Still trying to figure out a fun but productive way for the kids to use their summer break? Here are two more recipes by chef Curtis Stone, head judge on cable channel Lifetime’s “Top Chef Jr.,” that parents and kids can try together
Chicken cassoulet with fennel and bacon
Who said kids can’t take on French cuisine? Tackle this Chicken Cassoulet with Fennel and Bacon together and prove that a great dinner doesn’t have to be complicated. Although cassoulet, a slow-cooked casserole from southwestern France, is traditionally made with beans, duck, and pork, Chef Curtis keeps it light by using chicken, bacon, and a Parmesan bread crumb topping to balance out the flavors.
• 4 whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks; about 10 ounces each),
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
• 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
• 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
• 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
• One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
• 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
• 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375-degree Fahrenheit.
2. Coat the chicken legs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the legs on a large heavy rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes, or until they are golden brown and barely pink at the bone when pierced with the tip of a small sharp knife and much of their fat has been rendered. Remove from the oven; leave the oven on.
3. Meanwhile, heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until crisp. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the fennel and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, garlic, and ground fennel seeds and cook for about 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in the broth and beans.
4. Transfer the bean mixture to a 13×9×2-inch baking dish. Nestle the chicken legs in the beans. In a small bowl, mix the panko and Parmesan cheese to blend. Sprinkle most of the panko mixture over the beans (don’t worry if the juices are soaked up by some of the crumbs) and the remainder over the chicken.
Exotic fruit salad passion fruit granita
Take advantage of the fruits in season and whip up bowls of Exotic Fruit Salad Passionfruit Granita, a fresh mix of pineapple, papaya, mango, and star fruit, topped with a snow-like spoonful of pureed passionfruit or mango. Stir in a little mint to add edge to this icy concoction perfect for a hot day.
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 pound ripe passion fruit, halved
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups)
• 1 papaya, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
• 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
• 1 star fruit, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
• 4 kiwis cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)
1. In a small heavy saucepan, stir 1 cup of water and sugar together over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Slowly bring the syrup to a boil; then remove it from the heat and let it cool completely.
2. Spoon the passion fruit flesh into the cooled syrup and mix together. Stir in the lemon juice. Pour the passion fruit mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish and freeze it for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture is icy around the edges.
3. Using a large fork, stir the icy parts of the passion fruit mixture into the remaining mixture in the dish. Continue to freeze the mixture, stirring the edges into the center every 20 to 30 minutes, for about 1 1/2 hours longer, or until it is frozen. Using a large fork, scrape the frozen granita into flaky crystals. Cover and keep frozen.
4. In a large bowl, gently toss the pineapple, papaya, mango, star fruit, and chopped mint, if using. Spoon the mixed fruit into serving bowls, and top each one with a large spoonful of granita. Garnish withmint sprigs, and serve.
For more tiny chef inspiration, tune in to Top Chef Jr. on Lifetime from Tuesdays to Thursdays at 8 p.m. and watch some of the most talented young culinary masters from around US prove that they’ve got what it takes to be the next generation of Top Chefs.