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updated: 10/17/2012 10:18 AM

Contestants weigh in on recipe challenges

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  • Louann Zundel

      Louann Zundel

  • Michelle Abraham

      Michelle Abraham


Michelle Abraham: I was prepared to spend a lot of time on the Internet searching ways to cook the crazy ingredients I was expecting for round two. To my surprise I was given my protein staple: chicken. Two ideas came to mind, but beer can chicken won out, especially with the brisk fall weather. I decided to use an Irish cider to really make my meal fall flavored. I chose to make a sweet cherry glaze for the bird because I thought it was the perfect compliment to the cider beer -- kind of like a mini chicken Thanksgiving.

I had limited experience with the dried plums (prunes), celeriac and quinoa, but felt that I would be able to combine them into the perfect side dish blend for my Sweet Harvest Chicken. The celeriac really tastes like celery when it's roasted and I wanted to compliment that earthy flavor with an additional vegetable. Roasted sweet potatoes paired perfectly with the celeriac and adding the roasted duo to the quinoa seemed like a perfect match. The chewy dried plum mixed with the hearty grain was flawless, especially with the splash or two of beer mixed into the quinoa.

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Louann Zundel: The ingredients for this challenge had so many possibilities, but since I could add no more than seven additional ingredients to the recipe, I needed to rely on a cooking method to bring out lots of flavor.

Brining came to mind, but that would add too many ingredients without enough flavor punch. Then I thought maybe a quinoa stuffing with a whole roasted chicken, but that, to me would lack a depth of flavor, so I went for caramelizing the aromatics and browning and braising the chicken with sweet curry powder to add many warm and fragrant spices.

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