Category Archives: Chicken

Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma

chicken, onions and pitaI live in Ottawa, while my mom, brother and four sisters all live in Toronto. I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I would like to. Admittedly, we have become a little lazy about communicating with each other. These days, it’s mostly emails and texts and very few phone calls.

Last week I got an email from my brother. The subject line read, “Mom passed!!” My heart stopped. Logically I knew that my brother would never tell me that mom died in an email. But in the heat of the moment, I got nervous, and for good reason. My family and I have a bit of a sketchy history when it comes to communicating about death.

When I was in University, I came home one weekend for a visit. I asked my sister where Heidi, our dog, was. Apparently, my parents had put her down a month ago, and no one remembered to tell me. I was also the very last one of my siblings to know that my dad died, although to be fair, the signs were there.

You will be relieved to know that mom did not die. The body of the text read: “Mom passed her drivers test today. 2 more yrs of driving at least. Wish her Mazel Tov!” My mom is 82 years old. In  Ontario, after the age of 80, you must take a test every 2 years to ensure that you are still fit to drive. I fired off an email to my brother with the subject line, Don’t send an email with the heading “Mom passed”. It could be misinterpreted.” Then I promptly called my mom to say congrats and I love you. For the record, all my sisters had momentary heart failure and my brother properly apologized. 

The recipe for this chicken shawarma came to my attention via a text from my baby sister. She is always sending me links to different recipes she thinks I would like. She said she’d never read a recipe with so many positive reviews.

Recipes are like rumours. You must always consider the source. This recipe is from an impeccable source, Sam Sifton, food editor of The New York Times. If you don’t already subscribe to cooking.nytimes.comget on it right away! It is one of the best food websites. Their Mobile App is fantastic. Not only can you save and categorize their database of over 18,000 recipes, you can also save non-NYT recipes to your recipe box. I finally have a way to save all the online recipes I am inspired by, in one place. Genius! Subscribing to their daily newsletter is free, but they charge $5 US per month for the App.

Boneless skinless chicken thighs are bathed in a highly flavourful marinade.spice rubLet the thighs marinate for up to 12 hours in the fridge. If you’re short on time, even an hour will still produce spectacular results. ready to marinateAdd a quartered red onion to the sheet pan and bake the whole thing off for 30-40 minutes. ready for roastingIf you have time, mix up some great sides to go with the shawarma. I made an Israeli salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro and dressed it simply with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. I doctored up some store-bought hummus with a sprinkle of smoked paprika,  toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of good olive oil. I thinned some tahini with lemon juice and hot water for a drizzling sauce. I also added some charred corn slaw that I had leftover from last night’s dinner. Sour dills and hot sauce are more than welcome to join this party.all the fixins Stuff everything into a pita pocket or lay it flat and roll it up. Whichever way you choose to go, make sure you have plenty of napkins to catch all the drips. This is messy eating at its finest. stuffedflat to roll

Click here to print Oven Roasted Chicken Shawarma.

make your own 1

Spicy Chicken and Rice with Coconut-Cashew Crisp

Any time I can put a crisp topping on something and call it dinner is a great night in my house. ready to eat 1This dish is inspired by a a recipe I had seen in the Spring Issue of the LCBO Food and Drink Magazine. I switched up the protein from shrimp to chicken, and made my own piri piri sauce, because I couldn’t find any ready-made at the supermarket. peppersThe sauce uses a mix of sweet bell peppers combined with a hot peppers. Above is the selection of peppers available at my local supermarket. I used the fresno pepper, around the same heat level as a jalapeño. Serrano peppers are hotter and habaneros are super hot. Here is the Scoville scale, which rates the heat of various peppers. The heat in peppers resides in the seeds and white ribs of the pepper, so remove them if you want to temper the heat. If  pain-searing heat is more your jam, like my sister Bonnie and niece Kailey, then go ahead and use the entire pepper.

I marinated some diced boneless skinless chicken thighs in the sauce. While it was marinating, I cooked up a pot of jasmine rice and prepared the crisp topping. Unsweetened coconut, salted cashews and Rice Krispies make up this topping. Coconut oil is the glue that holds everything together. I love having breakfast for dinner.crisp topping ingredientsYou could make this in a large casserole dish, but individual mini serving dishes are more fun. Any oven-proof vessel that holds around 2 cups will work. I used my little cast iron pans. Once the rice is cooked, add some frozen peas and corn. No need to thaw. A bed of fragrant fluffy Jasmine rice creates the first layer.bottom layer of riceMarinated spice chicken goes down next. Pour in any extra sauce from the marinating bowl.middle layer of chickenFinish with a blanket of coconut, cashew crisp topping. ready for ovenHalf an hour in the oven is perfect to cook the chicken and crisp up the topping. Top with cilantro and a squirt of fresh lime.ready to eat 2

Click here to print recipe for Spicy Chicken and Rice with Coconut-Cashew Crisp.

dig in

 

Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs and Sweet Potatoes

dinner-for-2At some point over the holidays you know it’s time to rein it in. Eating a sleeve of Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joes (insiders tip: they are even better frozen!) with a chaser of prosecco and calling it dinner can’t go on for too many days in a row. I find it’s best to do it before January 1st. Everyone knows that New Years resolutions don’t last.

I’m not talking about a kale and quinoa salad or an almond milk-frozen banana- spinach smoothie level reining it in. That’s hard core and way too severe for late December. I’m just suggesting that you prepare a meal that contains some protein, complex carbs and perhaps something green, and that requires you to actually sit down and use a knife and fork to eat it.

This recipe was inspired by NYT Cooking editor, Sam Sifton. Every Wednesday he writes about cooking without a recipe. On October 12 2016, he suggested roasting chicken thighs with sweet potato fries and jalapeños. I have made it several times, tweaking the procedure and quantities so you don’t have to cook without a recipe!

This sheet-pan chicken dinner is the perfect way to ease you back into a healthy routine. Start with cutting some sweet potatoes into a julienne shoestring fries shape. A glug of olive oil and a judicious sprinkle of Kosher salt and coarse black pepper to coat the fries is all that is required for seasoning.cutting-sweet-potatoesafew-glugs-of-olive-oilSeason some boneless skinless chicken things with more salt and pepper and a light dusting of smoked paprika (mild or hot, your choice). ready-for-roastingRoast for about 40 minutes in a hot (425°F) oven. Squeeze some fresh time juice over the chicken, scatter with thinly sliced jalapeño peppers (pickled jalalpenos are really good too!) and some cilantro and call it dinner. One frozen dark chocolate covered peppermint joe joe is a sensible dessert. It’s too soon to go cold turkey. Save that for January 1st!roasted

Click here to print recipe for Chicken-Thighs-and-Sweet-Potato-Sheet-Pan-Dinner.

dinner-for-one

Za’atar Roast Chicken with Green Tahini Sauce

chicken all carved upYes, I admit it’s rather bold of me to suggest that you turn on the oven during this hellish heatwave, but stick with me here, and hopefully I’ll succeed in convincing you to do just that. It goes without saying that if you’re going to roast a chicken in the middle of July, it better be exceptional. This one comes from the master of Mid-East cuisine, Yotam Ottolenghi. Need I say more? This recipe was featured in the August 2014 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

Start with a heap of thinly sliced red onions. onions You could roast a whole roast chicken or chicken pieces, but I like to spatchcock the chicken for a more impressive presentation. Basically this just means removing the backbone to flatten the chicken for quicker cooking. You could ask the butcher to do it, or simply use kitchen shears and do it yourself. I have included detailed instructions in the recipe.cutting out backbone

Prepare a marinade of garlic, sumac, allspice, cinnamon, salt, pepper and olive oil and mix withsliced onions and lemons . Give the chicken at least a two hours to soak up all the flavour.marinating chickenAfter marinating, generously coat the chicken with za’atar, transfer to a roasting pan and arrange some of the onions and lemons on top of the chicken so that they will get gloriously brown. ready for ovenWhile the chicken is roasting, prepare the green tahini sauce. Have you noticed that tahini seems to be popping up everywhere lately? It’s the new darling of the culinary world, and for good reason. It is really quite versatile. Molly made a tahini sheet cake with cream cheese frosting. Ottolenghi made tahini and halvah brownies.  If you need more inspiration, check out these amazing desserts.

Parsley for verdant freshness and vibrant colour, lemon for it’s pucker, and garlic for it’s punch, all make good playmates for tahini.Tahini Parsley dressingEpicurious.com suggested adding some toasted pita to this recipe. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it, along with the onions and lemons to a baking sheet. Toss some toasted pita bread in all those delicious pan juices. Place the chicken, lemons and onions back on top of the pita in the roasting pan and broil it until the skin gets crispy brown. pitaHeap it onto a serving platter, top with toasted pine nuts and serve the sauce on the side. Ready to eat 1

Click here to print recipe for Za’atar Roast Chicken with Green Tahini Sauce .

Ready to eat 2

Grilled Chicken and Nectarine Skewers with Peanut Coconut Sauce

on blue platterSomehow, when you put dinner on a skewer it just seems more festive. Local peach and nectarine season is right around the corner, so bookmark this recipe and celebrate the season.

The combination of peanut butter and coconut milk could skew a bit sweet and heavy, but lime juice and jalapeño provide the perfect balance. Cilantro adds a fresh-grassy herbal note, but  cilantro haters could certainly substitute Italian parsley. The marinade also includes Greek yogurt. If you keep kosher or just want a dairy-free marinade, I have discovered a great yogurt alternative – So Delicious Dairy-Free Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt. It provides the tanginess of yogurt without the dairy. Surprisingly, it does not taste overwhelmingly of coconut. peanut coconut sauceI used boneless skinless chicken thighs, as they are almost impossible to overcook. Don’t forget to soak the wooden skewers so they don’t burn. making skewersgrillingFor a casual dinner, wrap some warm pita around the skewer, pull the wooden stick out and to make a wrap. Serve extra sauce, lime, chopped peanuts and cilantro on the side. skewers on pita

Click here to print recipe for Grilled Chicken and Nectarine Skewers with Coconut –Peanut Sauce.

2 skewers