LEMONY CHICKEN THIGHS WITH ARTICHOKES AND OLIVES

This was the first meal I cooked the day after we arrived from a wonderful trip to Lake Tahoe. Got together with stepson and soon-to-be daughter-in-law, went skiing, and relaxed. Celebrated both our wedding anniversary and my Birthday: one more revolution around the sun successfully completed by yours truly. We landed late and arrived home around 1am. Next day brought that daze that often happens after trips. So I wanted something simple to put together, but with a hint of celebration, because nothing beats having a home to come back to. When so many in our world are denied such basic right, forced to leave it all behind or face certain death.

LEMONY CHICKEN THIGHS WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS AND OLIVES
(adapted from many sources)

8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Rose Harissa (I used this one)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vermouth
frozen artichoke hearts, amount to taste
pitted green olives, amount to taste
1 tablespoon capers

Make a marinade with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, vermouth and spices. Whisk well or add to a small processor to emulsify. Add to the chicken pieces and leave it in the fridge for a few hours, if you have the time.

Heat oven to 350F. Place the chicken pieces, skin-side down on a large baking pan. Pour the marinade over. Add the artichoke hearts, olives and capers all around. Season lightly the meat with salt. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove the foil, turn the pieces over, to have the skin-side up. Bake for 20 more minutes at the same temperature, then increase to 420F and bake until the skin is golden brown.

Serve with your favorite side dish.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: My main advice is to load it with frozen artichoke hearts, keep in mind there is no need to thaw them. They will shrink considerably, so don’t be afraid to pack the baking dish to the limit. The liquid that forms during baking is absolutely delicious. If you don’t have vermouth, use any dry white wine, or if you prefer, some chicken stock, but the acidity of the wine helps to brighten up the flavors. If you don’t have rose harissa powder, use any hot condiment you like (smoked paprika, a little Sriracha or Gochujang).

We enjoyed it with green beans and almonds, but some white rice or couscous would go well too. Apparently it is considered rude to keep going back to the dish and mindlessly pick all the artichoke hearts until there is none left. I don’t know who makes these rules, but clearly “I” was not consulted.

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CHICKEN POBLANO TORTILLA SOUP

I don’t know why it took me so long to make this soup, as it is so popular. Every year I see countless examples in magazines, cookbooks, websites, and food blogs. And what makes it really painful is that we both loved it. Almost 13 years blogging. A chicken-tortilla-soup-virgin. No more.

CHICKEN POBLANO TORTILLA SOUP
(slightly adapted from Averie Cooks)

6 whole tomatillos, husks removed
3 whole poblano peppers
olive oil spray and a little salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, diced small
6 cups low or no-salt added chicken broth
1 can (14.5-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 + 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tortilla chips or strips, for garnishing

Roast the veggies: line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray the tomatillos and poblanos with some olive oil and season lightly with salt. Place in a 450F oven and roast until lightly charred. The tomatillos need less time in the oven, remove them when ready, allow the poblanos to roast further. Transfer the tomatillos into a blender, and process until still a bit chunky.

When the poblanos are well charred, transfer them to a plastic bag and seal. That will steam them making it easier to remove the skin. Remove the skin and seeds, cut the poblanos into slivers. Reserve. Add a very small amount of oil (2 tsp or so) into a small non-stick skillet, when very hot add the frozen kernels of corn, saute seasoning with a little salt until golden. Reserve.

Heat the remaining oil in a large stock pot, sauce the shallots for 5 minutes, add the broth, tomatoes, chicken, chili, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Simmer for a couple of minutes, add the reserved poblanos and corn. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes in very gentle heat.

Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve with tortilla chips or strips.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was so delicious, I am kicking myself for never trying this soup until now. The chicken was leftover from a clay pot roasted chicken, which I made after brining it overnight in buttermilk. It was one of the best clay pot concoctions of the recent past, and I shall share with you in the near future. But any roast chicken will do, so grab one in the grocery store if you want to make it really easy on you.

This soup is a meal in itself. Nothing else needed. Satisfying, complex, the tortillas and the corn offer that small amount of carbs that will keep you happy but not feeling heavy and lethargic. We absolutely loved it, and I hope you’ll give it a try…

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ASIAN-STYLE CHICKEN MEATBALLS

I’ve been a user of “Copy-Me-That” for a very long time. It is a breeze to save recipes from any site in the internet. Much to my own amazement, I noticed that over the years I’ve saved 1,700 recipes! They can be retrieved with a search for main ingredients, cuisine, whatever you feel like. Sometimes I log into the site and have fun browsing through, re-visiting favorites from years past. This delicious meatballs were patiently waiting for me and I finally made them, with a few changes to accommodate our taste buds… These will go into regular rotation in our kitchen, the sauce is a dream!

ASIAN-STYLE CHICKEN MEATBALLS
(adapted from Confessions of a Fit Foodie)

Cooking oil spray
1lb ground chicken
1 T soy sauce
1 egg
1 T minced ginger
1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)
½ cup of carrots, finely minced in food processor
¼ cup almond flour
½ tsp salt

for the sauce:
1/4 cup of honey
1/3 cup of soy sayce
1 T tomato paste
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 T finely chopped ginger
1 t Gochujang sauce

In a large bowl, gently mix ingredients for meatballs. Begin forming the meatballs and place on a plate or tray. I made 14 meatballs. Mix the ingredients for sauce and set aside.

Place meatballs on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil lightly coated with oil spray. Bake meatballs at 350 for 30 minutes or until cooked through. While meatballs are cooking, combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on the stove until sauce begins to thicken.

Mix meatballs with sauce and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Carrots have a lot of water, so expect the meatballs to ooze some liquid as they bake. In her site, she gives options for air-fryer and Instant-Pot, but I made too many to fit in our small air-fryer, so I went with regular baking. Don’t worry about the liquid, just flip them over mid-way through roasting and lift them gently to add to the sauce later. I actually allowed them to simmer for a minute with the sauce.

A little white rice, some green beans with almonds, and we ate as Royals of The Bewitching Kitchen!

I love adding veggies to meatballs, meatloaf, and even burgers. They contribute moisture and a more complex flavor. Carrots were perfect with the ground chicken, and don’t skimp on the ginger!

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BUTTERMILK ROAST CHICKEN

This could go into the Incredibly Simple files but because it does take 24 hours marinating, I will treat it as a “regular” recipe. I cannot quite believe how easy it was and how gorgeous the skin looked (and tasted) at the end of roasting. I bet this will work great with chicken pieces also, but it’s hard to beat the wow-factor of bringing a whole bird to the table.

BUTTERMILK ROASTED CHICKEN
(adapted from Cooking Classy)

4 to 4.5 lb whole chicken
2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Remove the neck and any giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Freeze for a later use or discard. Place the chicken in a gallon size resealable freezer bag in a large bowl then place the chicken in the bag with the legs toward the opening of the bag.

Make the buttermilk brine by whisking together buttermilk, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme until well mixed. Pour the mixture over the chicken while also pouring some into the rib cavity of the chicken. Seal bag while pressing out as much excess air as possible. Rub marinade over chicken. Transfer to fridge and let marinate at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.

Heat the oven to 400F. Remove chicken from marinade and scrape off buttermilk mixture. Transfer to a small roasting pan. Adjust wings, optionally tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Roast chicken for 40 minutes, then rotate the pan and continue to roast until the chicken is cooked through about 30 to 45 minutes longer (internal temp should be 160F for the breasts and 175F for the thighs. If the skin starts browning too much, tent with foil. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, rest 15 minutes then carve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: OMG for the color of that skin! The meat turned out tender and juicy, with very nice flavor from all the herbs. I intend to use the exact same marinade on spatchcocked chicken, and perhaps on chicken thighs. Make sure you use a thermometer to check the temperature, I find very hard to judge by any other method, and there’s nothing worse than undercooked chicken. We will be re-visiting this recipe very soon!

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11 YEARS, TIME FOR GOODBYE

I guess it was bound to happen, sooner or later. Eleven years of blogging and all of a sudden I am forced to witness crowds and crowds of readers abandoning me. It hurts, but I feared that this post could cause it. Tofu. Has she gone nuts? Yes, now that you mentioned, cashews are also partners in this crime. If you are leaving me, I am sorry to see you go, and beg you to re-consider. I swear to you, this was one of the best things I’ve made in the past few months, and even “I” cannot quite believe how much we enjoyed it.  Soooo, will you stay? There shall be macarons soon…

JEN’S CURRIED TOFU WITH PEAS AND CASHEWS
(slightly modified from Jennifer Guerrero’s blog

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

1 pound extra firm tofu
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons honey
¼ cup water
2 cups vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups peas (frozen is fine)
1/2 cup cashews (lightly toasted)

optional:
poached chicken breasts, sliced thin

Slice the tofu in a checkerboard pattern and then right across its equator as you see in my composite picture after the recipe. Wrap in plenty of paper towels and put a heavy pan on it to drain while you do the rest of the preparation of the recipe.

In a medium bowl, whisk the peanut butter with the soy sauce, then add the spices, honey and water. Toss with the drained tofu, coating nicely. Spray a baking sheet generously with cooking spray, tip the tofu on in a single layer,  and bake for 30 minutes, flipping them over at halftime.

Whisk together in a saucepan the vegetable broth and the cornstarch. Turn the heat to medium, and when the stock is simmering, add the tofu along with the peas and cashews. If using chicken, add it now.  Stir until it is all lightly thickened, and serve over rice or riced cauliflower.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I hope you stop by Jen’s blog to read her nice write-up about this recipe.  Interestingly, when I read her post about it, I had just bought some extra-firm tofu without any clear ideas of how to put it to use.  Serendipity. Don’t you love when that happens?

Now, I admit that I chickened out and added chicken (very sorry for this phrase, please don’t leave). I was unsure of how we would feel about the texture and taste of tofu, and decided that in case of a complete disaster, at least we could enjoy some animal protein with the peas and cashews. I used chicken breasts that I had previously cooked sous-vide, but you can poach it or saute with a bit of salt and pepper.

This was one amazing meal! It all works together nicely, the tofu gets a nice soaking with the spices and caramelizes a bit with the honey in that marinade. If you are vegetarian, you absolutely must make this. If you are not, you absolutely must make this, and go for the kill: omit the chicken. I guess that means going for the non-kill?  (very sorry for this phrase too, my apologies).

If you are anti-tofu, I hope this post will make you try it, just make sure you get the extra-firm. I know that tofu aficcionados like to use a special press to compact it before cooking, but I felt that the resulting texture was nice enough the way Jen recommended.

Jen, thank you so much for opening my cooking horizons, I love it…

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