CHICKEN SHAWARMA, THE EASIEST WAY

As I mentioned not too long ago, I binge-watched all episodes of Nadiya’s show Time to Eat, and shared some of her recipes here already. I have one more for you, her take on Chicken Shawarma. Could not be simpler. Season the meat, pack it inside a loaf pan (preferably cast iron), and stick it in the oven. Come back 40 minutes later to tender, juicy meat, full of flavor. We enjoyed it over Farro and Roasted Butternut Squash. Quite a delicious meal…

CHICKEN SHAWARMA, MADE EASY
(slightly modified from Nadiya Hussain’s recipe)

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat the oven to 375F and lightly grease a] loaf pan (cast iron is ideal, but not mandatory).

For the shawarma, mix together the cornstarch, salt, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cloves, cayenne and cinnamon.

Put the oil into a bowl, then add the chicken and stir it around. Add the dry spice mix and stir to coat all the chicken pieces well. Layer the pieces of chicken in the loaf tin and press down, then bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

When the chicken is ready, leave it in the tin for 10 to 15 minutes, before inverting the pan on a serving platter. Careful, as the pan will still be pretty hot, especially if you used cast iron.

Serve right away with the side dish of your choice or flatbreads.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: When I watched the show, I kept telling myself there’s no way this could have a happy ending. It all seemed too simple. I doubted the chicken would be fully cooked, and expected it to have too firm a texture. But something told me to just give it a try. My main modification was to reduce the salt and the cayenne. I am not sure if it was a typo in the recipe as published in the site, but it called for 2 full tablespoons of salt and it was truly too much (I made this recipe twice, the second time with my regular amount of salt, and that’s the version I share with you today).

I forgot the cilantro when I brought it to the table, and quickly fixed the problem, because a bit of green adds joy to the picture. Give this recipe a try, and you won’t be disappointed. To see exactly how she does it go to Netflix (this episode).  Around 6 min and 45 seconds she starts preparing it.

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KALE AND PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREASTS

Are you going to run away if I tell you this is a sous-vide recipe? No need, because you can make it on the stove. It will just require a little more hands-on attention so that the meat ends up properly cooked and still tender and juicy. With the sous-vide you can set it, forget it, and concentrate on making your side-dish, as the final preparation of the chicken takes literally minutes.

KALE AND PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREASTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 chicken breasts
kale leaves, tough stems removed
prosciutto slices
lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Set the sous-vide to 148F.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, rub a bit of lemon juice all over them. Wrap with kale leaves, then with prosciutto slices.  If using the sous-vide, no need to worry too much about wrapping it all tightly because it will firm up as you seal the packages.  If not using sous-vide, try to wrap as tightly and neatly as possible.

Seal the pieces of in a vacuum-bag and submerge in the water-bath for 2 hours (up to 4 hours will be ok). When the time is up, remove the chicken pieces from the bag, dry them well and sautee quickly both sides in olive oil, preferably using a non-stick skillet. Let it cool briefly and slice to serve.

If not using sous-vide, sear both sides of the chicken in olive oil, also using a non-stick skillet. When both sides are golden brown, add a little chicken stock to the pan, a squirt of lemon juice, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the skillet. Cook until the chicken is done to your liking, it will probably take around 15 minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Sous-vide does such a fantastic job for tender meats like chicken breast, and pork tenderloin, it’s truly hard to beat this method of cooking. I sometimes cook a few chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and keep it in the fridge, still vacuum-sealed in the bag. They are ready to use in stir-fries, or curries, anything you feel like it. The first time I made this recipe, I wrapped the kale outside of half of the pieces. It also works, but I prefer the prosciutto outside, it gets a nice texture once you brown it. This recipe is now part of our regular rotation, husband refers to it as “that prosciutto chicken.”  We both loved it!

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WHOLE CHICKEN SOUS-VIDE

No sous-vide? You can still make this recipe using a regular oven, very low and slow for the first part of cooking and then brush with the final glaze and roast under the broiler. But the texture you get from sous-vide is hard to beat. I just rubbed it with dry spices and sealed in the bag. Although on my first time I cooked a whole chicken inside the bag, I found it easier the way I share today. I cut the chicken in four pieces (two breast/wing, and two full legs, placing two pieces in a single bag. Works great and the final presentation is better than keeping it whole or even spatchcocking.

WHOLE SOUS-VIDE CHICKEN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 whole chicken, cut in four pieces
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
for final roasting:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tsp agave nectar (or honey)
squirt of lemon juice

Pat chicken dry.  Rub the skin with the mixture of spices. Place in bag and seal.

Heat sous-vide to 150 F. Cook chicken for 6 hours.

Whisk all ingredients for the roasting step. Once the chicken is done, remove from the water bath and transfer it onto a plate. Pat with paper towels.  Place on a roasting pan. Brush the skin with the olive oil mixture, run under the broiler until the skin is cooked to your liking.  The meat will be tender and juicy.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As usual, the timing with sous-vide is very forgiving, which is one of the reasons I love it. If you need to leave it longer than 6 hours, no harm done. You can change the spices to take this recipe in any direction you like. Gochujang will be happening soon in our kitchen.

We enjoyed it with sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Almonds, and a little couscous with roasted butternut squash (full disclosure: the squash was leftover from a previous meal).

The leftover meat can be pulled from the bone and used in many different preparations, we usually save it for a couple of days and then the husband turns it into chicken fajitas or tacos. It has such perfect texture, all it needs is a brief encounter with a hot skillet, some lemon juice and additional spices, if so desired.

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PHYLLO PARCELS WITH MOROCCAN TURKEY

Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here.

Not too long ago I blogged about a savory pie made with olive oil crust and ground turkey. It was delicious, and I knew I wanted to re-visit it shortly after. Today I share a departure on that recipe, using a very similar filling but wrapped with phyllo dough. It is considerably lighter, especially because I use a light hand with the olive oil spray in between the layers. Works great and is a lot kinder on the waistline.

PHYLLO PARCELS WITH MOROCCAN TURKEY
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

large or jumbo size muffin pan, makes about 5 parcels

for the parcels:
1 box of phyllo dough, thawed in fridge overnight
olive oil spray

for the filling:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 + 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 large carrots, cut in pieces
8 oz mushrooms cut in pieces
2 celery ribs, minced
1 + 1/2 tsp salt
1 shallot, minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tablespoon harissa, or to taste

Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet using 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and seasoning with 1 tsp salt. Once the meat is brown, transfer to a bowl. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil and saute the carrots, shallot and mushrooms, sprinkling all the spices and the final 1/2 tsp salt over the veggies as they cook. Once the veggies start to get some color, add the harissa, the ground turkey reserved, and mix everything gently. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool it completely.

Lay your phyllo sheets and cut squares large enough to cover the whole inner surface of the muffin pan. Lay 3 sheets of phyllo over each hole, each slightly  twisted in relation to the previous one, and spray a very light amount of olive oil as you lay them. Add the cold filling, get one square and fold it in four, so that you are left with a small amount of pastry that can sit right on top of the filling (see photo on the composite below).  Crunch all the phyllo from the base layers over the top, spray olive oil.

Bake at 375F for about 25 minutes, or until golden. Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. They should un-mold very easily and neatly.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The idea for these little parcels came from the new cooking show by Nadiya Hussein, “Time to Eat.” She used this method to make little apple pies but I really liked the way she handled the phyllo and wanted to adapt for a savory meal. Instead of fiddling with one sheet of phyllo at a time, it is a lot easier to just grab several sheets, cut them all at the same time in squares and then peel them off to place in the tin. Brilliant. I highly recommend the show, available on Netflix. A recipe from it should be on the blog soon.

The filling is already cooked, so you are basically just browning the phyllo and making it all crunchy and delicious. Super easy to assemble, this would be absolutely perfect for guests, and of course you could make it vegetarian-friendly. I imagine a filling with butternut squash and mushrooms, or eggplant and sweet peppers, lots of tasty ideas. You can also go for a hearty lamb filling, but with warmer weather on the horizon, lighter is definitely better.

We enjoyed it with mashed sweet potatoes, made sous-vide, but I need to tweak that recipe before sharing, there were a few “issues.”

Depending on the size of your muffin tin, you might be able to get 6 little parcels. They hold well in the fridge and to warm up what I like to do is run them in the microwave for 1 minute (yes, 60 seconds) and then transfer them to a hot oven for 10 more minutes. They turn out perfectly warm all the way through and the phyllo retains its nice texture.

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MOROCCAN TURKEY PIE WITH OLIVE OIL CRUST

Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here. A video summarizing important tips can be found here

We don’t eat sweets that much. I bake a lot but it all goes to departmental colleagues, senior citizens at our town center, and homeless meals. What is a baker to do, when a pandemic forces everyone into isolation and she has very limited outlets to share sweets?  She bakes savory stuff, that is. Like this crazy departure on Shepherd’s Pie, made lighter because the topping is cauliflower-based. The lightness is immediately neutralized by enclosing it in a pie crust. It all balanced out beautifully,  and we were both quite pleased with our dinner. Normally I would make a salad to go with it, but it felt like a complete meal without it.

 

MOROCCAN TURKEY PIE WITH OLIVE OIL CRUST
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by many sources)

for the pie crust:
250g all-purpose flour (260 grams)
1/8 teaspoon salt
50g olive oil (50 grams)
125 g cold water

Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl, then add the olive oil, stir with a fork until the flour gets coated with it, forming a crumbly ness. Slowly add cold water and knead gently just until the dough starts to comes together.  Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate one hour before using.

Roll it over plastic wrap lightly coated with flour, then use it to cover a 9-inch pie pan of your choice. Freeze for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400F. Remove crust from the freezer, cover with saran wrap or parchment paper and add weights. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely before filling.

for the filling:
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 + 1/2 pounds ground turkey
2 large carrots, cut in pieces
8 oz mushrooms cut in pieces
2 celery ribs, minced
1 + 1/2 tsp salt
1 shallot, minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tablespoon harissa, or to taste

Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet using 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and seasoning with 1 tsp salt. Once the meat is brown, transfer to a bowl. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil and saute the carrots, shallot and mushrooms, sprinkling all the spices and the final 1/2 tsp salt over the veggies as they cook. Once the veggies start to get some color, add the harissa, the ground turkey reserved, and mix everything gently. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool it completely.

for the topping:
1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
70g raw almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp paprika

Arrange the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket, cover, and steam for 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Check after 12 minutes, if a fork goes through easily, stop the steaming.

Put the almonds, olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt and paprika in a Vitamix type blender (or food processor) and add the steamed cauliflower. Blend, increasing the power until it gets very smooth and thickens a little.  Remove from the blender and reserve until ready to top the pie. Can be made a day in advance, keep it in the fridge.

Assemble the pie. Heat the oven to 400F. Add the turkey filling to the crust, spoon the cauliflower topping. If desired, add a pattern using the tines of a fork.

Bake for 30 minutes. If you like a darker topping run it under a broiler protecting the edges of the pie crust. Allow the pie to cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you omit the pie crust, this would turn into a pretty low-carb meal, that will still be quite satisfying. Keep that option in mind, although then I think a small salad could be a nice touch. Just lightly coat a Pyrex pie dish with olive oil and add the cooled turkey mixture, spread the cauliflower topping and bake. Some grated cheese could be very nice, we usually opt for a meal that is low in saturated fat, so we skip it.

I am very pleased with the olive oil crust. There are many recipes in cookbooks and websites, some will instruct you to do it as a press-on crust, but I did not like that at all. I adjusted the amount of flour and fat to produce a dough with good consistency for rolling. As a general rule, olive oil crusts need to bake for 35 to 40 minutes total, so depending on the type of filling you have, how moist it is, you can blind bake it for 10 minutes as I did, or skip it all together. Make sure the total baking time does not go over 40 minutes, or the crust might get too tough. It is a nice option for those avoiding dairy or trying to reduce the level of saturated fat.

 

 

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