Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: poultry (page 1 of 6)


Today’s recipe, Sauce Alexandre, is simply a mushroom and cream sauce that goes great over poached fish or chicken.

This is not Alexander Sauce, which contains flour, butter, cream, shrimp and crabmeat. Alexander Sauce is part of the French canon of continental sauces.  Sauce Alexandre may, or may not be in that rarified sphere.  I honestly don’t know. This recipe I got from a newspaper clipping years ago. If anyone has more info on this mysterious sauce, please let us know. What I know for a fact is that the sauce is delicious, as noted, specially when served over poached dishes.

Poaching fish or chicken isn’t a big deal. It’s a fairly simple procedure: in a large saucepan or skillet, add ½ cup white wine; ½ onion, peeled and sliced into thin rounds; 2 clove garlic, peeled and crushed; ¼ teaspoon salt; 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; ¾ teaspoon oregano and ½ lemon, sliced. Add 4 fish fillets or 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Add at least 2 inches of water, and then fish or chicken. Heat over medium heat until water is steaming. Cover and poached for approximately 5 minutes for fish and 10 minutes for chicken. You can test the fish once the flesh flakes easily. As for the chicken, it’s done once an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F. in the thickest part of the meat. Note that you can also  reserve the poaching liquid for later use, such  as a light broth or soup base, or you can use it in cooking rice, or with stir-fries vegetables.



4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
½ pound mushrooms, washed and sliced thinly (about 3½ cups)
1 tablespoon spoon shallots, peeled and chopped
¼ cup dry whiter wine
1½ cups heavy cream


  1. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan. Add flour, stirring with a wire whisk. When blended and smooth, add the chicken broth. stirring vigorously with the whisk. Season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. This is called a veloute.
  2.  Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan or skillet Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms give up their liquid. Stir in the shallots and cook until most of the liquid in the saucepan has evaporated.
  3.  Add the wine and cook until almost all of the wine is reduced. Add the veloute and cream. Stir to blend well. Bring to a boil, adjust seasoning if it needs more salt and/or pepper,
    Yield: About 2½ cups.


This is one of those recipes that I’ve created where terminology is left up to the individual. I call it Chicken Quarters with Butter-Vinegar Dressing. The dressing part is simple, just a mix of butter, cayenne pepper and red wine vinegar in which to coat the chicken. The chicken part is more complex. There are chicken thighs, chicken breasts and chicken drumsticks. We all know what they look like. But in my family, back on the block, we loved cooking chicken quarters. To us that was the part of the chicken that entail the drumstick and part of the chicken breast to which it was connected. What we did was cut these quarters from the chicken and cook them in various ways. Our favorite was having it baked and then sauced in the butter-vinegar mix. Yes, you can cook any chicken parts this way, but we enjoyed most the chicken quarters. Two chicken quarters can feed 4 people or, for big eaters, you can have four individual quarters. Now, as then, it’s an easy recipe to prepare with minimal ingredients and a taste that is scrumptious.



Chicken quarters as described above
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar


  1. Wash chicken quarters under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Place chicken in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season thoroughly with  garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Let rest for 15 minutes for flavors to develop.
  3.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken skin side up in a baking dish or pan. Cook 15 minutes. Then turn over and cook another 15 minutes or until chicken is golden and crisp.
  4.  In a small pot or pan, melt butter with cayenned pepper over medium heat. Whisk in vinegar and remove from heat. Drizzle chicken with butter-vinegar dressing and serve.
    Yield: 2-4 servings, depending on the diner’s appetite and how many chicken pieces you cook.


To my palate, Salmon fillets are a delicate dish to prepare, especially if you’re cooking them in a sauce. A powerful sauce can overwhelm the salmon; but if you steam the salmon as we do in this recipe, it’s flavor and texture come through. In this case we serve it with herbs in a vinaigrette. This is a basic sauce that contains no butter or cream. It’s unique taste comes from a mix of parsley, scallions, chives, tarragon, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper.

For this dish, you need a steamer. If you don’t have a steamer, you can improvise by setting a can in large pot or saucepan, filling it halfway with water, placing the seasoned fillets on a plate, placing the plate atop the can, bringing the water to a boil, cover the pot or saucepan and thereby steam the fish. If you have a bamboo steamer, you can use that as well.

This is a wonderful summer dish that can be served hot or cold. This time around we served the dish with boiled potatoes enhanced with butter and dill. Or you can serve the fillets with your favorite side dish, be it a vegetable or a grain such as rice or couscous. As I’ve mentioned many times before, you’re only limited by your imagination.

Also, be aware that any leftover herb vinaigrette sauce goes good with chicken, veal, pork or beef. It’s an all purpose sauce that will enhance any entrée. Or you can serve it for breakfast over eggs and toast. Once you taste the sucker, I’m sure it’ll become part of your culinary routine.



½ cup chopped fresh chopped parsley
½ cup coarsely chopped scallions, including green part
4 tablespoons coarsely chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced in quarters
4 boneless salmon fillets (about 6 ounces each) rinsed and patted with paper towels
16 large basil leaves


  1. Combine the parsley with the scallions, chives, tarragon, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until mixture is chopped fine. Be aware that over blending will emulsify the texture.
  2. Add the egg and blend briefly until the egg is coarsely blended.
  3. Pour water into the bottom of a steamer. Place fillets on a serving plate that can fit the steamer rack. Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Place the plate on the steamer rack. Place 4 basil leaves over each fillet and cover. Bring the water to a boil and steam fillets for 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook. The fish can be served hot or cold.
  4. Transfer the serving plate to the table. Spoon the vinaigrette sauce over the fillets and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.


This is one of my creations that I made up up at the spur of the moment. I had a whole chicken on hand, and what to do with it? Well, why not cook it in a sauce that I haven’t done before? Turmeric came to mind. Turmeric, as a spice, and medicine, has been used for thousands of years. As a medicine, it’s  been used for pain management and to aid in digestive issues. It is a major ingredient in curry powder. It’s mildly fragrant and has a slight ginger-like taste. I’ve used it many times to enhance and add color to a variety of dishes So, I paired it on its own with chicken. This result was marvelous: chicken cooked in said  sauce and, as we did it, served over quinoa. You can also serve it with rice or  couscous,  even over pasta. With a light red wine such as Valpolicella, Barbera or Beaujolais (slightly   chilled), it hits the spot.



1 fryer chicken, 2½ to 3 pounds, cut into serving pices
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon turmeric


  1. Rinse chickens pieces under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Mix olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and garlic. Pour over the chicken and rub seasoning thoroughly into chicken parts. Set aside.
  3.  Meanwhile, melt butter in a large pot or saucepan over low heat.
  4.  Add flour and whisk for 5 minutes.
  5.  Add chicken broth, and whisk over medium heat, until the mixture starts to thicken and bubble, about 5-7 minutes.
  6.  Add chicken, tomato paste and turmeric. Stir to combine. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately.
    Yield: -6-4 servings



This recipe is something I thought up at the spur of the moment. I had a fryer chicken on hand and figured I needed to do something innovative with it. So why not split the sucker in half and sauté it with mushrooms? (which I also had on hand). The result wasn’t that bad. With rice, or a grain like couscous or quinoa, it makes for a perfect dish. You can even serve it over pasta. If you like the chicken as is, a good crusty loaf of bread would be ideal.

Note that the recipe calls for ¼ cup white wine of your choice. I normally prefer dry white wine. But, if you like something sweeter you can use a rosé, or Rhine wine or, if you have it around and want to splurge, sauterne wine or madeira.

Also, this dish (one chicken) yields 2 servings. In desired, you can double the recipe (with 2 whole chickens) and serve 4.



1 whole fryer chicken
½ cup butter
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ pound mushrooms, washed and slice thinly
1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup white wine of your choice (see above)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley


  1. Rinse chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Split into halves.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet or frying pan. Add onion and garlic and and sauté over medium heat about 2 minutes.
  3. Add chicken halves, salt, pepper and oregano, and cook, turning, until chicken is browned. If needed, you can add more butter while browning.
  4.  Stir in mushrooms.  Add wine, stir to mix ingredients, cover, lower heat to simmer 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
    Yield: 2 servings.





Glazed dishes, especially meats, have become a prominent part of my repertoire.  I discovered this specialty in my young manhood, and I’m still enthralled by it, especially when it comes to chicken. Glazing adds  variety to this particular meat; and the possibilities are endless. Also, it’s so easy to prepare, whether it’s in an oven, broiler or the outdoor grill. Prefect for barbecue.

The following are four glazed chicken recipes. To begin, the chicken is season in the Nuyorican manner: just marinate for 10 minutes  in a mix of olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper; then place in the oven. You can skip this  step, if desired, but I find the seasoning gives the meat an extra zip. While the chicken is baking, you can prepare the glaze. Finish  by basting the chicken with the glaze during the last few minutes of cooking.


  1. Cut up a 3 pound broiler-fryer chicken into serving pieces,  wash under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  Place in a bowel and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar.
  3.  Season with 1 tablespoon dried oregano, and salt and black pepper to taste. Let stand 10 minutes for seasonings to coalesced with chicken pieces.
  4.  Place skin side down in a baking pan or dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. While chicken is baking, mix ingredients for glaze of your choice  in a small bowl (recipes below).
  5. Turn chicken pieces and brush with glaze. Continue baking, uncovered 30 to 40 minutes or until chicken is done. Brush with additional glaze every 5 minutes during last ½ hour of cooking.

Apricot Glaze:
½ cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

Lemon-Honey Glaze:
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons lemon  juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon turmeric

Barbecue Glaze:
½ cup bottle barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon honey

Pineapple Glaze:
1/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
¼ teaspoon salt

Korean-Style Glaze:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Added Note: If barbecuing, bake chicken 30 minutes in a conventional oven, 12 minutes in a microwave oven or 25 minutes in a convection oven. Then transfer to a preheated barbecue grill and brush with glaze. Turn chicken and brush with glaze frequently 15-20 minutes or until chicken is done.






PECHUGA DE POLLO CON RON (Chicken Breasts with Rum)

I always thought there was a classical French cuisine component to this dish. Reason being, it’s partly cooked in a rich white sauce which gives it that smooth, creamy texture. But it has that Caribbean slant to it: we prepare it with rum; and by that I mean Puerto Rican rum. The best there is.

It’s simple enough: halve the chicken breasts, season, dredge in flour and fry until lightly browned. Then simmer with heavy cream. That’s it. The secret ingredient is that you flame the chicken with dark rum to give it that unique taste. Don’t worry about getting tipsy on the booze. The alcohol content disappears and only the sweet rum flavor remains.

Enjoy this one. You won’t be disappointed.


PECHUGA DE POLLO CON RON (Chicken Breasts with Rum)


4 chicken breasts, boned
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
4 tablespoons butter
¼  cup dark rum
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon paprika


 1. Rise chicken breasts under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. Halve chicken breast, sprinkled with salt, pepper and thyme. Dredge the halves in flour to coat them lightly.
3. Heat butter in a heavy skillet or frying pan over medium heat, adding more butter as needed. Add breasts and sauté until lightly browned
(they do not need to be cooked through to the center).
4. Heat the rum, pour over the breasts and ignite with a match. Add cream, cover skillet and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add paprika and season to taste. Arrange the breasts on a warmed serving platter. Strain the sauce remaining in the skillet over the chicken  and  serve.
Yield: 4 servings.




In our culture we love chicken and we love beans. So why not combine them together in a one pot meal, as we did back on the block with Pollo con Habichuelas. Just mix the ingredients, season, cook, and you have a marvelous one dish entrée.

In our family we use dried beans when preparing this dish. It will not work with canned beans, which are already precooked. You would have to prepare the chicken and beans separately, and then combine—which negates the idea of a one dish meal. Also, since it’s dried beans we’re dealing with, that means they need to be soaked for at least 8 hours or, preferably, overnight. This makes it easier to cook, and reduces the gas produced when the food is being digested.  There is a quick presoak method I’ve seen online: In a large pot, add 6 cups of water for each pound (2 cups) of dry beans. Heat to boiling; boil for 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and soak for at least 1 hour. Full disclosure, I’ve never tried this method; so I can’t vouch whether it works or not. Proceed as you think best.

Note that we use white beans in this recipe, which cuts down on the cooking time (about 1 hour). It takes longer to cook other beans. For instance, black beans take 60 to 90 minutes, kidney beans, navy beans and pinto beans take 90 to 120 minutes. With those varieties, since we’re cooking the chicken and beans together, by the time the beans are done, the chicken will be overcooked and dry.

The usual accompaniment to this dish is rice. In out family we like it as is with a crusty loaf of bread. Whichever way you serve it, it makes for a great dinner and the leftovers taste better the next day.




2 cups white beans
1 2½-3 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh chopped leaf oregano  or 1 teaspoon dried
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup black olives, sliced



  1. Day before, rinse beans, place in a large pot and add water to cover by 2 inches. Cover pot, and soak overnight. Note that the beans do not need to be refrigerated while soaking. Just leave in the kitchen counter while soaking or atop the stove.
  2. Rinse chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. Mix to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes so that the spices blend into the chicken pieces.
  3. Drain beans, place in large pot, add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and add chicken, bouillon cube and turmeric. Stir to mix. Lower heat to gentle simmer, cover and cook until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Add more water, if necessary, during cooking. Add olives, cook 4 minutes more and serve.
    Yield: 4-6 servings.



As a self described historian, I’m fascinated by foods from bygone eras. I love checking out old, ancient cookbooks. One of my favorites is attributed to Apicius, a Roman gourmet who lived in the 1st century CE and who’s tome, De re culinaria or De re coquinaria  (On the Subject of Cooking) is one of the earliest cookbooks known to humanity. In it, Apicius notes the dishes enjoyed by the Roman elite during the reign of Emperor Tiberius.

The recipe given, Numidian Chicken (with modifications), is one of Apicius’ entries. Numidia was located in what is today Algeria; and had been a Roman province since 46 BCE. Obviously, Apicius considered their cooking on par with Roman cuisine since he included this recipe in his cookbook. Full disclosure: the recipe does contain ingredients that are hard to find. One of them is lazar root. an ingredient which is now extinct. The other is liquamen, a fish sauce that was used to salt dishes. To create liquamen today, even in a modern kitchen, is a long involved process that includes using fish blood. The only substitute I found online is simply mixing 1 teaspoon salt with 2 ounces white wine. I went with that. If you want it less, you can reduce the salt content to ½ or ¼ teaspoon.

The recipe itself is simple enough. It involves par-boiling a chicken (cut up), then roasting it. The final step is preparing an aromatic sauce with various ingredients and seasonings that are still available today. In Apicius’ time the idea was to pound the ingredients and seasonings. That is, crushing them (I guess in a giant mortar) then cooking to make a sauce that was poured over the chicken. It is not as complex as you think. For instance, instead of pounding the ingredients, I blend them in a food processor. One of the benefits of 21st century living. It just takes patience, and you have a meal a Roman Patrician would savor. Except, you are the Roman gourmand.

The dish goes good with rice, couscous, quinoa or farro. You can add a modern Italian bent to it and serve it over pasta. In our clan, we like it as is with a good crusty loaf of bread. With a fine wine, Italian or otherwise, you have a meal that Caesar and his contemporaries would find delicious—and so will you. Toga is optional.


1 fryer chicken, 2½ to 3 pounds, cut into serving pieces
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup dried dates
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt mixed with 2 ounces white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2.  Rinse chicken pieces under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3.  Place chicken in a pan or pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.
  4.  Remove from water and place in an oven proof dish (we prefer cast iron), sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and bake 45-50 minutes or until tender.
  5.  Meanwhile, place dates, pine nuts, cumin, remaining pepper, coriander seed, vinegar, honey, salt-wine mixture and olive oil in a food processor. Blend and mix well. Transfer to a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. If sauce is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of white wine to thin it. Or, if too thin, you can add a bit of starch mixed with water. Here, it’s a judgment call. I find that when I heat the sauce, it comes out on the thick side. Pour over chicken and serve, either in the oven proof dish or a serving platter.
    Yield: 4 servings.



I’m , always on the lookout for a good roast chicken recipe, something out of the ordinary. Well, this is one for the ages: Roast Chicken Moroccan Style. I’ve never been to Morocco but, if I do, this is the first dish I’ll order. It’s a heavenly chicken replete with myriad herbs and spices not common to our version of roast chicken.  And, as an addition I’ve included a saffron rice recipe that goes great with the chicken. So, impress your family and friends with your worldliness. Give them a roast chicken dish that’s simply marvelous. They’ll sing your praises.

Now, traditionally, with this dish, it is cooked in an outdoor grill. This being winter in the northeast, we cooked the chicken in a preheated broiler and it came out just fine.



1 roasting chicken, about 3 to 3¼ pounds, halved or quartered
3 scallions, white parts only, chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh chopped coriander or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenned pepper
4 tablespoons butter, softened


  1. Rinse chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Put the scallions, garlic, herbs, salt and spices in a mortar and pound until crushed. Blend with the butter to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the prepared chicken pieces. Leave the chicken to marinate at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  3. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side down under the broiler After 5 minutes turn and baste with any extra paste or the juices in the boiling pan. Continue turning and basting every 5 minutes for approximately 25 minutes or until the pieces are done. Serve with Saffron Rice (recipe given below).



2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups rice
½ teaspoon saffron threads or ¼ teaspoon saffron powder
Chicken broth, about 3 cups or to cover rice
Salt and black peeper to taste
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cup finely chopped parsley


  1. In a large saucepan or pot, heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Stir in rice and sauté until grains are transparent.
  2. Add saffron and chicken broth to cover rice by about ¼-inch. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid absorbed, about 30 to 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper and serve on a platter with tomato and parsley border.
    Yield: 4 servings.

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