GRILLED CHICKEN WITH SESAME ROASTED CARROTS

This is a complete meal, with main protein, veggie and salad served together in total harmony. It might very well go into the Hall of Fame of the Bewitching Kitchen because we both gave it enthusiastic two thumbs way way up. Two small details took the meal to Nirvana: high proportion of vinegar to marinate the chicken, and sesame oil to roast the carrots. Inspired by The Flavor Equation and Skinnytaste: One and Done.

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH SESAME ROASTED CARROTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the chicken:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
amchur to taste for serving

for the carrots:
6 large carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 tsp black sesame seeds
Urfa pepper and salt to taste
Fine sea salt

for the dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp agave nectar
salt to taste

lettuce and tomatoes for salad

Marinate the chicken. Mix all the ingredients except the amchur, whisk well. Add to the pieces of chicken and leave for 4 hours or more. Remove from the marinade, grill until done, about 8 minutes per side on a hot grill. Cut in small pieces to serve.

Make the carrots. Mix the two oils together, coat the carrots with the mixture, add sesame seeds and spices. Roast in 425F oven until golden brown at the edges.

Make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce and tomatoes with some of the dressing. Place carrots and chicken on top, still warm, drizzle a little additional dressing, and sprinkle amchur over the chicken pieces. Serve right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was delicious, I truly urge you to give this recipe a try. As you may have noticed, I am in a phase of enjoying contrast of hot and cold, and this will go into our rotation for sure. I think a shredded cabbage salad will go particularly well with it too. Amchur is optional, but it adds a nice brightness without any additional liquid. It does the job of a lemon, more or less, but in dry format. You could add some lime zest instead. Sesame oil to roast veggies is a new thing to me. For some reason I never thought it would work but here I am to admit I was wrong. I’ve been using it on cauliflower, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and every time it adds a wonderful flavor.

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LEMONY GRILLED BONELESS CHICKEN THIGHS

One of our favorite main dishes, boneless chicken thighs cook on the grill very fast and always turn out moist and tender. For this marinade, make sure you leave it several hours in the fridge, the acidity in the lemon won’t affect the texture and the flavor will be much more pronounced. Yes, that is a lot of meat for two people, but we always cook with leftovers in mind.

LEMONY GRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

8 boneless, skin-less chicken thighs
for the marinade:
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1/4 cup avocado oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Make a marinade whisking well all ingredients in a bowl. Add to the pieces of chicken, preferably inside a large plastic bag. Place in the fridge for several hours.

Heat the grill and remove the chicken from the marinade. Pat it dry, and if you like it to be a bit more salty, season each piece lightly with additional salt (we do like that).

Grill on both sides until done, in our grill it takes a total of 16 minutes, 8 minutes per side.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: We cook boneless chicken thighs all the time, I like to use a yogurt-based marinade, and smoked paprika is almost always part of it. There’s something about its flavor when you grill the meat that I find irresistible. This marinade is considerably brighter, so to speak. More intensely flavored. For this meal, I paired the juicy chicken thighs with air-fried cauliflower, and snow peas sauteed with lemon plus a touch of soy sauce. Apparently, I can never had too much lemon around. Excellent dinner! And, pretty light too.

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CLAY POT MASALA CHICKEN THIGHS

No clay pot? No problem, the recipe works in a regular oven, so stick around. We loved the flavors so much I’ve used this marinade in whole chicken, and also Cornish hens. The unusual twist is the incorporation of ground almonds in the mix. If you are intrigued, I totally understand because I was also. It adds a little texture and more “staying power” on the meat. I hope you’ll try it, I think it might become a favorite in your home.

CLAY POT MASALA CHICKEN THIGHS
(adapted from Made in India)

6 chicken thighs, bone-in, with skin
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
5 cloves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
¼ cup ground almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 + 1/2 teaspoons salt

Put the cumin seeds and coriander seeds into a dry non-stick frying pan over high heat until they get fragrant, don’t let them burn. Put the toasted seeds into a spice grinder, along with the cloves and peppercorns, and grind together. Put them into a big bowl and add the ground almonds, cinnamon, turmeric, yogurt, and salt. Rub this marinade all over the chicken thighs, making sure to stick some underneath the skin. Cover and let marinating int the fridge for 1 to 12 hours, the longer the better.

If cooking in a regular oven, heat it to 400F, place the chicken thighs in a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes, remove the foil and roast until the skin is golden brosn.

If using the clay pot, soak it in cold water for a couple of hours. Drain the water, place the chicken pieces inside, close the lid and place the pot in a cold oven, turn it to 450F. Cook for 1 hour, remove the lid and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the skin is nicely brown.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: You can use almonds that you grind yourself, but I opted for almond meal, as I always have it around due to my macaron-baking addiction. It gives a subtle nutty flavor the the meat, and definitely allows the marinade to speak louder in the final dish. Originally I saw this marinade used in a whole chicken. The recipe called for cutting some slits on the skin over the breast to rub the marinade underneath. However, during roasting the skin teared apart too much and although it was still delicious, I did not care for the way it looked. So I will stick to using it for chicken thighs. Full disclosure: I already made it three times…

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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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APRICOT AND BALSAMIC GLAZED CHICKEN THIGHS

Simple to the limit. Very tasty. If you have a pressure cooker or the famous InstantPot, you can have this main dish at your table any night of the week. I got the idea for it from a delicious shredded chicken I made also under pressure. For this one, I changed the flavors and reduced the cooking time so that the pieces of chicken would still hold together.  Probably excellent with orange marmalade instead of apricot jam. Hey, go wild and try mango jam, if you have it around.

APRICOT AND BALSAMIC GLAZED CHICKEN THIGHS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

¼ cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 to 3 tsp fresh)

In a small bowl, whisk the jam and vinegar together until very smooth. Depending on how thick your jam is, add a small amount of warm water to help loosening the mixture a bit. Reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a pressure cooker set over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then brown on both sides (do it in batches if needed).  Return all the pieces to the pot.

Pour the jam-vinegar mixture over the meat; add the thyme.  Add some water to bring the liquid about 1/3 of the heigh of the chicken pieces.  Lock the lid onto the pressure cooker and bring it to full pressure.  Cook for 15 minutes. Release pressure manually, if needed reduce the liquid by simmering for a few minutes.

Adjust seasoning and serve with your side dish of choice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

We enjoyed it with our favorite rice of the moment, easy Tahdig-Rice, which I blogged about in my latest Incredibly Simple series.  Some sauteed asparagus rounded our meal pretty nicely. If you like a bit more spice, add a touch of Harissa or Sriracha to the jam mixture. I intend to try that next time.

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