Chicken · Main Courses

Classic Fried Chicken

Is there anything better?  We all know this isn’t the healthiest meal, which is why we don’t eat it every day.  Or even every month.   So, when you do decide to indulge your craving for fried chicken, why waste your calories on sorta okay chicken from the local take out joint when you can create something so much better in your own kitchen?

I have been using this recipe since the lovely people at Bon Appetit magazine published it in 2012.  I have included their instructions for deep frying in a pan, but I recommend you use your deep fryer instead.  It is a much safer method to get the same result.

Start this a day in advance to let the spice rub work its magic.

Classic Fried Chicken

Classic Fried Chicken

1  3 – 4-lb. chicken, cut into 10 pieces, backbone and wing tips removed
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 cup water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Canola or peanut oil (for frying)
Place chicken pieces in non-reactive bowl.
Combine next 6 ingredients well and rub all over chicken parts.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove chicken from fridge and let sit at room temperature 1 hour.
Whisk buttermilk, egg and water in medium bowl.
Whisk flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper in another large bowl or  baking dish.
Following manufacturers instruction, fill and preheat your deep fryer to 350F.
If you do not have a deep fryer, pour oil into 12″ cast iron or other heavy deep sided skillet to a depth of 3/4″.  (Be careful not overfill.  The level of the oil will rise when the chicken is added.) Prop deep -fry thermometer in oil so that bulb is submerged.  Gently heat over medium – high heat until thermometer registers 350F.  Keep a lid and a box of baking soda handy in the event of any splashes

Working with 1 piece at a time (use 1 hand for wet ingredients and the other for dry ingredients), dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge in flour mixture; tap against bowl to shake off excess.

Place up to 5 pieces of chicken in the oil; whatever is a comfortable fit. Fry chicken, turning with tongs every 1–2 minutes and adjusting heat to maintain a steady temperature of 300°–325°, until skin is deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165°, about 10 minutes for wings and 12 minutes for thighs, legs, and breasts.

Using tongs, remove chicken from skillet, allowing excess oil to drip back into skillet; transfer chicken to prepared rack.

Repeat with remaining chicken pieces; let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving


Chicken · Main Courses · Pasta

One-Pot Chicken Penne in Tequila Tomato Sauce

The alcohol in the tequila cooks off, but the flavour remains, adding a nice depth to this simple sauce.

You might be interested to know this is my own creation.  Because of that, I did some research as to what a serving of pasta actually is.  Answers were all over the map from as little as 60 grams all the way up to 113 grams of dried pasta.   I guess the correct answer to what is a serving is “how hungry are you?”

Because of package sizing, I allow 125 grams per person.  If it is just the two of us for dinner, I know there will be enough leftovers for tomorrows lunch.  If I am cooking for a crowd, this guarantees I will not run short of the main course.  My grandmother was not Italian, but she would have died of embarrassment if guests were ever able to reach the bottom of a serving bowl.   I learned from the best.

So, this will serve 2 people, with enough left over for someones lunch the next day.

Ready in 45 minutes or less.


One-Pot Chicken Penne

in Tequila Tomato Sauce

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1   6 oz chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes

salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons tequila reposada (the gold stuff)

250 grams penne

3 cups water

14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon butter

chopped parsley, for garnish

Parmesan cheese for serving

Lightly season the cubes of chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat canola oil over medium-high heat in large deep sided pan and add onion, and cook until onion becomes translucent and begins to brown.  Add garlic and cut chicken breast.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink.  About 3 minutes.  Chicken may not be completely cooked thru at this point.  Transfer contents of pan into bowl and set aside.

Add tequila to pan and stir to pick up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Tequila will reduce by about half after about 30 seconds.

Add 3 cups of water to tequila in the pan, then add your pasta.  Stir.  Increase heat to high, cover and bring to boil.  Watch carefully.  You don’t want this to boil over.

Once boiling remove the lid and stir frequently to be sure pasta cooks evenly and to prevent sticking.

At the 8 minute mark, when the pasta is about halfway cooked thru, add the diced tomatoes and their juices along with the chicken breast & onions.  Continue to cook, stirring often until pasta is cooked thru.

Stir in the butter, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Sprinkle parsley over top and serve with parmesean cheese on the side.




Chicken · Main Courses

Grilled Chicken & Grape Skewers

You can marinate the chicken for as little as 4 hours, but you will get more flavour with a 24 hour marinade.

If using wooden skewers, you can assemble the skewers and marinate the whole thing over night in the fridge.

If using metal skewers, marinate the ingredients without the skewers.  Then skewer just before cooking .

Serve with Lemony Potatoes and Greek Salad and Na’an bread for a bit of Mediterranean  feel, or keep things simple and serve with a side salad and white rice.


Grilled Chicken & Grape Skewers

12 wooden skewers or 12 metal skewers

1/4 cup oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon Chili flakes

1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely minced

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes

2 cups red or green seedless grapes

1 red pepper, cut into 2″ cubes

1/2 red onion, cut in half lengthwise , layers separated

salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Combine first 6 ingredients in a non-reactive medium size bowl and mix well.   Add chicken and toss to combine.   Cover with plastic wrap and marinate over night, or at least 4 hours.

Thread skewers alternating chicken, with  grapes, red peppers and onion until all ingredients have been used.  you should end up with about 12 skewers.

Season with salt and pepper.

Grill turning occasionally until chicken is cooked thru about 5 – 8 minutes.

Arrange on serving platter and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.





Chicken · Soups and Stews

Mexican-style Corn & Chicken Soup

In Alberta, corn from Taber  has hit the markets!   A sure sign that fall is on its way.

The heat of the summer has already given way to cooler days and chilly nights.  As much as we hate to see summer go (yes, even down here, I mourn the passing of the Alberta summer), the upside is all that great corn that is now available.

This recipe lets you take advantage of that golden goodness while you warm yourself up with a hot bowl of soup.

After you have cut the kernels off of their cobs, don’t forget to scrape the back of a knife over the cob to extract as much juice (and flavour) as possible from it.   Be sure to hold it over the same bowl that your corn is in while you do this.

This will serve 4 and even with all the dicing, you will have dinner on the table in under an hour.  Win-Win!!


Chicken Corn Soup

4 ears corn (or 3 cups frozen, thawed)

2 Tablespoons canola oil

2 chicken breasts, cut into 1′ pieces (about 12 oz)

1 poblano chile, stem and seeds removed, cut into 1/4″ dice

1/2 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into 1/4″ dice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 Tablespoon Chile in Adobo, minced and mashed into a paste (optional)

1 white onion, diced

salt and pepper

4 cups chicken stock , homemade or purchased

14 oz can diced tomatoes

1 fresh tomato, finely diced for garnish

2 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish

crushed tortilla chips for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot (4 litres) over medium high heat.  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to oil in pot.  Cook. stirring just until chicken is no longer pink, about 3 minutes.  Add the poblano, red pepper, Chile in adobo, onion, cumin and coriander and cook, stirring until onion is soft and starting to brown – about 6 minutes.

Add the corn, and any milk you scraped from the cobs, the tomatoes and the chicken stock to the pot.  Stir well and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 5 minutes.   Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls.  Top each bowl with crushed tortilla chips, diced tomatoes and sliced scallions.



Chicken · Main Courses

Black Pepper Chicken


I like this recipe because, its easy to put together, and with rice, its  a complete meal.  Its a great weeknight dish because it can be ready in the time it takes to cook the rice.

The veggies can be changed to match the season, or whatever you have on hand.  You can add Bok Choy or Napa Cabbage, radishes, those little baby corns… use your imagination.   If you don’t have chicken thighs, sub in a couple of chicken breasts.

Best of all,  you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen.

The one exception might be Hoisin sauce, but these days, that can be found nearly everywhere, even here in Mexico, so its not like you will have to tromp all over town looking for it.  If you are not familiar with its flavour, give it a try.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised and will find all sorts of dishes to try it in.  Like that Pho you have been dying to try…


Black Pepper Chicken


For the Sauce

1/4 cup water

Pinch of chicken OXO or 1/4 bullion cube

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons Hoisin sauce

1 Tablespoon honey

Mix all above ingredients together in small bowl and set aside.

The Rest of the Dish

1 -2 Tablespoons canola or peanut oil

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2″ strips

2 carrots, sliced into rounds 1/8″ thick

1 medium onion, quartered, then each quarter cut in half lengthwise

4 mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon peeled fresh ginger, minced

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

salt to taste

1 green onion, thinly sliced, for garnish

Sesame seeds, for garnish

Cooked white rice

Heat wok over medium- high heat until hot. 

Lightly season chicken thighs with salt, add to wok and stir-fry until almost cooked thru.  About 4 minutes.

Add the carrots,  stir fry for 1 minute.  Add the other 1 Tablespoon of oil, if needed.

Toss in the onion, mushrooms, garlic, ginger and black pepper and stir fry another minute or 2, until onion begins to soften and mushrooms just begin to release their juices. 

Add that cornstarch mixture you set aside earlier and stir until thickened and stir fry ingredients are coated. 

Remove to serving bowl, garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and serve with rice.

Serves 4






Chicken · Main Courses

Chipotle-Lime Chicken

In this dish, the chipotles are quite mild, adding just the tiniest amount of heat.   To those of you who might pass on this dish because its too spicy… think again.  I think it will surprise you.

Serves 4 -6

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Anchovy Dressing, Grilled Lemony Potatoes, Chipotle Lime Chicken Thighs


Chipotle-Lime Chicken

1/4 cup lime juice – from about 2 limes

1/4 cup canola oil

2 Tablespoons chipotles in adobo, finely chopped and mashed into a paste

6 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in

salt and pepper

2 teaspoons honey

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.

Stir together lime juice, oil and chipotles.  Place chicken thighs and 1/4 cup of marinade into a ziplock bag.  Squish out as much air as possible, seal bag and massage to be sure marinade is evenly coating all the pieces.

Let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes, while you pre-heat your gas grill to 350F.

To the marinade left in the bowl, add the honey and stir until dissolved.  Set aside.

Lightly oil grill and place chicken, skin side down, over direct heat.  Close lid and cook for about 3 minutes, just until chicken releases from grill.  Discard marinade in bag.

Turn heat off of one side of the grill and move the thighs over to that side.  Grill, turning occasionally until cooked through, about 30 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs.

Just before removing thighs from grill, brush both sides with some of the reserved sauce, and continue to grill, turning once to set the glaze.

Remove from heat, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes.  Serve with remaining sauce.


Inspiration for this from Gourmet Grilling, Summer 2011

Chicken · Main Courses · Uncategorized

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Confit and Lemon

Don’t let the long fancy name stop you from trying this one.  Garlic confit is nothing more than garlic cloves simmered in oil.   Keep the leftover oil to drizzle over the finished dish, onto your next pizza or use it to make a killer vinaigrette for your side salad.

If you don’t have preserved lemons, sprinkle the finished dish with lemon zest just before serving.    If you do have preserved lemons already in your fridge, this dish is a reason to make some more.

We like this with some couscous or quinoa and some green beans on the side

This will serve 4.


Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Confit and Lemons

10 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

8 chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry

salt & pepper

1 cup chicken stock

2 Tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

1/4 Preserved Lemon peel flesh removed, peel finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 small lemon

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley or mixed herbs

Make the garlic confit:  heat garlic and oil in small pan over low heat until garlic begins to turn brown and is tender.  10 – 15 minutes.  Leave in pan and let cool.   You can do this a day or 2 ahead if you want.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Using 2 large skillets, over medium high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil you poached the garlic in each pan.  Cook chicken skin side down until skin is golden, about 5 minutes.  DO NOT TURN.   Leave chicken skin side down and transfer pans to oven and bake 20 – 25 minutes, until thermometer inserted into fleshy part of thigh registers 165F.

Remove thighs from pans to platter, keeping skin side up.   Keep warm.  Remove garlic cloves from oil and roughly chop or smash.

Bring chicken stock to boil in one of the pans, stirring to scrape  up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.    Reduce broth to about 2/3 cup.  Whisking constantly, add butter 1 piece at a time until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  About 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in preserved lemon, lemon juice, the chopped garlic and all but 1 Tablespoon of the herbs.

Pour sauce onto platter, arrange chicken thighs over top, skin side up, and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon herbs for garnish.

Serve immediately.

Credit for this goes to Bon Appetit, November 2017.  No link to the original as it doesn’t seem to be on their site.