Chat Leftovers: Andouille Redux, Lollipop Molds, Naked Chicken

The What's Cooking queue was still full after this week's gabfest; below, a handful of questions that caught my eye and whetted my whistle. As per usual, I invite you to weigh in and add salt when necessary.

What to douille?: I have half a pound of andouille leftover (frozen at the moment) from jambalaya a few weeks ago. I'm thinking of using it in an empanada-style stuffing... cutting it up to blend with some onions, peppers... AND what? What goes well with andouille? What complements it nicely and will hold up to a little baking? Or am I on completely a wrong track here? Open to suggestions to make good use of the andouille and break a bit of a dinner rut.

I've had chorizo-stuffed empanadas, sure. But I think ground meat generally performs better as a savory pastry filling (I'm drooling over the idea of Jamaican meat patties at the moment) than does sliced hunks of sausage. Now, if you want to remove the casing and break up the meat, you'd have a different situation.

In keeping with the New Orleans theme, one of andouille's best mates is a pot of red beans, which of course could be used as an empanada filling or as a big ole stew. Rice is a key third well, and will work equally work tucked into a pastry or sopping up that red bean-andouille gravy.

If I were in your shoes, I might make me some biscuits and fry up a few eggs for a breakfast of champions at any time of the day.

Charlotte, N.C.: Does anyone have a good recipe for pizza dough? I have been using the recipe in my bread maker, but it's too doughy (stretched out on my 12 in. pizza peel). I have tried to doctor it up some, by adjusting the amounts, but generally the dough comes out too sticky. It's manageable, but still time consuming (not worth using the bread machine at that point). I forgot to bring the recipe with me, but methinks its 8oz water, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp oil, 3 C flour, and 2 tsp yeast. Any suggestions/tips?

I just compared your proportions to my recipe for pizza dough, and there are two slight differences -- your version calls for a tad less salt and twice as much oil. As for method, I make my dough by hand, which yields a soft yet springy result, but I would not characterize it as sticky.

Admittedly, I have no experience working with a bread machine, so we'll need to solicit insight from veteran bread machine bakers. Short of analyzing the bread machine process, what if you considered giving the by-hand method a fighting chance? If nothing else, you'll have an amazing tactile experience, from making a flour well to "press, fold and turn," the kneading mantra that has served me well over the years.

What I want to know is this: When you finally do form the dough onto the peel, how does it do in the oven and in your mouth? I'm curious about the end result.

Lollipops: I made a batch of lollipops around Christmas that were a big hit. I used elements of your recipe/technique combined with those from Saveur. I would like to find a mold to give them less of that freeform look. Any idea where to find such a thing? A friend kindly gave me a bunch of plastic molds, but I've discovered they are only for chocolate lollipops. I imagine the hot sugar solution would melt the plastic. On a related note, I think you've mentioned a candy cookbook that you like. Can you share the name again?

I've ordered lollipop supplies from Kitchen Krafts, which sells a variety of molds, and I'm intrigued by the aluminum molds on offer at You may also want to check out The book in question is "The Ultimate Candy Book" by Bruce Weinstein, a useful resource, particularly for non-chocolate applications. Keep me posted on your lolly-mold progress!

Roast Chicken, YES!: Recipe please.
Okay, if you insist: For the bird with the skin on, check my how-to video; it's useful for general tips and you can flavor to your fancy. Now if you're game to take it all off -- as in all of the skin -- try my Naked Chicken, which cooks in a fraction of the time of a skin-on bird. The naked version is also lower in fat, yet fuller in flavor because of the direct contact the meat gets with a spice rub. If nothing else, Naked Chicken is a fun theme for a dinner party.

The last word from Washington, D.C.:
For the person who inquired about freezing bread dough: YES, you can freeze it! I do it all the time with rolls -- make a big batch, freeze it in the pan, and when you want to cook fresh rolls all you have to do is pull it out and put it in the oven.

By Kim ODonnel |  February 27, 2008; 9:38 AM ET Chat Leftovers
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Oh wow, thanks so much for the naked chicken recipe. It looks fantastic and perfectly fits the bill for my Friday dinner date. Can't wait to make it! I usually put parsnips, sweet potatoes, onion etc in the bottom of the roasting pan so they cook in the juices - do you think that would be ok with the naked chicken too? If not, any suggestions for what to serve with the chicken? Thanks Kim!

Posted by: Baltimore | February 27, 2008 12:09 PM

Kim - the potato dish sounds great. Is it possible to substitute the green beans with another (or any other) vegetables? Thanks!

Posted by: WI | February 27, 2008 1:33 PM

A great pizza dough recipe is in the CPK book (not at hand); you make it the night before, which gives it tons of time to rise in your fridge.

My mom's recipe is also great, and she mixes the dough in her food processor (dough blade), and lets it rise a bit in there before using.

Giving dough time to rise, and kneading it really affects how sticky it is. If you use it right out of the machine, that might explain why it is too sticky--try kneading it for a while to see if that helps.

If not, I agree with Kim, use your own two hands--best tool for bread making ever invented!

Posted by: Beth | February 27, 2008 2:12 PM

WI: Are you referring to the polpettone di patate e fagiolini from the other day? If so, I think broccoli florets would do nicely here, and maybe, just maybe mushrooms.

Baltimore: Without the cushion of fat, you will have fewer drippings for those root veggies, fyi. I love Naked Chicken with mixed greens with some kind of fruit vinaigrette and a pot of rice, with or without cashews and/or coconut milk.

Posted by: Kim O'Donnel | February 27, 2008 2:14 PM

I can no longer do dough by hand (I'm the carpal tunnel person that asked about the weight of the enamel cast iron pans a while back) so I use my bread machine/mixer/food processor a lot. Yes, I've used all 3, depending on what i feel like. The bread machine is nice because it's a bit more contained.

One of my favorite recipes for dough is actually using the WP's recipe for bialy's that was printed in '94 and it makes 3 -12" nicely chewy pizzas. Make sure you use the dough setting and not the pizza setting if your machine has that choice though. We like it better if allowed that extra rising though. You might have to cut it back depending on the size of your machine, or let the machine mix it and let it rise elsewhere too. The dough can be frozen after rising, I just place into an oiled zip-top bag. (It's easier to fit into a freezer as a blob than a formed par-baked crust). I divide into 3 blobs and let sit for about 10 minutes or so and then form and prick with a fork, then par-bake for about 4 minutes at 450 on a pizza stone - basically until they are set. Place on a wire rack to cool a bit while the others bake. Top and bake for about 9-10 minutes until the edges and cheese are browned. Remove and let sit so the cheese doesn't do a Tarzan when you try to bite into it.

Posted by: JJ | February 28, 2008 6:02 AM

If the lollipop maker in question is in VA, they should check out Fran's Cake & Candy in Fairfax, which is a great resource and has racks of all kinds of different chocolate/candy molds. It's next to the Safeway on Willard near Old Town Fairfax.

Posted by: SER | February 28, 2008 12:56 PM

Too doughy sounds like you want a thinner crust, a hotter oven, and carefuly watched baking time. Since ovens and doughs vary, you must be the judge by keeping an eye on the pizza. Check the bottom of the pie while baking to be sure it just barely shows signs of burning. That means it's done in my home.

Posted by: Michael Safdiah | February 28, 2008 1:29 PM

I *always* schedule in time to freeze my bread dough (a no-frills flour/water/salt/yeast version), and let it thaw/rise on the countertop while I'm at work, before baking on a pizza stone. This produces large, irregular holes and a good doughy consistency, rather than a boring old fine-grain sponge (as I first discovered when I made a batch of dough and froze half). Must be the slow rising that does it!

Posted by: Sewidarity | February 29, 2008 11:45 PM

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