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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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!!

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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

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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…

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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

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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.

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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.

 

 

Chicken · Main Courses

Chicken Parmesan

Even though this is a classic dish, much loved by seemingly everyone in the food industry,  I had never tasted Chicken Parm until last night.   Based on its appearance alone, never was I tempted to order it in restaurants.  Seeing plates of breaded chicken swimming in tomato sauce flying past our table did little to pique my interest in trying it.

The other day,  when a Chicken Parm recipe showed up in my news feed, I finally decided to see what all the fuss is about and actually took the time to read it.   As a bonus, the video included in the link made it look pretty easy to put together.  It seemed the perfect dish to serve to friends last night.

Be warned, it will take the full 1 hour and 40 minutes, but the sauce and breading can be done before hand.  So, if you want to spend time with your guests, instead of hiding behind your stove, make the sauce and bread the breasts in advance.  Then, about half an hour they arrive, preheat your oven, warm up that sauce and start frying the breasts.  You will be popping them into the oven just as your doorbell rings.  Let it bake while you enjoy appy’s with your friends.  Once it comes out of  the oven it can rest for up to half an hour before serving.

This recipe serves 6 with enough sauce for everyone.

And the moral to this story is not to judge a dish on its appearance alone.

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The Sauce

2 Tablespoons oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

One 6 oz can tomato sauce

1/4 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 1/2 teaspoons sugar

One 4-inch Parmesan rind (or 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan)

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

The Chicken Parmesan

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 cup flour

3 eggs, beaten

6 medium chicken breasts (boneless & skinless)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 Tablespoons (plus more) canola oil

12 thin slices mozzarella

500 grams spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

 

Make the tomato sauce:

In a medium saucepan heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, cook 5 minutes, then add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened,  about 8 to 10 minutes more.

Add the tomatoes, basil, vinegar, sugar and Parmesan rind.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer,  stirring occasionally and breaking up whole tomatoes with back of spoon, until slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.

Remove from heat, discard the Parmesan rind and, using an immersion blender,  blend the sauce until mostly smooth but still retaining some texture.  (See Cooks Notes 1 )

Season with salt and pepper to taste.   (See Cooks Notes 2 )

 

Make the Chicken Parmesan

In a medium bowl, whisk together the panko bread crumbs with 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan and the dried oregano.

Place the flour on another plate and the beaten eggs in yet another shallow dish (like a pie plate).   Line up the 3 dishes next to each other in this order:

flour

eggs

panko/parmesan mixture.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. One by one,  dredge the chicken breasts in flour, followed by egg and then panko, making sure to completely coat each breast.  Press a little bit to be sure the coating sticks.  Place chicken breasts flat on a plate until ready to fry.  (See Cooks Notes 3 )

Preheat the oven to 375° and spread half of the tomato sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, then set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.   Cook the chicken breasts, turning once, until golden brown, 5 – 6  minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to the prepared pan, nestling them into the tomato sauce. Spoon the remaining half of the tomato sauce over the middle of each breast.  DO NOT  completely cover all of the breasts with tomato sauce.  Put 2 slices of mozzarella over the sauce on each breast and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top.

Bake until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size.  If you have an oven-safe thermometer, now is a great time to use it.

Garnish with basil and serve over plain spaghetti tossed with a little olive oil.

Cooks Notes:

  1. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let mixture cool and puree in food processor or blender
  2.  Sauce can be made 3 days in advance, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use.  Rewarm sauce before continuing.
  3. I breaded the breasts 2 hours in advance, covered loosely with plastic and refrigerated.  Maybe it will work if it sits even longer, but the breadcrumbs might get too soggy.  If anyone tries, let me know.

 

Chicken · Main Courses

Conquering Dinner for 1

 

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Piri Piri Chicken Thighs with Peanut Satay and Fried Plantain

Kevin has been away these past few days, and his absence has reminded that  while I love to cook, I don’t so much like cooking for 1.    Mostly, because it seems like a whole lot of effort for just me.   A psychologist may want to delve deeper into this thought; perhaps I feel I am unworthy of a healthy home cooked meal, but the reality is that I  enjoy the temporary freedom from meal planning and the need to have something more substantial than a sandwich or bowl of noodles on the table every night.

Which is why, in the past 2 weeks I have eaten Ramen Noodles for dinner at least 3 times!  Yikes, I do love ramen,  but I reluctantly had to admit last night that I had eaten too much of it for my own good.

So, I took a break from sloth and convenience, and actually cooked dinner for one.    It is obvious that my plating needs work, but aside from its lonely appearance on the plate, my one-pan dinner was extremely satisfying.

Peri Peri Chicken Thighs with Peanut-Lime Sauce and Fried Plantain

1 Tablespoon cooking oil, plus more for frying the plantains

4 chicken thighs

1 teaspoon Peri Peri spice blend (or more to taste, see cooks notes)

2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter

1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice ( from about 1 large or 3 Mexican limes)

2 Tablespoons water

1 green plantain, cut into 1″ slices

Sour cream to top the fried plantains

sliced radishes

Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat.  Rinse and pat chicken dry with paper towel.  Sprinkle with Peri Peri spice on both sides and put in pan, skin side down.  Cook 15 minutes, then turn chicken over.   Reduce heat to low and cook about 20 minutes more until thermometer inserted into centre of thigh reads 175.  Cooking time will vary, depending on size of the thighs.  Remove from pan to plate and tent with foil.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix peanut butter, lime juice and water together.  Mixture will seize at first, keep stirring until it becomes liquid and creamy again.  Add more water  by teaspoons if mixture it too thick.  It should be runny, but not soupy.  Set aside.

Put a paper towel on a clean plate and set aside.  Add more oil to pan to depth of 1/2 inch and heat over medium heat until shiny, but not smoking.   Using tongs, carefully place plantain slices flat in the oil.  Fry about 2 minutes and carefully turn over and cook 2 minutes more to brown the other side.   Remove from oil to paper towel lined plate.

Reduce heat under oil to low while you do this next step, and   work quickly.   Place the fried plantain pieces between 2 sheets of waxed paper and using a meat mallet or the flat bottom of a glass press gently to flatten each piece to a thickness of about  1/3 inch.  (Be gentle, you want to just squish them, so they will still be soft and chewy in the inside, not flatten them beyond recognition. )

Increase heat under oil, until it shimmers again, and with the tongs, gently place each flattened plantain in the oil and re-fry for about 3 minutes, until they are golden.   Remove from oil, back onto paper towel lined plate.

Put a smear of peanut butter sauce on the place, add chicken and plantains, some radishes or other fresh veggie on the side, a little sour cream for the plantains and you have a dinner for 1 ready in under an hour.

Bonus:  for me, the leftover chicken thighs are going into a chicken salad for tomorrow nights dinner.

COOKS NOTES  – depending on the brand of Peri Peri you have, and your personal taste, the amount you use will vary.  I used 1 teaspoon of Silk Road Inferno Peri Peri blend, for all 4 thighs and found it very tame so I sprinkled more onto the chicken after it was cooked.  Remember, you can always add spice, but you cant always take it out.