Tag Archives: Chicken Thighs

Braised Pomegranate Chicken with Israeli Couscous

Apologies to all who tried to access my blog over the last few days and were unable to connect. I’ve had some technological issues, something about exceeding the allowable CPU’s and plugins not properly updated. Sadly, my skill-set does not extend to understanding the issues much less fixing them. I turned my problem over to the talented Hillary Little, and put my talents to work on problems I can solve.

I spent the better part of the week perfecting pomegranate braised chicken. I already have one pomegranate chicken recipe on the blog, and while it’s very delicious, it’s been in my weekly dinner rotation for over 7 years now and I’m bored with it. The chicken is braised in a tomato based sauce, enhanced with some pomegranate molasses. I really wanted a more vibrant, pronounced pomegranate flavour.

In my quest to perfect pomegranate chicken, I made it several times this week. In round one, I loaded up on pomegranate molasses in the braising liquid. The finished sauce was way too bitter. Strike one. I also had the brilliant idea of making it a one pan dish and added the uncooked Israeli couscous to the pan, with the browned chicken and braising liquid.  By the time the chicken was done, the couscous was too mushy. Strike two.

In round three, I used less pomegranate molasses and added some white wine and chicken stock to round out the braising liquid. It was better than round one, but the pomegranate flavour was really muted. Strike three.

A quick web search revealed an epicurious.com recipe that cleverly used pomegranate juice as the braising liquid. Wish I’d thought of that! As the chicken braisedin the oven, the juice reduced down to a thick, rich, sweet-tart sauce. Exactly what I was trying to achieve.

I started with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. I really wanted the extra flavour that braising on the bone would bring. Season the chicken liberally with salt and paprika and put it in the skillet on high heat, skin side down. Leave it alone for a good 5-8 minutes to give it a chance to really get brown. There’s flavour in the brown. 
Remove the chicken and pour off some of that rendered fat. Saute the onions until light brown. Cumin and cinnamon add great depth of flavour and ground pistachios add body and texture to the sauce.
 I used a combination of pomegranate juiceand chicken stock for the braising liquid. Vegetable stock or water would also be fine. 
Israeli couscous is the perfect starch to sop up all that braising liquid. I added tons of fresh mint and Italian parsley to give it a lively herbal note. Toasted chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds added crunch. A squirt of lemon juice and big glug of extra virgin olive oil brought it all together.

Click here to print recipe for Braised Pomegranate-Pistachio Chicken Thighs.

Click here to print recipe for Israeli Couscous with Pomegranate and Pistachio.

 

 

 

 

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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

Spring Chicken

ready to eat When spring finally arrives, most people don’t normally turn to braising as a cooking method. But you guys don’t read this blog because I’m like most people. I promise I will hustle out to the BBQ very soon, but this braised spring chicken recipe really deserves your attention now. Mindy Fox created this recipe for epicurious.com. I adapted it slightly.

I decided on using boneless skinless thighs for this to hasten the cooking time. Feel free to use bone-in thighs or breasts if that’s how you roll. Just promise me you won’t select boneless breasts. They are not meant for braising. I treated the thighs to a generous seasoning of ground fennel seeds, paprika, salt and pepper.seasoning chickenAfter an initial browning, the thighs are simmered gently in white wine and chicken stock. The proper technique is to have the chicken pieces only halfway submerged in the braising liquid. Don’t drown them.

Leeks are thinly sliced and slowly sautéed until meltingly tender. Fat spears of asparagus and green peas pretty much shout “SPRING”. I used frozen peas because fresh are still a few weeks away for us here in Ottawa. Mini yellow, red and purple potatoes seemed like a good idea so I invited them to this spring fête as well!slicing leeksThe braising liquid gets reduced and treated to a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Scatter chopped dill and lemon zest over everything and celebrate spring.pouring on sauce 625 sq

Click here to print recipe for Spring Chicken.

ready to eat 2

Chicken Thighs with Sicilian Cauliflower

thighs and cauliflower on blue oval platter 625 sqGood chicken recipes are like men. There are lots of available ones out there, but very few great ones. I make chicken for dinner at least twice a week and have aquired several favourite standbys: Pomegranate ChickenChipotle Lime ChickenChicken Skewers with Ginger Coconut Sauce, and Chicken Tortilla Soup. But a girl needs something new every once in a while to spice things up.dinner for 1 with wine 2So when I saw Michael Symon making this tofu dish on The Chew a few weeks ago, I loved the citrus flavours of the marinade, but not being a tofu lover, my mind instantly went to boneless chicken thighs. I made a few other adaptations to his recipe and I think I’ve found a new weekday favourite. sicilian cauliflowerPound the boneless thighs to about 1/4 inch thick so that they will cook more quickly.flattening thighsThe marinade contains citrus juice and zest (I used clementines and lemon), red pepper flakes, cumin, honey and olive oil. chicken marinadeOne of the most brilliant things about this recipe is that you only have to dirty one pan. The cauliflower, chicken and sauce all get made in the same skillet. The other genius thing is that the recipe calls for multi-tasking. You cook the cauliflower while the chicken is marinating. No wasted time.

I am an eminently practical person and I love accomplishing as much as possible in the shortest amount of time available. Like when I go to the hairdresser to get my hair coloured, I have to sit for 30 minutes after the colour is applied. So while I am waiting for my grey hair to disappear, I get a manicure or pedicure and accomplish two things at the same time. I suggested to my dentist that he offer pedicures while you get your teeth cleaned. Imagine the extra revenue, I suggested, but he just looked at me like I was crazy. Clearly multi-tasking is not for everyone.

Once the cauliflower is finished browning in the skillet, the chicken gets a light coating of rice flour and is shallow fried to make it really crispy. When chicken is done, remove it from the pan and make the sauce. No need to clean the pan, all those little browned bits on the bottom of the pan will make your sauce extra delicious. White wine, shallots, garlic, golden raisins and capers combine to make a zesty Sicilian inspired sauce.

Garnish with toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley this is destined to become a new dinnertime favourite. Any leftover chicken makes a fantastic cold salad the next day with avocados and tomatoes.dinner for 2

Click here to print recipe for Chicken Thigh Cutlets with Sicilian Cauliflower.

dinner for 1 with wine

 

Three Pea Coconut Rice and Chicken

in pan 625 sq 1Just did a quick check and discovered that coconut has been featured 15 times on my blog.  To  the coconut haters out there, “I’m sorry”, and to the rest of you lovely folks I say, “you’re welcome”.

When I saw this dish on serious eats last month I bookmarked it immediately. This recipe checked all the boxes for me; one pot complete dinner, flavourful moist chicken thighs, coconut milk and jasmine rice. Since we are trying to limit our intake of white carbs, white rice has been scarce around here lately. But every so often, I get a craving for Basmati or Jasmine rice. The nutty, popcorny aroma that envelopes my kitchen makes me believe that all is right with the world and that I am very loved.

Yasmin Fahr, creator of this recipe asked “Why I don’t cook everything in coconut milk is beyond me.” Well Yasmin, in answer to your question, I would bathe in coconut milk if I could, but if I cooked everything in it, I would surely weigh 200 pounds. The sweet luxurious coconut milk in this recipe  is saved from a cloying fate by the addition of cumin and a strong hint of cayenne. The finishing touches of lime and cilantro produces a dinner that packs a wallop of flavour.

You must exercise great patience when browning the chicken thighs. Put the pan on high, add the thighs, skin down and leave them alone for a good 8-10 minutes. The brown caramelized bits and pieces of chicken that get stuck to the pan, known in French as “fond” should not be thrown out.  The chicken stock and coconut milk  will help you to to scrape up all those flavourful dark bits. They will dissolve and become the foundation for the luxurious sauce that the chicken and rice are cooked in.browning chicken

zesting limesdicing onionsThe original recipe called for adding snow peas during the last few minutes of cooking for some crunch and gorgeous colour. I went with a triple pea crunch and added snow peas, sugar snaps and some frozen green peas, because that’s how I was raised. I come from a home where more is better. When my mom made banana bread, if the recipe called for 3 bananas, my mom added 5.  It produced a loaf with the heft of a brick, but heck, that’s just  how mom rolled. sugar snaps

Click here to print recipe for Three Pea Coconut Rice and Chicken.