Poultry/Game


Chicken Osso Buco

Chicken Osso Buco

Recently, we found some organic chicken thighs on sale (which never happens), and in searching for a fun way to serve them, I came across CL’s Osso Buco-Style Chicken Thighs.  Only one word can describe the outcome: YUM.  We modified it a little, and the complex flavors of the fresh gremolata (an absolute must in this dish) with the super creamy polenta and the spicy stew-like veggies worked so very well with basic chicken.  Everything came together much faster than expected, though there is some wait time with the tomato mixture–simply to let the flavors meld together.  We had a bit of leftover sauce, so I pureed it.  It reminds me of a cross between a bolognese base minus the meat and a vodka sauce minus the booze.  Since we froze it, I’m not sure if we’ll serve the sauce as is or transform it into something different.  Regardless, we loved the osso buco and the leftover pasta sauce.

While composing this dish, we started talking about our favorite composers and the piano and how it’s a perfect instrument, thus leading to watching piano concerts on YouTube.  Little did we know that we were about to come across one of the most talented pianists we’ve ever seen.  Valentina Lisitsa, who crazily plans to record all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas (something that typically takes a lifetime and, according to Valentina, something that more individuals have gone into space than actually done, of course), is stunning, was born with speedier fingers than anyone on Earth, and has so much strength in her hands she could quickly crush yours when shaking it.  Should you ever encounter this blonde, be careful.  Additionally, Valentina, a Ukrainian-born genius, in her spare time, maintains an organic garden in her North Carolina countryside home and loves cooking Italian food–something I learned after making osso buco, fittingly.  I know who I’ll be listening to when I next cook.

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds), skinned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions, chopped
  • 3-4 medium carrots, chopped (cubed, for a more accurate version of osso buco)
  • 2-3 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2-28 oz. cans whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Polenta:

  • 2 cups non-fat milk
  • 1-1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked polenta
  • 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Gremolata:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

Preparation

  1. To prepare chicken, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Add chicken to pan and cook about 4 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  4. Add a little more oil to the pan, over medium-high heat.
  5. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.  Sauté about 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in wine, scraping pan to loosen browned tasty bits.
  7. Add the tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and even a dash of salt; bring to a boil.
  8. Begin to break down the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.
  9. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 20 minutes.
  10. Return chicken to pan. Cover and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is done.
  11. Uncover and cook 5 minutes or until tomato mixture thickens.
  12. To prepare polenta, combine milk and broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil.
  13. Lower the heat; gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  14. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until thick and well combined, about 15 minutes (use the package’s advice).
  15. Remove from heat; stir in cheeses and salt.
  16. To prepare gremolata, combine parsley, rind, and garlic.
  17. Serve chicken mixture over polenta; sprinkle with gremolata.

Yields about 4-6 servings

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It was a Sunday.  I felt like cooking.  Cooking-all-day cooking.  We picked Moroccan as a theme.  The result? Moroccan chicken, two kinds of couscous, vegetable stew, red dal soup, Moroccan mint tea, and wheat naan.  The most delicious part of the day included bites with harissa and preserved lemons.  While we had never seen nor tasted either, endless blogs, recipes, and reviews insisted we have them.  They were right.

Our next plans include preserving our own lemons and pureeing our own chili peppers and spices.  The recipe that follows features the preserved lemons.  The red dal soup and vegetable stew highlight the harissa.  In fact, we’ve used the harissa in many recent dishes.  It’s our new ketchup.

(Please do mind the lack of quality and the excess of yellow in these lousy photos. I need a new camera, pronto.)

Moroccan Chicken

Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Olives

Moroccan Chicken

Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons & Olives

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Dash salt
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 3 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 preserved lemon, rinsed, pulp removed (if salty), and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup green olives
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 cups couscous, cooked

Preparation

  1. Combine first 9 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in spice mixture.
  2. Heat oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute garlic, onions, and shallots until translucent.
  3. Add chicken to skillet. Cook until slightly browned (about 2 minutes per side).
  4. Stir in broth and preserved lemon. Cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until chicken is done.
  5. Turn on broiler.
  6. Remove chicken from skillet.
  7. Add olives to lemon, broth, and onion mixture in skillet.  Bring to a boil and reduce.  Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in cilantro.
  9. Meanwhile, place chicken on broiler pan coated with cooking spray (or foil and cooking spray).
  10. Brush lightly with melted/softened butter.
  11. Broil until browned and crispy (about 2-3 minutes).
  12. Serve chicken atop couscous.  Top with sauce.

Yields about 4 servings.

Leftover noodles and chicken (grilled, rotisserie, whatever, really) work really well with this–especially when making a speedy meal.   Serve as a dinner entree or salad for lunch.

Asian Noodle Salad

Asian Noodle Salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 3-4 cups whole wheat noodles, cooked
  • 2 cups skinless, boneless cooked chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2+ tablespoons chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Thai sweet red chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (with Omega 3 is nice)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (or a little less if it’s super juicy/large)
  • 2-3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1+ teaspoons hot sauce (Sriracha is perfect, but Thai garlic chili paste works, too)

Preparation

  1. Combine noodles, chicken, and next 8 ingredients (through water chestnuts) in a large bowl; toss well.
  2. Prepare the dressing by combining the red chili sauce and next 6 ingredients (through hot sauce) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Drizzle dressing over noodle mixture; toss gently to coat.
  4. Sprinkle with peanuts; top with avocado.
  5. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Yields 2-3 servings for dinner, more for a side dish/lunch