Chimichurri: It’s What’s for Dinner

I thought I’d share a few recipes with you today to maybe get us talking about food and cooking again?  I love those boxes from Hello, Fresh, but dang if our schedules can get synced!  Every week that I have time to cook and want a box, they have recipes that feature things I don’t eat, like broccoli and salmon.  Yuuuuuuuuuuuck.   When they have cool looking recipes, I am traveling or busy and can’t order the box.

I do, however, keep an eye on their recipes.  It’s always an option to print them out and make them at home, which is what I’m going to do with my latest craving, and that’s for something with chimichurri sauce.

If you have never eaten chimichurri sauce, you don’t know what you are missing!  It is so flavorful, and super easy to make.  It’s a South American condiment with a parsley or cilantro base.  Some recipes call for both parsley and cilantro.  From there, recipes vary regarding ingredients.  I’ve seen recipes that include garlic, chili peppers, cumin and shallots.  Then you need a liquid (usually vinegar) and an oil to make it all blend together.  You just put the ingredients in a food processor and whirl them into this amazing sauce that is bursting with a fresh taste and vibrancy you just don’t get anywhere else.

For a great chimichurri sauce recipe, look to Bon Apetit Magazine by clicking here.

You can use chimichurri on steak, chicken, and even on vegetarian dishes if you’re not a meat fan.   Here are two recipes from Hello, Fresh that are particularly appealing and that I’ll be making in the next few days.

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Chicken & Nectarine Panzanella… YUM!

downloadAs you know, I subscribe to Hello Fresh.  It’s a meal service that’s just amazing in terms of great recipes and fresh ingredients.  Last week they sent a recipe that I loved so much I want to share it with you here.

This is a wonderful salad that may not sound that appetizing on the surface but when you put all the flavors and textures together?  Oh WOW is it something special!  Even the raw zucchini ribbons are delicious and I’m not a big zucchini fan.  My only advice is don’t skip any of the ingredients, because they all go so well together.  Plus it’s chock full vitamins, minerals, fiber, and all kinds of good things your body needs.  Enjoy and let me know what you think!

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Sexy Chicken Revisited: Try it Today!

sexychicken-736508Almost a year ago I wrote about a recipe I affectionately call “Sexy Chicken.”  It’s a Mario Batali recipe and I simply love it.  Everyone I’ve served it to loves it, too, and raves about how flavorful it is.   You can view it by clicking here.  If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s a GREAT Sunday dinner dish and very easy to make.  I just wanted to follow up with a few additional pointers.

I made it last night and used skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs and it was FAR better than when I’ve made it using the boneless skinless thighs.  My son commented on how good it was.  The chicken skin and bone add a depth of flavor you’re just not going to get with boneless chicken filets.

The recipe in the Chew’s cookbook calls for “yellow” onions.  I have made it with those, and I have made it with Vidalia sweet onions.  Both varieties are delicious, so use what you have.  I just would not recommend using red onions, as those are very strong and will also turn your dish sort of a putrid purple color.

I couldn’t find any pomegranate seeds in my grocery store, since those fruits are out of season.  I substituted pomegranate infused dried cranberries and it was good!  Not as good as fresh pom seeds but still gave it that little sweet blast of flavor that makes this dish so delicious.

I recommend serving it with a nice fluffy rice.  Trader Joe’s has a brown rice medley that contains brown rice, black rice, and radish seeds.  I made that with chicken stock instead of plain water and salted it liberally.  It was a nice combination with the savory chicken.

Finally, if you’re looking for saffron, I suggest Amazon.  They have a 5 gram container for about $30, and that’s a LOT of saffron.  It’s much cheaper to buy it that way than it is to buy it in the grocery store.  Trader Joe’s also has saffron at a reasonable price.  Do NOT try to make this dish without saffron!  I know it’s expensive but a little goes a long way and it has a unique flavor that you’re going to want.

Now get in that kitchen and make some sexy chicken!

 

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Sexier Chicken….

I ended up with a bunch of boneless chicken thighs that needed to be cooked before I leave town.  I also needed to make my son some meals to eat in my absence.  We had so much fun last week eating “Sexy Chicken.”  And thus comes my inspiration for “Sexier Chicken.”

I have a wonderful book called The Flavor Bible.  It explains which flavors go well with other flavors.  I used it for inspiration and came up with this little ditty that has turned out quite delicious…

  • 10 to 12 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • Ancho chili powder
  • Kosher salt and ground back pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Liberally season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Ancho chili powder is not really “hot” so seriously, be LIBERAL with this!

Bring 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil up to medium high heat in a 12″ skillet then sear the chicken thighs 4 or 5 at a time.  Sear thoroughly just until golden brown on both sides.  Remove the

Searing the thighs after a liberal application of salt, pepper and ancho chile powder.

Searing the thighs after a liberal application of salt, pepper and ancho chile powder.

chicken thighs and set aside on a plate.  Be sure to save the juices that collect on the plate and don’t throw them away!

Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, toast until fragrant one teaspoon each of:

  • whole cumin seed
  • whole coriander seed
  • whole fennel seed
Toast whole spices (cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds).

Toast whole spices (cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds).

Then grind these toasted seeds up with a mortar and pestle and set aside.

Prepare the following vegetables:

  • 3 medium yellow onions, cut into very thin slivers
  • One HEAD of garlic… peel then finely mince all the cloves
  • 2 cups of diced tomatoes with juice.  (this is a great use for those tomatoes that have gotten a little “too ripe”)

In a dutch oven, add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, heat it to medium-high heat and then sautee the onions with a generous sprinkling of kosher salt.  Keep stirring the onions every minute or two, but allow them to brown and carmelize.  Once the onions are nice and tender (after about 8 to 10 minutes of cooking), add the garlic and stir rapidly for one minute, taking care not to let the garlic scorch or burn.  Then add

  • one cup of chicken stock
  • the ground up toasted spices made previously
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron

NOW…..

Put the chicken and any reserved juices in the dutch oven, spooning the onions, garlic and broth over the thighs as you add them.  “Stuff” each thigh down in the mixture so it gets coated with broth.  Once all the chicken is in the pot, put

The concoction just after tomatoes are added.

The concoction just after tomatoes are added.

all the tomatoes on top, reduce the heat to low, and cover with a lid.  Let the chicken simmer for about 15 minutes, then rearrange the pieces to make sure all are evenly coated with the broth and the tomatoes are distributed evenly throughout the mixture.  Taste, and add salt as needed.  Simmer for another 15 minutes.  Taste, and season with salt again if needed.  Then add in:

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro

Stir in the cilantro, and then serve the chicken, sprinkling with additional fresh cilantro for garnish.  Another lovely garnish would be pomegranate seeds.  With the tomatoes and the broth that develops in this pot you could easily serve this over rice or pasta, too.

The finished product minus the garnish.  It isn't pretty in the picture but it sure was good!!!!!

The finished product minus the garnish. It isn’t pretty in the picture but it sure was good!!!!!

I wish I’d had enough cilantro left to garnish my dish…. but I didn’t.  Oh well, it was still delicious!!!!

 

 

Sexy Chicken

Last night I made a dish that was so easy to make and delicious that I have to share it and give credit to its creator, Mario Batali.  batali

I don’t watch much tv, but I do enjoy watching “The Chew” on ABC.   It’s a great show for food inspiration, and, they have published three cookbooks so far.  Some of their recipes don’t appeal to me because they are way too high in carbs and my ass is wide enough as it is.  But, some of the savory dishes they make are actually quite healthy and also delicious.  From their first book, The Chew.  Food.  Life.  Fun.  I have found a real gem called “Mom’s Chicken with Saffron, Olives and Onions.”

Surely there had to be a better name for it?  I’m assigning one:  Sexy Chicken.  It’s soooo good that if you aren’t having sex you can at least eat the chicken and feel satisfied.  As with all things, I have tweaked it to suit myself.  My modifications are shown in parentheses.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Fryer Chicken cut into serving pieces (I used 8 large boneless skinless chicken thights)
  • Salt and Cayenne
  • 2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Saffron
  • 8 cup Julienne Onions  (4 cups will do)
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 cup Pitted Moroccan Olives (I used castelvetrano olives)
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Stock (with skinless chicken you’ll need a cup)
  • (I added 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts)
  • 3 tablespoon Finely Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 Pomegranate separated into seeds
  • 1 Scallion (chopped)

Steps

  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and cayenne.
  • In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown, cooking for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate as it is cooked.  
  • Add the flour the saffron and the onions. Season again with salt and cayenne. Stirring constantly, wilt and brown the onions, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned particles, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken pieces, the bay leaves and the olives.  Continue stirring, again scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned particles, for about 15 minutes.
  • Add the stock, cover, and reduce the heat to medium. Stir occasionally and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. 
  • Finish with chopped cilantro, scallions, (pine nuts), and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

I opened the meal with a salad of arugula, cucumber and tomato dressed with a homemade vinaigrette.  Then served the chicken (2 thighs per person) with a tricolor quinoa.

Note….quinoa is one of those things that can either taste like dirt from the garden or really good.  If you want it to be really good prepare it with a good chicken stock instead of plain water, and, drizzle with good olive oil and stir well before serving.  If you can stand the carbs I would also consider serving this with a side of pasta drizzled with good olive oil and sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese.

Now go make yourself some sexy chicken, but first take a look at two more posts about it.  I made some modifications and learned some lessons that I’d like to share!

Post #1 about Sexy Chicken
Post #2 about Sexy Chicken