CITRUS AND HERBS ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS

Two types of citric fruits, loads of herbs, fingerling potatoes, all slow-roasting together… Great dinner, fit for company if you so desire…

CITRUS AND HERBS ROASTED CHICKEN THIGHS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

8 chicken things, bone-in, skin-on
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 whole lemons, one juiced and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and one sliced
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1 to 2 tsp salt
fingerling potatoes, cut in half

In a small bowl, make the marinade by whisking the oil with sugar, juice of lemon and orange, herbs, and 1 tsp of salt. Place the chicken thighs in a large bag or shallow dish, and pour the marinade all over. Leave it in the fridge for several hours.

Heat oven to 350F. Place chicken pieces in a large baking dish, skin side down. Pour the whole marinade over the pieces. Season the chicken with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Add pieces of fingerling potatoes all around the chicken, and the thin slices of orange and lemon all over them.

Bake covered with aluminum foil for about 1 hour. Remove foil, flip the pieces and increase the temperature to 425F. Roast for another 20 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. If desired, run it under the broiler for a couple of minutes, I did not have to do that.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Sometimes it is not easy to get intense flavor on roast chicken when you use a marinade, but this one did a very good job. I am partial to a two-stage roasting, first being gentle and then finalizing with high heat, because to me that produces the best possible texture in the meat and at the same time crispy skin. The fingerling potatoes turn it into a pretty complete meal, although if you are super hungry, couscous could go pretty well as a side dish.

These days, with temperatures getting higher and higher – just the way I love – I am partial to a simple refreshing salad. In this case, lettuce, grape tomatoes, and hard-boiled eggs. A lemony vinaigrette, and that was all…

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BEER-MARINATED GRILLED SKIRT STEAK

When grilling meat, I normally follow the Brazilian rule of using only salt as seasoning.  We are all about the flavor of the beef, preferring not to mask it with spices and rubs. But, I thought that Marcella’s take on skirt steak was too tempting to pass.   She marinates the meat in beer and soy sauce, and also adds orange slices to the party.  I normally reach for lemons or limes, but whenever I use oranges in cooking I am  surprised by how much I enjoy their subtle citric tone, a tad less aggressive.   We both loved the flavor they imparted to the meat… the beer definitely comes through loud and clear.  I marinated the meat from early morning to dinner time.

sliced

BEER-MARINATED GRILLED SKIRT STEAK
(adapted from Mexican Made Easy)

1 orange, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 + 1/2 pounds skirt steak
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 cup light-colored beer (preferably lager style)
1/2 cup soy sauce
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In a wide, shallow glass baking dish, scatter half of the orange slices, half of the onion slices and the garlic on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the steak all over with salt and pepper and put in the dish on top of the orange and onion slices. Scatter the remaining orange, onion and garlic over the steak and pour in the beer and soy sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
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Prepare a grill on medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the steak to your taste,  about 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second for medium-rare.
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Let the meat rest, tented with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing it.
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ENJOY!
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to print the recipe, click here
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served
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Comments:  Skirt-steak is one of the busy cook’s best friend!  Less than 10 minutes on the grill and you are on your way for a tasty dinner.  Now, if not only you are very busy but you also don’t have a functional kitchen, this type of meal will be a life-saver.   I like to wrap the meat in large butter lettuce leaves, top with salsa and/or guacamole, but this time I made it even simpler and only added fresh, juicy tomatoes, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of grated Cotija cheese, just to keep it on the Mexican environment…    😉 Of course, corn or flour tortillas, fajita-style are the most authentic way to go.
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The same marinade worked great on chicken thighs, as you may remember from a recent post.  I marinated the chicken the whole day in the beer-soy-oranges, roasted low and slow with the skin side down, then flipped the pieces to have the skin up, and finished them off under the broiler.
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BLOOD ORANGE DUCK: A WORK IN PROGRESS

For the longest time I admired photos of blood oranges, without being able to find any around.  Now that they are available on a regular basis, I am a happy camper, bringing a few home with me whenever I spot them at the grocery store.  What I love about blood oranges the most is their mysterious nature: you never know how red they will be inside.  The skin tries to give you a hint, but… it can be very deceiving.  For this particular recipe from Donna Hay, I needed a fairly large amount of their juice, so I went to work on my oranges, each with their unique shade of red. Gorgeous!

I had a few problems with the recipe, explaining why the “work in progress”. To start with, the orange juice must be reduced by boiling (together with orange marmalade, sugar and vinegar), for what Donna says it will be 12 to 15 minutes, until thickened. Since you must brush the skin of the duck with the resulting sauce, trust me: 15 minutes simply doesn’t do the trick. It took me over 35 minutes, and I had to watch the pan like a hawk, because it boiled over quite quickly.

In preparation for roasting, the duck’s skin is pricked with a skewer, and the bird is dropped in boiling water for 10 seconds. Think carefully about the whole strategy, because you will be placing a reasonably large piece of meat in boiling water, and removing it 10 short seconds later. The duck will have a very high tendency to slide. Boiling water. Slippery bird.  Not a good match.  Be prepared. Once that part is taken care of, you’ll brush its surface with the blood orange reduction sauce, placing it over a rack on a baking dish protected with foil, as you see here.

My next problem with the instructions was the roasting temperature and time.  According to the recipe, roast at 350 F for about 1 hour, then cover the duck with foil and roast for a further 20 to 30 minutes.  The photo in her book is a mouth-watering masterpiece of golden brown crispy skin. Not sure how she would get there in those conditions, I had to increase the temperature and cook my duck a lot longer, even though my duck was almost exactly the weight she recommends in her recipe.  In the end, the meat was not very flavorful, and definitely not tender the way I would like it to be.

The best part of the meal was the side dish I chose to go with it: shredded Napa cabbage, very simply dressed with lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, prepared 15 minutes before serving. Very refreshing, perfect to cut through the fatty duck.

So, it’s back to the drawing board on this one. I liked the flavor of the sauce, and feel that the recipe has the potential to be a winner. Knowing myself, though, I know it will take me a while to try it again. If anyone has suggestions, advice, tried and true methods, please post them in the comments or send them to me by email. I am all ears!

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TWO YEARS AGO: Memories of Pasteis (one of my favorite blog posts…)

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