Want to: a plated dish

I really love to take classic and rustic dishes and breathing new life into them. For some odd season, I have always been attracted to Southern food, despite never really visiting the South. There’s just something about biscuits, barbecue, buttermilk, and corn that just really, really appeals to me. So I wanted to do a play on one of my personal favorites, being chicken pot pie. Now you I get that people might hold what I said about my stance on deconstruction against me here, but before anyone even can say anything about that, I just don’t use that word to describe my food. I prefer “plated”, “my take on”, or “my interpretation of”, just because the phrase “deconstruction” sounds like I’m taking a wrecking ball or a sledgehammer and swinging it through something. It just sounds super pretentious and negative. For this dish, it is not chicken pot pie, but rather, a dish that uses flavor and texture combinations inspired by it. It is an entirely new dish.

So for my plated dish, we have a milk poached chicken breast, crispy skin, celeriac biscuit, brown butter-carrot puree, and buttermilk vinaigrette. It’s a mouthful, literally and figuratively. So to start, I wanted to milk poach the breast, just because I was using milk to make both the celeriac puree for my biscuit, as well as the carrot puree, so taking inspiration from Gabrielle Hamilton and not wasting anything, I decided to use the same batch of milk three times before discarding it. The celeriac biscuit really actually was what inspired this entire dish. I was thinking of interesting root vegetable purees to make into biscuits and I thought about celeriac/celery root. And with that strong flavor, I wanted to do something that celery is traditionally used in, and that’s when I thought about creamy stews and eventually, chicken pot pie. For the vinaigrette, I am using seasoned buttermilk, to tie into the biscuit which also has buttermilk, and an herb oil made with pea shoots, just to give the dish a vibrant green color, and to tie into the peas used in a pot pie. For the carrot component, we have brown butter carrot puree. Nice, simple, and it adds another creamy component and nice body to the dish. I named the dish “Want to” after one of my favorite Dua Lipa songs, as a reference to the me doing whatever I want to with any dish from any cuisine, because I don’t necessarily need to define my cooking by just Taiwanese food or just pastry.


For the celeriac puree:
1 celeriac/celery root, peeled and cubed
2 cups milk
a pinch of salt

Simmer down the celeriac on a medium-low heat until completely softened and tender. Transfer to a blender and puree. Pass through a sieve. Reserve the milk, as you will be using it for both the carrot puree and finally, the poached chicken.

For the carrot puree:
1 cup carrots, peeled and shaved thinly
reserved celeriac milk
a pinch of salt
a pinch of black pepper
6 tablespoons brown butter

Slowly poach the carrots in the liquid until they are soft and center. Transfer to a blender and puree in the brown butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Pass through a sieve and transfer to a squeeze bottle, keeping it warm for plating.

For the milk-poached chicken breast:
2 chicken breasts, skins removed
2 cloves of garlic
1 bay leaf
1 shallot, finely diced
reserved milk from celeriac and carrot puree
3 tablespoons
2 teaspoons dried mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried ginger
a pinch of pepper

Sweat out the shallot, bay leaf, garlic, and spices in oil first. Deglaze with the reserved milk and add in more milk if needed, just to make sure that there will be enough to fully submerge the chicken breasts. Allow the chicken breasts to cook to cook in this liquid on medium-low heat for 12-15 minutes, entirely depending on the size of the chicken breasts themselves. Make sure that the internal temperature of the chicken breast reaches 165 degrees F when you remove it from the milk. Allow the chicken breasts to rest slightly just before slicing them lengthwise for serving.

For the crispy skin:
4 chicken skins
a pinch of salt
a pinch of pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
a pinch of thyme

Season the chicken skins and bake in a 400 degree F oven for about 25-30 minutes. Break into smaller shards for plating.

For the celeriac biscuit:
1 cup all-purpose flour and more for rolling
1/2 cup celeriac puree
2 tablespoons buttermilk
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter
1 egg
celery seeds or celery salt

Combine the butter, baking powder, salt, and butter first to form a crumbly dough. Make a well and add in your celeriac puree and buttermilk. Combine into a dough. Roll out on a floured surface and cut out 1/4 inch circles. Brush with egg and sprinkle on celery seeds or celery salt. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes.

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup pea sprouts or shoots
1/2 cup canola oil
a pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk

Blanc the pea sprouts in hot water for 20 seconds and shock in ice. Puree with canola oil to form an herb oil. Season the buttermilk first. You will combine these two just right before plating.

To plate:
Start with the half piece of chicken breast. To help it stand up easier, slice off the rounded outer side of the breast. Pipe on the carrot puree, and garnish with the biscuit pieces and chicken skin. Garnish with some pea sprouts as well. Pour your pea sprout oil into the buttermilk and pour next to the chicken and serve.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Virginia L. says:

    You have elevated the simple ingredients to new height….What a lovely and thoughtful post! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

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