in this daring tale of adventure and mystery.
See… as I sliced the chicken, I’d put it into a bowl. Not all that unreasonable, right?
Next, I filled a shallow small-bottomed bowl with flour.
And then I poured the entire chicken bowl into the flour bowl — dribbly chicken goo and all.
And what does small quantities of liquid do when meeting larger quantities of flour? Make glue!
Well, more specifically — it makes paste.
So in I dive with both hands, attempting to coat these pieces of icky raw chicken in the flour. Or, more realistically: I try to smear the paste around onto as many different chicken surfaces as possible. All the while, the lower layers of chicken are becoming one single unit.
And the bottom of the bowl? Where all the chicken goo has pooled? Well that, dear readers, is quickly forming a rock-hard mass needing to be chiseled out.
At this point I essentially have a giant ball of chicken paste clay sticking to my hands, getting trapped under my fingernails, and becoming more and more sticky and more and more immobile.
Fortunately I had a slightly used paper towel within easy reach, to try and pry off the big chunks before heading to the sink. (Because the last thing I need is to clog up my sink with chicken glue!)
Of course, adding running water to my hands makes the glue get worse before it gets better — so that was an adventure in and of itself. And no, I don’t have any photos for you, because: HOW? I was covered in chicken glue!!!! I love you folks, but I sure as shit ain’t touching my cellphone with icky chicken glue hands just to get you a photo of the disaster! You’ll just have to use your imaginations. Suffice it to say — it was a mess.
So back to the chicken glue brick that has been gleefully getting more and more sticky — no doubt out of sheer spite — as it sat there unattended.
Assessing the dark and gloomy situation before me, I decided that if it’s too sticky it must need more flour — right? RIGHT? So I sprinkle another 1/2 cup over the top of the brick, don a pair of disposable vinyl gloves this time, and give that brick a good ol’ rubdown to try and get the flour to be absorbed. #ChickenMassage
It sorta got absorbed….. into a thicker glue!
But thicker glue means more goop between the pieces of chicken, so I kinda eventually manage to work my way between the pieces — at least until the weight of the chicken glue build-up on the gloves starts to become so massive that it’s pulling the gloves off my hands.
Seems like a good point to give up on this step, and move along to the next step.
So time to wash up again — this time more thoroughly — and get my status photo so I can preserve this disaster for posterity.
Thanks to the magic of timestamps, I know I am now 12 minutes into my “Prep Time: 3 minutes”.
There goes my 15 minute estimate, since I haven’t even washed and sliced the mushrooms yet! (Fortunately that part was uneventful, so I have nothing to report.)
Butter Makes Everything Better!
Next up, I need to saute some butter and garlic. #Yum
I’m supposed to use 2 Tbsp, but I’ve got the tail-end of a block of Kerrygold, and the measurement lines weren’t really aligned with the end of the slab, so this looks like about 2 Tbsp right?
Close enough. 😀
2 Tbsp, 3 Tbsp, no biggie….
So Does Garlic!
And now it’s time for my very special friend — the jar of pre-minced garlic.
By the way: I’m happy to report that I’ve upgraded to the big jar now! HeeHeeHee.
Butter into the pot! Woo!
Yeah, probably a little more than 2 Tbsp there. But butter makes everything better, right? 😀
And this totally looks like “2 cloves” of garlic,right? *snicker*
Everybody else into the pool
Next up, add the sliced baby bella mushrooms, give it a nice stir, then add the white wine and the chicken broth.
(Boxed wine, of course, because I’m just that classy! 😉 )
Oooh yeah! Looking good! WooHoo!
Now what? 2 cups rice. Into the pool!
Annnnnnd here’s where things went off the rails for the second time.
The recipe doesn’t say to stir the rice in.
The recipe also doesn’t say not to stir the rice in.
*stare* *stare* *stare*
*think * *think* *think*
*decide* *decide* *decide*
OK, so finally I decide to give it a stir — and immediately learn that this was the wrong move — since all the rice dove directly to the bottom of the pool.
It did not pass Go.
It did not collect $200.
Just right to the bottom of the pool — no heartfelt farewell, or anything.
Just: Ha Ha, bye! *splash*
At first glace you may think this is the same image as the “before rice” photo above, but it’s not. (If you look closely at the bottom-left, you can see some of the rice in there.)
*shit* *shit* *shit*
Well, since I can’t exactly un-stir the pot, my only option is to move forward.
Bye Bye Chickie Chickie
Soooooo, that means it is now time to add the chicken.
*Looks at chicken glue brick*
*Looks at pot*
*Looks back at chicken glue brick*
Contemplates just turning the bowl upside down into the pot, but quickly remembers that such behavior is what got me into this mess in the first place.
I assess the situation, and determine that my only other options are to:
(A) Gently lift the chicken glue-ball brick out of the bowl and into the pot — like some kind of weird-ass chicken-glue-ball-brick caesarean (in reverse!) — and try not to splash everything currently IN the pot to be OUT of the pot.
(B) Chisel apart the chicken glue-ball brick
I determine Option B to be the most correct decision.
So…. like peeling the layers an onion, I attacked that chicken glue brick with malice, and peeled each piece of chicken away from the collective, and placed it gently into the pot — being careful to get an even distribution.
Eventually I get down to the bottom of the bowl and am vindicated in my choice, because at the bottom of the bowl were a bunch of chicken goo paste balls.
So into the trash go the chicken goo paste balls.
Annnnnnnnnnnnd all over my black jeans goes the remaining loose flour.
At last, one final big decision before closing the lid — submerge the chicken or no?
Again, recipe doesn’t say yes or no.
And again, I decide yes — apparently not learning my lesson from last time…
I assess the pre-launch situation and am just not at all sure this dumpster fire is going to turn out to be in any way edible.
Soooooooo… I decide to just randomly pour in a bunch more wine!
Nope, I have absolutely zero clue what I was thinking.
This time I didn’t stir it.
Annnnnd this is now at least my 3rd bad decision of the night.
Finally, lid on, then 10 minutes high pressure.
In the Meantime
I have about 15, maybe 20 minutes, to grate the Asiago cheese. Because again — it doesn’t tell me not to grate it… but I’m pretty damn sure I’m not supposed to just lob this whole chunk into the pot all on its own! 😀
So out comes the bowl and the microplane grater, and I go to town on it — because I’m not in the mood to wash the food processor.
For those of you unfamiliar with Asiago… imagine if Parmesean and Romano had a really sexy baby that was far greater than the sum of its parts — making you question if Romano was really its biological father, or if maybe Parmesean was getting a little frisky with the neighbor — and said really sexy baby grew up to be an international supermodel.
That’s kinda Asiago. 😀
Haha — I totally made that up.
You should know by now that I don’t have a sophisticated enough pallatte to make such an assessment!!
The best I can do is “it’s kinda like a Parmesean or a Romano — but different”. 😀
The recipe calls for 6 ounces. The block is 0.54 pounds. 16 ounces in a pound. 8 ounces in a half pound — and Beth said to use more than the recipe called for. So a little more than 8 oz, for an original quantity sounds about right…. which means I have to grate this entire block.
So off I go for my arm workout.
*graaaaaaaaaaaaaaate* *graaaaaaaaaaaaaaate* *graaaaaaaaaaaaate*
*graaaaaaaaaaaaaaate* *graaaaaaaaaaaaaaate* *graaaaaaaaaaaaate*
*graaaaaaaaaaaaaaate* *graaaaaaaaaaaaaaate* *graaaaaaaaaaaaate*
The pre-heat cycle is almost done, and I’ve made it halfway through the block of Asiago — by length, but certainly not by volume.
You should note that my “overall time spent” timer says we’re at 57 minutes.
Assuming we’re 7 minutes into the almost-complete pre-heat cycle, that means this “3 minutes prep” recipe took me 50 minutes. (So anyone who doubts my Hot Mess credentials, just sit back down. 😀 )
* graaaaaaaaaaaaaaate* *graaaaaaaaaaaaate*
Pot is finally pressurized and counting down.
Hey! I might win this race!
WoooHoo! Score! I win the race, with 5 minutes to spare!
Final Prep Steps
Since the cooking cycle is now close to being finished, it’s time to prep my 1 cup of milk.
The recipe doesn’t say what kind of milk. Though I know risotto is supposed to be creamy.
However my whole milk is reserved for my next yogurt experiment — so there’s no way I’m sacrificing any of it to this current dumpster fire. And the 2% milk is also reserved for the next batch of yogurt after that….
So that leaves the bottle of fat-free. (Fairlife was on sale, but only had a few bottles left. Those bottles all became mine, thus the weird sampling of milk types.)
But risotto is supposed to be creamy, and fat-free doesn’t really qualify as creamy…
Ohh! I have some heavy whipping cream!
*dun* *dun* *duuuuun*
*camera zooms in on the heavy cream*
Hrm… But that might be toooo thick!
So I get the absolutely brilliant idea to go halfsies and mix 1/2c non-fat with 1/2c heavy cream. Test it out, and am concerned it is too thick — so add another 1/2c non-fat milk.
The Big Reveal
Finally it is time to time to quick release, and to see what unholy mess stands before me.
Ooooookaaaaaayyyy… and this is….. what exactly?
Still not sure if submerging the chicken was the right choice, as this looks a little odd… but ok, how about a little stir?
Well shit — rice is burnt.
At this point, I at least have the good sense to cancel keep warm, so it doesn’t have any chance of burning even more.
It is also super thick and hard to stir — yet I’m supposed to add over half a pound of cheese now?
Double check the recipe. Phew! Milk is next. Into the pool!
*stir* *stir* *stir* *stir*
Not anywhere near creamy…
Randomly pour more non-fat milk in.
*stir* *stir* *stir* *stir*
Decide maybe I should probably finally taste test this.
Annnnd…. I am pretty sure I have achieved that flavor referred to by the Chopped judges as “raw wine”. Hellllooooooo! It’s a pressure cooker. Where was all that extra wine, that I randomly decided to add, going to evaporate too?
As I continue to stir in more milk, attempting to achieve this creamy texture that I am expecting, the pot is now magically deglazing itself — and I am not at all sure how I feel about that getting all mixed in.
But it’s not like I can do anything about.
Finally I achieve something moderately stirrable and start adding cheese!
And more cheese!
And even MORE cheese!
Finally, another taste test.
Still tastes like “raw wine” — but at least it’s now “Asiago-forward”, so that really helps.
But what else is there to do at this point, but call it quits?
I’ve watched Gordon Ramsey yell at enough chefs over risotto, that I’m SURE it’s supposed to be creamy.
But this most certainly not.
….It’s more like a weird “Italian Jambalaya” or something:
How exactly I managed to make chicken glue taste good — I have no idea.
I should note that the final total-time-spent timer weighed in at 87 minutes. For a “3 minutes prep, 10 minutes” cook recipe. Because I suck in the kitchen just that much.
As for the final result: Tasty, Tasty, Chicken Glue.
Though I should note that other than a few peeks of mushrooms here and there, it is entirely monochromatic. So doubling the baby bella mushrooms next time would probably help.
And if it was actually creamy — more like a porridge than like paste — then maybe even stirring in some of them “fancy mushrooms” (note I said “fancy mushroom”, not “special mushrooms”!) at the end right before serving could help.
I should also note that this filled my pot up to the 3.5L line — so this definitely should NOT be doubled in a 6 quart pot.
It was good reheated in the microwave the next day.
And it was also good frozen and microwaved. Though it took a lot of time to defrost and reheat (about 6 to 8 minutes on full power).
Remember that the above adventure was inspired by the One Pot Instant Pot Asiago chicken with Mushroom Risotto recipe from Adventures of a Nurse. So please pop on over to her site to give her love, and try the real recipe!
In the hands of someone competent, I have no doubt that it would be a damn fine meal!
Dumpster Fire Asiago Jambalaya*
For entertainment purposes only (* no insult intended to real Jambalaya)
The Starting Players
- 1-1/2 to 2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts or thighs, thawed
- 1/2 to 1 cup of flour, as needed to coat chicken
The Supporting Cast
- 2 to 3 Tbsp butter, use something good
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic, or more to preference
- 8oz to 16oz baby bella mushrooms
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 1 cup of dry white wine, I used Pino Grigio
- 2 cups Arborio rice, or other short-grained rice
- 1 to 2 cups of Milk, non-fat is fine if that’s your thing
- 8 oz block of Asiago cheese, grated, or more to preference
- Do not double in a 6 Quart Instant Pot — there’s not enough room!
Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then set aside.
Put the flour into a wide flat-bottomed dish.
Working in batches, transfer chopped chicken into flour, coat evenly, then set aside.
Slice the mushrooms and set aside.
Pre-heat the Instant Pot on Saute Normal. When it says Hot add your butter and give it time to melt.
Add the minced garlic and saute until it becomes translucent, being careful not to burn the garlic or the butter.
Pour in the sliced mushrooms and stir to incorporate the butter and garlic.
Add the chicken broth and the wine, and stir to incorporate. (Remember that there is no evaporation in pressure cooking, so be sensible in your “approximate measurements” with the wine 🙂 )
Add the rice by pouring in concentric circles and attempting to distribute evenly — but do not stir, because it can sink to the bottom and burn during cooking.
Place the floured chicken on top, again distributing evenly.
Close the lid and cook on High pressure for 10 minutes.
Use the cooking time to grate your block of Asiago cheese, either by hand or using a food processor.
When the cooking cycle has completed, release the pressure and open the lid.
Stir, and check for scorching.
Measure out 1 cup of milk, to start with.
Attempt to pull the cooked rice away from the sides of the pot to create a pocket to pour in some milk. Stir to incorporate. Repeat until the 1 cup of milk has been used up.
Begin adding the grated Asiago cheese, a handfuls at a time, stirring to completely incorporate. Taste after each batch, and decide if you want to add more (Asiago can come across as rather strong for some people). Theoretically you’ll use it all and it will be nice and cheesy.
Assess the post-cheese situation, and determine if you need to add more milk. Repeat the previous “create a pocket to pour in some milk” process as necessary until you achieve your desired consistency.
Serve in a bowl with a fork or spoon, or freeze in individual servings for later.
» » » » » » The posts that launched it all: Dumpster Fire Chicken Curry Stew, and Dumpster Fire Pork Ribs
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