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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SLOW-ROASTED SWEET POTATOES IN TOMATO, LIME AND CARDAMON SAUCE

Once again I turn to Joanne’s blog for inspiration. Like me, she also loves Ottolenghi and adapted this recipe from his new cookbook, Flavor. His method calls for high-temperature roasting of sweet potato slices coated in maple syrup and spices. I changed things around a bit, as I am absolutely set on roasting them low and slow (after trying the method described in this post of my recent past). You can conceivably make the sauce and the potatoes days in advance to finalize the dish quickly before meal time. I served it alongside grilled chicken breasts. They worked so well together that I decided to feature both recipes in a single post.

SLOW-ROASTED SWEET POTATOES IN TOMATO, LIME & CARDAMON SAUCE
(adapted from Joanne’s blog)

for potatoes:
3 large sweet potatoes, cut crosswise into 1-inch thick rounds
olive oil to rub potatoes
salt and pepper to taste

for the sauce:
5 tbsp olive oil
2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
14 oz whole peeled tomatoes, blended until smooth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ground cumin
zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp lime juice
1 cup water
2 tsp finely chopped dill

For the sweet potatoes. Heat the oven to 300F. Rub them with oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and slow roast for 60 to 90 minutes until tender. Set aside to cool, peel the skin off and slice it into 1 inch thick rounds to proceed with the recipe (can be made a couple of days in advance).

Make the sauce. Combine the olive oil, jalapenos, shallots, and a pinch of salt in a large saute pan over medium heat, cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, cardamom, cumin, lime zest, and 1 tsp salt. Cook for 5 minutes so the flavors can combine, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425F. Add the sauce to a shallow baking dish that can hold all the potato slices in a single layer, if possible. Place the slow-roasted potatoes on top of the sauce and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Close to the end of roasting time, sprinkle dill on top. If you like a little more color development, use the broiler.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was absolutely delicious, and if you spread the preparation by roasting the potatoes the day before, it is a breeze to put together. I actually find myself slow-roasting sweet potatoes and saving them, still with the skin, for all sorts of uses later. Cardamon and lime in the tomato sauce? Winner combination. I intend to make a roasted tomato soup pretty soon with those basic flavors. Stay tuned. And now, as I promised, the main dish we had with these wonderful potatoes.

BONUS RECIPE

GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt

In a bowl, stir together all ingredients, except chicken (of course). Whisk well until brown sugar is dissolved. Place chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and add the marinade. Leave it in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, but if you have time allow it to sit for 4 hours or even longer.

Heat grill, and cook around 6 minutes per side. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice on the bias, and serve, preferably with those amazing sweet potatoes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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A MAGICAL MARINADE

Not too long ago I shared with you the youtube channel from Helen Rennie. I landed there through baking, but quickly realized her area of expertise covers pretty much all things cooking. Including sous-vide. The marinade I am blogging about today works wonders to finalize meat prepared by that method, but I also tried it for straight grilling and was equally blown away by how well it performed. It gives the meat a mixture of sweet, salty and umami. I now call it my default marinade for all things protein, and I bet it will do a great job on tofu. That shall be tested in the near future.

MAGICAL MARINADE
ONE RECIPE, THREE USES
(from Helen Rennie’s youtube channel)

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated through a microplane (I omitted)
1 tablespoon za’atar (optional)
1/2 cup grapeseed or canola oil

Whisk all ingredients except the oil together in a small bowl until completely emulsified. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly. Your sauce is ready to use.

to print the recipe, click here

PERFECT SOUS-VIDE CHICKEN BREAST
(adapted from Helen Rennie)

Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a bag appropriate for sous-vide cooking. Add 2 teaspoons of the magical marinade and rub it around the meat. Seal the bag and cook for 2 hours at 150F (or your preferred temperature).

Leave the meat to cool in the bag for 10 minutes. Remove from the bag, dry the surface blotting with a paper towel.

Finalize by searing on a hot skillet with a smidgen of olive oil, 30 seconds per side, pressing down with a lid. Marvel at the beautiful color, slice and serve.

Comments: The only drawback of this recipe is that it generates a bit of smoke during the final searing, and our kitchen has such poor ventilation that all fire alarms go crazy. I intend to use the outside grill next time, although it is really hard to beat the gorgeous sear from the skillet. The texture of the meat is perfect, no stringiness, it really elevates sous-vide to a new level.

Another way to use the chicken is to go from the sous-vide step into a stir-fry. I do that often, but with this magical marinade the result is even better. You can sous-vide a couple of days in advance, and just slice the meat and use it in any stir-fry recipe you are fond of.

For that version, I used zucchini, mushrooms and cashews, finishing the stir-fry with a soy-mustard sauce thickened with a touch of cornstarch. The texture of the meat is very similar to that obtained by velveting. Every week I cook some chicken breasts sous-vide and then incorporate in stir-fries. This marinade just makes it perfect.

But what if you don’t own a sous-vide and don’t have any interest in investing in one? Just use the same marinade to grill meats. I share here my recent version with boneless chicken thighs. Place them with enough marinade to coat the surface well, and leave in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. Then, remove from the bag, dry the surface, season lightly with more salt and slap on the grill…

Isn’t that a thing of beauty? So I hope I convinced you to bring that magical marinade into your life. And a sous-vide would not hurt either (wink, wink).

Helen, thank you for another gem of a recipe!

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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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TUSCAN GRILLED CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE SKEWERS

Talk about being slow to blog about stuff.  This recipe was made last August, so it will appeal a lot more now to the lucky folks who live in places such as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, are enjoying the best time of their lives, aka SUMMER!  I was slow to blog, but even slower to give it a try, as the recipe is from Fine Cooking, year 2006.  Eight years and a few months ago.

You will need to prepare in advance a delicious rosemary-infused olive oil, and there will be leftovers. I confess that this was probably the reason why I dragged my foot for so long before making this recipe. I am not big on preparing infused oils and sauces and dressings that can be used later. They sit in the fridge making me feel guilty as the days go by and their expiration date approaches.  Still this rosemary concoction would be great in a simple spaghetti aglio & olio or drizzled over your favorite pizza topping.  Very flavorful stuff, the smell as it simmers will make you wanna dance. Not a dancer? It will make you wanna sing. Not a singer either? I will settle for a smile. Make it a big one, though.

Tuscan Chicken Sausage Skewers

TUSCAN GRILLED CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE SKEWERS
(from Fine Cooking magazine, issue #80)

2-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and cut in half
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. Rosemary-Garlic Oil (recipe follows)
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 2-inch pieces
24 large fresh sage leaves

Up to a day ahead and at least a couple of hours before serving, toss the chicken in a medium bowl with 2 Tbs. of the infused oil, the fresh rosemary, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Heat a grill to medium heat. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup oil into two small bowls (one for grilling and one for serving, if desired). Alternately thread three pieces of sausage, three pieces of chicken, and four sage leaves onto each of six 12-inch metal skewers.

Grill the skewers, covered, until one side is browned and has good grill marks, about 4 min. Brush with some of the rosemary-garlic oil, flip, and cook the other side until it, too, has good grill marks, about 4 min. Brush with more oil and flip again. Continue cooking, flipping, and brushing with oil until the sausage and chicken are both cooked through, about 10 min. more.

Let cool for a couple of minutes and then arrange on a platter, and serve with additional oil, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

RosemaryOil
ROSEMARY-GARLIC OIL
(slightly modified from Fine Cooking magazine, issue #80)

1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to bubble steadily, 3 to 4 min. Add the rosemary, remove from the heat, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a clean glass jar or other storage container, cover, and refrigerate. Use within five days.

ENJOY!

to print the infused oil recipe, click here

skewers

Comments:  This was a pretty nice recipe! I did not baste the skewers often while grilling, only once, but that did not hurt them a bit. Vegetarians forgive me, but the mixture of chicken with sausage is a winner, and the sage leaves add a lot of flavor and visual appeal.  If you want to add veggies to the skewers, I think eggplant cubes could work well, they would stand to the cooking and be done more or less at the same time as the meat. Of course, onion would be another great option. Something to consider when summer is finally back bringing with it my beloved flip-flops, shorts, and t-shirts. By now I am even looking forward to golf…   😉

Note added after publication: I was kindly reminded by my readers in Florida that they are currently all happy under a 70 F sunny weather.  It is a bit like sticking the knife and twisting, so yes, go ahead Floridians, and make this recipe.  Think about me as you do it, and send me some of your warm weather ASAP.

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