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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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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