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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CHERRY CHIPOTLE CHICKEN THIGHS

Oddly enough, this chicken recipe was born from a batch of French macarons. I know, how could it be? It turns out that I made a filling for macarons using white chocolate ganache and sour cherry jam. Quite a bit of jam was left in the jar, and I knew it would sit in the fridge at the risk of being forgotten. Why not put it to use in a savory recipe? I adapted bits from a few cookbooks, and came up with a pressure cooker version for chicken thighs that had some sweetness, some spice, some sourness, and what I love the most: that falling-apart texture.  I hope you give it a try.

CHERRY CHIPOTLE SHREDDED CHICKEN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cherry jam
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 canned chipotle in adobo sauce, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed

Place the tomatoes, jam, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, chipotle, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, and cloves in a blender. Blend and pour the smooth sauce in a pressure cooker.

Add the boneless chicken thighs, whole. Close the pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) and bring to full pressure. Cook for 20 minutes,  release the pressure manually, and remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board. Shred the meat with two forks (it should be very tender). 

Add the shredded meat back to the sauce, heat gently for a few minutes, adjust seasoning (you may need a bit more salt).  Serve over rice or the side dish of your choice. Also great as a filling for fajitas.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: As a good Brazilian-American, I use my pressure cooker all year, but of course now that the temperature outside starts to fall down, this type of comfort food shows up more often in our menu. On weeknights, the pressure cooker is the best tool to have a meal with that aura of hours and hours in the making, materialize in the blink of an eye. Well, a few blinks. Not that many, though.

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ROSE HARISSA CHICKEN THIGHS

Harissa is an ingredient I am quite fond of. Not only for its intense taste, but because I was introduced to it in a restaurant in Paris and the whole experience was pretty magical. It was my first time enjoying Moroccan couscous. I was with a Parisian friend who ordered the Couscous Royale, a real feast with several types of meat, including lamb and merguez (which I fell in love with at first bite). But what I remember the most was the waiter offering to add some harissa to our plate. He grabbed a ladle of the couscous broth, added this sexy red paste to it, mixed it with a small spoon, and poured it over our serving of couscous. Just a little bit, so I could decide if I wanted more, which obviously I did. When I learned from Ottolenghi that there’s this thing called Rose Harissa, I could not wait to get it and try it. If you think the regular kind is sexy, this one is sexy and she knows it.

ROSE HARISSA CHICKEN THIGHS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from Ottolenghi’s Simple)

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 celery ribs, diced
5 boneless, skin-less chicken thighs
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons rose harissa
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, sliced thin
1 can stewed tomatoes
15 g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)
1 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon
cilantro to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pressure cooker or regular large sauce pan. Sautee the celery pieces seasoned with salt and pepper until very fragrant and soft. Add the chicken pieces, let them briefly color on both sides. Add the harissa and the paprika and saute it all together for a minute or so.

Add the tomatoes and the juices, the red bell pepper, and if cooking under pressure, add just about 1/2 cup of water, or enough to cover the  meat. Add the chocolate pieces, cover the pan and cook under pressure for 25 minutes. If using a regular pan, add the full cup of water and simmer it all gently for 40 minutes or longer, until the meat is very tender. After 30 minutes, add the pieces of chocolate and mix to dissolve.

When the meat is tender, or the pressure cooking time is elapsed, remove the chicken and, if needed, reduce the sauce and use an immersion blender to make it a bit more smooth. No need to fully blend it, just process until some pieces of tomato and red bell pepper still remain more or less intact.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the cilantro and lemon juice right before serving.

Spoon the sauce over the reserved pieces of chicken, serve with white rice, mashed cauliflower, polenta… anything you like.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: When I opened the pressure cooker, I was hit with such intense peppery blast, that I thought dinner was ruined. Thankfully, it was not the case. The sauce turned out with a very nice flavor, hot, but not burning-hot, the rose component just made it all taste complex. We liked it so much that, contrary to what happens most of the time, I had nothing left for my lunch next day. We stopped when all chicken thighs were gone. Pups got nothing, not even a taste. Yeap, that’s how greedy we were.

We had quite a bit of leftover sauce, which I used as the basis for a turkey chili made a couple of evenings later. It would go very well with lamb, perhaps a perfect pairing for that tender lamb I spoke about not too long ago. And now, I am on a mission to find new uses for my sexy Rose Harissa. If only all life’s problems were as hard as this one…

 

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NIGELLA LAWSON IN THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN

Did I get your attention? Well, unfortunately she was not here in person. I would love to have her over for dinner, but this time it was just virtually through one of her tasty recipes.  Nigella is clearly a person who is happy in her own skin,  someone who enjoys life to the fullest. Watching her cooking shows brings me that “I’ll have what she’s having” feeling… And, to make things even better, her recipes are never too fussy.  I have several of her cookbooks, but for some reason forgot all about them for a long time. The other day, talking to my friend Denise, she reminded me of one of Nigella’s recipes, a favorite of hers. A chicken and sausage one pan kind of deal. I immediately remembered making it years ago, before my blogging life started. Got this absurd craving for it, made it next day (!!!), fell in love with it all over again.  Sent a picture to Denise, and that’s when we realized we were talking about two different recipes.  Obviously, I now have another one to try. They both join poultry with sausage, but one takes Italian sausage, the other chorizo. One has potatoes, the other doesn’t. And a few more departures on the overall flavor. Anyway, I sense a Nigella-phase in our kitchen.  Yeah, I must have what she’s having…

ROAST CHICKEN THIGHS WITH SAGE AND SAUSAGE
(modified from Nigella Lawson)

1 medium shallot
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons English mustard
1 tablespoon dried sage
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 lemons
8 chicken thighs, bone and skin in
6 Italian sausages
salt to taste
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves

Peel and cut the shallot into four pieces, and put into a freezer bag with the oil, mustard, dried sage, a good grinding of pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Cut lemons in half, squeeze juice into bag, and then cut the halves into eighths and add them. Squeeze everything around to mix, then add the chicken pieces. Leave to marinade in the refrigerator for a few hours (overnight is perfect).

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature in its marinade. Arrange the chicken pieces in a roasting tin skin side up with the marinade, including all the bits and pieces, and tuck the sausages around them. Season with salt. Sprinkle the fresh sage leaves over the chicken and sausages and then put the pan into the oven, covered with aluminum foil for  to cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil, increase heat to 425 F and keep roasting until the skin turns golden brown and starts to crisp up.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is such an easy recipe to put together! It is originally from her cookbook Feast, but she featured the recipe in one of her shows back in the good old times of FoodTV Network. I modified it quite a bit not so much in terms of ingredients, but cooking method, because as I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, I think nothing beats the texture of chicken that starts cooking low and slow. For weeknights this would be a bit tricky, this is the type of cooking I reserve for weekends.

Phil loved this so much that he started getting nervous about the possibility of not enjoying it again for another 8 years. He kept dropping hints:  ” I would not mind having this chicken every couple of weeks… Actually, you “could” make it weekly, you know?”  So there you have it, it’s really a wonderful way to enjoy chicken, with the spicy tasty bits of sausage, and the flavors of sage and lemon. A keeper.

Dinner is served!
A little pasta with olive oil and grated cheese was all we needed…

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INDIAN SPICED CHICKEN WITH CHICKPEAS AND SPINACH

Another great recipe using my beloved pressure cooker, but no need to run away if you don’t own one, the original method (found here)  uses a regular pan.  We’ve been so busy lately (by lately I guess I mean a few years in a row…)  that shortcuts to get dinner at the table faster are more than welcome. As long as they don’t compromise flavor. No need to worry about it in this recipe, flavorful is one adjective that comes to mind to describe it.

Chicken Curry Spinach

 

INDIAN SPICED CHICKEN WITH CHICKPEAS AND SPINACH
(adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used grape seed oil)
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 + 1/2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 cups chicken broth
5 ounces baby spinach
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat or in your pressure cooker. Season chicken with salt. Working in batches, cook chicken, reducing heat as needed to prevent over-browning, until golden brown on all side.Transfer to a plate.

Add butter and shallot to drippings in pot; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until soft and fragrant. Stir in ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne. Cook, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chickpeas and chicken broth. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover pot and either braise it in a 325 F oven for about 50 minutes, or cook under pressure for 15 minutes.

Quickly release the steam (or place the closed pan under running cold water in the sink), and when the pressure equalizes open the pan. Return the pan to the stove, add the spinach and simmer for a couple of minutes until wilted. Stir yogurt into cooking liquid, mix gently and serve right away, sprinkled with fresh cilantro, if you like.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

served

Comments:  I absolutely love the way pressure cooking intensifies the flavors of a sauce, and this one with all the warm spices and the chickpeas turned out quite spectacular indeed. The recipe made so much sauce that even after leftovers were enjoyed at lunch, a little sauce remained. I went at it with a spoon on day 3. Yeah, that good.  And, of course the time-saving aspect is hard to be neglected…

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.02.19 PM

This recipe could be served quite simply with a slice of naan bread, but I opted for cauli-rice and some snow peas sautéed in olive oil and a little mint. We ate like the King and the Queen… except for the fact that we did the dishes afterwards. I doubt royalty deals with such mundane issues. Their loss. Doing dishes can be a lot of fun. All you need is the right music in the background…

😉

 

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HERB GRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS

After more than 6 years in the blogosphere, I often ask myself which types of recipes are “blog-worthy?” If you get a T-bone steak, season it with salt and slap in on the grill, is it worth writing a post about? Well, maybe it is if you come up with a twist on how to cook it to perfection, but… that would be a stretch. I prefer to share recipes that have some element of surprise in the ingredients and/or method of cooking. This one is a good example. Simple grilled chicken thighs, but involving a vinegar-based marinade that is also used in the initial stage of cooking before the meat hits the grill. The original recipe, known as Cornell Chicken, has been around for a while. You can read about its interesting development here. I noticed this variation in a cooking forum after many members raved about it. I made it twice in two weeks, trying to perfect it to our liking, which in the case of chicken thighs means a yin-yang kind of deal: meat falling off the bone plus crispy skin. I haven’t arrived there yet, but the recipe is great even in its original form. After all, what is perfection to me might not be the same for you. Give this recipe a try, it’s totally worth it. Unless of course, you are a vegetarian. In this case, skip this post. I will have something to please you soon enough…

😉

Herb Grilled Chicken

HERB GRILLED CHICKEN THIGHS
(adapted from  The Creekside Cook)

½ cup fresh, whole sage leaves
¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves
⅛ cup fresh oregano leaves
⅛ cup fresh thyme leaves
½ cup olive oil
1 cup of cider vinegar
1 egg
1 + ½ tablespoons kosher salt
ground black pepper to taste
8 to 10 chicken thighs

Strip any stems from all of the herbs, and chop them well – they should equal about a half cup total when they are all chopped. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, egg, salt and pepper. The egg is to keep the mixture emulsified, and though it is often left out of the original recipe, it works better with it. Whisk in the chopped herbs.

Trim the excess skin and fat from the chicken thighs, and pat dry with paper towels. Put the chicken in a large ziplock bag with the marinade.  A couple of times a day, flip the bag over and move everything around a little to make sure all the thighs are getting marinated.

After 24 – 48 hours, take the chicken out of the fridge. Arrange the thighs in a large saute pan or dutch oven – it is best if they can all lay flat, but if you don’t have a big enough pan for that, get it as close as you can. Pour over the marinade, and set the burner at medium. Watch carefully, and when it starts to boil, turn it down to barely simmering. After 10 minutes, turn each piece carefully, and cook another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Get your grill heated up, and be sure to oil the grates. Once the grill is well heated, place the chicken, skin side down, on the grates. You may have some flare up because the oil is going to drip down some, but a spray bottle of water kept handy will take care of those. Don’t turn the chicken until you can pick it up off the gates without tearing the skin – when it is ready to turn, it will come up easily. This will take around 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your grill. Brush the marinade over the upper side a couple of times during cooking. Turn and grill the second side for another 5 to 8 minutes. If you like, check the internal temperature, which should be about 165 F. Let it rest around 5 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

composite

Comments: I made the recipe the first time exactly as written. The flavor was great, and the crispy skin just the way we like it. The apple cider vinegar is the key ingredient, acting as a tenderizer but also imparting subtle acidity. I heard from people who made this recipe several times that leaving in the marinade for 48 is a good idea, but do not go longer than that. I loved the copper color of the skin as it crisped up on the grill…

Grilling

PlatedDinner is served!  Grilled chicken thighs, cauliflower mash, and a fresh salad…
Grab a fork, and dig in! 

As I  mentioned in the beginning of the post, I wanted to get a slightly more tender texture in the meat. So, the second time around I opted to sous-vide the meat in the marinade using water displacement instead of a vacuum-seal, and cooked it as described in this previous post. It all seemed to be going great, but disaster hit:  I was careless while grilling the pieces skin side down, and…. the thighs were charred to death. Black. Burned skin.  I was able to save some pieces for our dinner, but let’s say the looks were definitely not blog-worthy…  Oh, well. Lesson learned. Here’s the plan: repeat this recipe one more time using my favorite method, which is low and slow, then blasting it on a hot oven, or as I intend to do it, on the hot grill. Watching over it as a hawk. A hawk, I tell you!


Red Tailed HawkReady to grill?
(image from this source)

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CHICKEN THIGHS WITH ARTICHOKES AND CAPERS

If you are into Paleo recipes, make this dish!  If you are not into Paleo recipes, make this dish!  Yes, I am a bit bossy today, as a husband and a few graduate students might have noticed. But it’s all with good intentions, as I know what is good for them, for you, and maybe even for myself.  The inspiration for this recipe was found in one of my Kindle cookbooks, Make it Paleo II, by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley. They also have a food blog, Primal Palate, with great recipes and youtube videos. I always read the good and the bad reviews of a cookbook before buying it, and one of the reviewers at amazon.com said that this recipe alone was worth getting the book. I made it twice, once exactly as written, but in this post I am sharing my take on it, modified not only in flavor but also in the method itself. In their version, it is all made in a single skillet, but I did not want to turn on the big oven, so after browning the meat I transferred the pieces to a baking dish that fits in our Breville.

SkilletChickenThighs

CHICKEN THIGHS WITH ARTICHOKES AND CAPERS
(adapted from Make it Paleo II)

6 skin-on chicken thighs, boneless
Sea salt to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp za’tar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (6-oz) jar artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and drained
2 Tbsp capers
1 lemon, sliced into rounds and quartered

Heat the oven to 425°F. Heat a skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat. Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, removing as much moisture as possible. Season the skin with salt and place them skin side down in the hot skillet. Flip the thighs once they develop a nice brown sear on the skin, which should naturally make them easily release from the pan. Cook the chicken skin side up for 1 minute, then transfer to a baking dish, skin side up.  Season evenly with the oregano, za’tar, and  more black pepper to taste. Add the artichoke hearts, olives, capers, and lemon slices to the skillet. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  If you never de-boned a chicken thigh yourself, take a deep breath and try it, because it’s a nice skill to acquire in the kitchen. I don’t know what type of chicken meat your grocery store carries, but where we live I can find bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, and boneless, skinless.  The former I use for roasting all the time, but the skinless I reserve for either braises, stir-fries, or grilling (usually after a nice marinade with yogurt or some citric concoction).  You absolutely need boneless pieces with the skin on for this recipe, so if you cannot find it, roll your sleeves up and get working.  It was a bit of a struggle, but I got better and better as I did it.  I watched some videos on youtube to help me with the technique, but most videos available show professional chefs who handle the knife as if they were born with one in their hands.  Amazing to watch, but when trying to mimic them, my shortcomings became quite evident. I say take your time, put some soothing music on, and practice. By the way, if you don’t have za’tar, don’t worry. But get some, will you?  I must say it’s one of my favorite spice mixtures at the moment. Love it.

Phil is so addicted to my default recipe for chicken thighs, that at first he was disappointed by the different preparation. But, it took him only one bite to say that I should revisit this recipe whenever I feel like it. Two thumbs up!  So there you have it, make this dish because I said so, and Sally knows what’s best for everyone. HA!

😉

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