I Hear There is Yummy Chicken in Morocco

Morrocan Chicken Final

This one requires some explanation. I have this Dutch Oven cookbook that I like a lot and this recipe title caught my eye, Moroccan Chicken and Pastina Bake. The picture above is from the second time I made this dish (I trashed all of the pics from the first time because they did not look yummy enough).

I hate to say it, but the first time I made it, it was bland and tasteless. And, I always follow the instructions explicitly when it’s a new recipe so you know I’m speaking the truth here. However, when necessary, I will take artistic license on future attempts of a recipe.

Trust me. It was necessary.

I thought it was weird that I wasn’t instructed to brown the chicken first (so, essentially boiled chicken. yuck.) So, on my second attempt, I used a Tweaked Out version of a Bob Greene pork rub to give it some pizzazz. For the original rub, click here.

My family agreed that my zipped up version of this Morrocan dish was waaaayy better than the original. The recipe below is what I’ll be going with from now on.

Moroccan Chicken with a Bob Greene Kick / The Dutch Oven Cookbook

Servings:  6-8

Cook & Prep Time: 90 minutes (30 minutes prep / 60 minutes cooking)

 You will need: 

  • a 7-qt Le Creuset stock pot
  • 1 small mixing bowl
  • a garlic press (unless you want to mince your garlic)
  • chef’s knife
  • tongs
  • zester
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

Chicken & Rub:

10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 garlic cloves, pressed

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

2 Tablespoons of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 Tablespoon of cinnamon

1/2 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Everything Else:

1 lb of cherry tomatoes, rinsed and stemmed

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of salt (and more to taste)

1 large red onion, diced

1 quart of chicken stock

1 lb of penne pasta

2 cinnamon sticks

Zest and juice of 1 orange

Directions: 

Chicken:

Prepare the chicken first. In a small bowl, mix the following ingredients: dark brown sugar, oregano, cinnamon, salt and unsweetened cocoa powder. Mix these well with a fork. Then, add the pressed garlic and olive oil.  Use a fork to mix thoroughly until it is like a paste.

Place your chicken thighs on a cutting board. Dry them with a paper towel and then add the rub to the top of chicken thighs. Then, let the chicken marinate in the rub at room temperature for thirty minutes.

Chicken with Rub

While the chicken is marinating, prepare everything else so you are ready to go. And, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat some olive oil in the stock pot to medium high. Brown the chicken thighs on both sides for about 2 minutes each. Place on a platter until all have been browned.

While the chicken is resting, add the tablespoon of olive oil to the stock pot. Add the cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover the stock pot and put in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.

When the 15 minutes is up, pull the stock pot out of the oven, place on the stove and add the rest of the ingredients. Layer: pasta, chicken thighs, red onion, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, orange juice and chicken stock. Make sure there is enough liquid to just cover everything. (If you need to add a bit more stock, do it.)

Add a little more salt and pepper, put the lid back on the stock pot and put the pot back in the 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.  

The revised version of this dish was very tasty! Try it, you’ll like it.

I promise.

 

Chicken Avgolemono (Huh?)

From Dictonary.com:

av·go·lem·o·no

 Greek  [ahv-goh-lem-uh-noh; Greek ahv-gaw-le-maw-naw] noun Greek Cookery. A  soup or sauce made with beaten eggs, lemon juice, and usually chicken broth.

Lemon Chicken Soup - Greek

This is another recipe from my new soup cookbook, easy soups.

New Cookbook

The hubs called with the usual inquiry, “What’s for dinner?” I didn’t know how to answer because I couldn’t pronounce the name of the soup!

Below is the original recipe. I doubled it for our family of four just so we could have some leftovers.

Here are a couple of observations:

Observation numero uno ~ some of the rice was crunchy. Yes, I know. I obviously did not let it cook long enough. After discussing with the family, we decided that orzo would be a better substitute so the next time I make it, I’m making it with orzo.

Observation numero dos, regarding the homemade croutons, um yeah. Something went awry. I don’t think the oil was hot enough or the bread wasn’t stale enough. After I cooked them in the stockpot in the oil, they got kind of soggy. I had to crisp them up by baking them in the oven. Next, time? I’m using store-bought croutons. Blasphemy, I know.

Chicken Avgolemono / Easy Soups pg 159

Servings:  4

Cook & Prep Time: 55 minutes total – 20 minutes for prep / 30-35 minutes for cooking

 You will need: 

  • a 7-quart stock pot
  • chef’s knife
  • a couple of mixing bowls
  • a ladle
  • measuring utensils
  • various spoons and spatulas

Ingredients:

Soup:

6 cups (or 1.5 quarts) of chicken stock

1 roasted chicken from the deli section of grocery, remove skin and pull all meat from the bones.

1/2 cup of long-grain rice

3 eggs

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Croutons:

6 tablespoons of olive oil

4 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled & smashed

3 slices of stale white bread (3/4 inch thick, cut into 3/4 inch cubes)

Fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions: 

 Bread cubes & garlic

Heat the stockpot to super hot, add the olive oil, and garlic cloves. When one cube sizzles and turns brown in 4 seconds, it’s time to add the bread cubes. Cook (stirring constantly) over medium heat for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Discard the garlic and drain the bread cubes on a paper towel.

Croutons

In the same stockpot, keep heat on medium and add the chicken stock. Next add the rice and bring to a boil. Bring down to a simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Add the chicken until completely warmed through. I let it cook for about 15 minutes.

While the chicken is warming in the soup, whisk the eggs and the lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Next, whisk a ladle of warm chicken stock into the egg/lemon mixture to thin and temper the eggs.

Bring the heat down to low and pour the egg/lemon/stock mixture into the stockpot while vigorously whisking (you don’t want to scramble the eggs). This will thicken the soup. Remove from heat. 

Your soup is ready!

Serve in soup bowels and garnish with the croutons.

Avgolemono is a hearty, easy soup and I highly recommend giving it a try!

Bawdy, Flattened Chicken (aka Chicken Paillard)

IMG_8205 FinalDid you know that paillard in French means bawdy? I looked it up online and that’s what I found. Hmmm… Obviously, in culinary terms, it means flattened. How did meaning get from bawdy to flattened?

If anyone out there really knows French and determines that the research I did was faulty, please feel free to correct me.

I’ve made this dish three times and the third time was the best. Below is my modified recipe. The original recipe can be found in my Rachael Ray Classic 30-Minute Meals cookbook.

Chicken Paillard on Baby Greens / Classic 30-Minute Meals

Servings:  4 (depends on how many chicken breast you want to buy)

Cook & Prep Time: 35 minutes (15 minutes for prepping and 20 minutes for cooking).

You will need: 

  • a large skillet
  • large plate & foil
  • dish for flour
  • tongs
  • whisk
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Chicken Ingredients:

8 chicken cutlets

Olive oil

4 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces (let it set out and get to room temperature)

4 tablespoons of flour, then additional flour for coating chicken

Fresh tarragon, chopped

1 lemon, need both zest and juice

1/4 cup of white wine

2 cups of chicken stock

salt and pepper

1 bag of baby greens

Directions: 

Lay out the chicken breast cutlets on a cutting board, pat dry with a paper towel. Then dredge each piece in flour and season both sides with salt and pepper.

In the large skillet, heat the oil on medium to medium-high heat. Cook the chicken cutlets for 3 minutes per side.  Put the chicken in pan, sprinkle with some tarragon and lemon zest. Flip the chicken, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the second side and also sprinkle with some tarragon. When done remove the chicken to a platter and cover with foil.

While the chicken is cooking, mix the 4 tablespoons of flour and the room-temperature butter until it looks like a paste. You will use this to thicken your sauce.

Once the chicken is done cooking, use the same pan and turn the heat down to low and give it a minute. Add the white wine to the pan to deglaze. Next add the flour-butter paste and whisk quickly – this is your rue. Turn the heat up to medium. While whisking, add the chicken stock and keeping stirring until the butter, flour and chicken stock are thoroughly incorporated. Your sauce is done when it can coat a spoon.

If you have left over tarragon, add it to your sauce. Also, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the sauce as well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The Greens:  You are supposed to just use some lemon juice and olive oil. I did this the first time and it was too lemon-y. The last time I made it, I bought some Henri’s® Sweet & Tangy Blend Tas-tee Homestyle Dressing for the greens. I just used a light coating for baby greens. It was a nice complement to the chicken.

To Serve, cover the bottom of the plate with the warm sauce. Top with a small pile of the baby greens, 2 chicken cutlets and then drizzle more sauce over the tops of the cutlets.

Sides: I’ve made pasta as a side as you can see in the picture (use the brown sauce on the pasta). I’ve also made roasted asparagus – 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, asparagus, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese.

It’s been well-received every time I’ve made it. It’s a quick, but elegant meal if you need to impress someone and don’t have a lot of time!

Crock Pot ~ Creamy Braised Chicken Pappardelle

IMG_7488

Pappardelle noodles. I’ve never had them or cooked with them.  You will notice in the picture above that those are not pappardelle noodles. When at the store buying the ingredients for this dish, I was disappointed to find that the three remaining bags of pappardelle noodles were crushed to tiny bits. This just wouldn’t do.

So, I bought a pricier bag of fresh linguine noodles instead. They were a fine substitute.

I will definitely be making this again since everyone licked their bowls clean at the table (I’d never seen anything like it) and I will be using pappardelle noodles. What are they? They are wide ribbon-like linguine noodles and they make your dish look pretty.

Where did I get this creamy and delicious recipe? From my new cookbook that I received as a Christmas present:

IMG_7497

Braised Chicken Pappardelle / The New Slow Cooker (pg 113)

Servings: 6

Cook & Prep Time: 25-30 minutes for prepping / 5 to 6 hours for cooking

You will need:

  • Crock Pot
  • Pasta Pot
  • 7-quart stock pot
  • Iron skillet
  • Tongs
  • Whisk
  • Chef’s knife
  • Resting plate for the chicken
  • 1 gallon storage bag
  • measuring utensils – dry and liquid

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken about 3.5 lbs, cut into 10 pieces (I did not do this. I used 3.5 lbs of skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs – they take the same amount of time to cook and it’s very easy to remove the bones.)

In the gallon storage bag:

1 cup of flour

3/4 teaspoon of salt

pepper

1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1 stalk of celery, finely chopped

3/4 cup of dry white wine

3/4 cup of chicken stock

3 bay leaves

2/3 cup of heavy cream (I used 1 cup)

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 of the lemon

2 Teaspoons of chopped tarragon (I used 2 Tablespoons and some additional for garnish).

1 lb of pappardelle

Directions:

Pat the chicken dry. Then, one at a time add a chicken piece to the bag to toss and coat. Shake the any loose flour and place on a cutting board.

In the iron skillet over medium high heat, melt the olive oil and the butter. Brown each piece of chicken on both sides. You will have to do this in batches. I placed the pieces skin-side down first for 7 minutes and then flipped for another 3 minutes.

Once all of the pieces are browned, turn the heat down a bit on the iron skillet and remove some of the fat. Leave some for sauteing the veggies. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and saute for about 5 minutes.

Add the wine and chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes.

When done simmering, pour this wine/veggie mixture into the crock pot or slow cooker (I grew up with the term crock pot so that’s what I’m used to). Next, place the chicken pieces on top. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. The chicken should be falling off the bone – that’s when you’ll know it’s done.

When the crock pot time is done, remove the chicken from the crock pot and place on a platter. Remove the skin and the bones, place the chicken in a bowl and shred with a fork. Set aside.

At this time, get the pasta pot ready and cook the pasta by following the directions on the package. The fresh pasta I used only took 5 minutes to cook.

Place the 7-quart stock pot on the stove on medium heat. Pour the contents of the crock pot into the stock pot. Simmer for 5 minutes, then whisk in the cream, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some grinds of pepper. Let simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the lemon zest, lemon juice and tarragon. Keep the sauce warm until the pasta is ready.

When the pasta is done, drain and add to the stock pot. Stir to coat and combine thoroughly. Then add the chicken and let warm through – about 3-5 minutes.

It’s ready to eat!

To serve, dish into pasta bowls and garnish with fresh tarragon.

This is not a typical crock pot recipe where you throw every in and forget about it. It takes some prep work, but it is really worth it. Trust me.

Sauteed Chicken & Olives with Dijon Asparagus

This recipe is a variation of one that I saw in my everyday FOOD magazine. I used sliced green olives instead of capers because that’s what I had available in my pantry.

Both the main dish and the side dish are very easy and quick to fix. And, everyone (and, I mean, everyone) cleans his or her plate!

The kids do pick around the green olives, but they do add a nice salty flavor to the sauce.

Sauteed Chicken with Olives / everyday FOOD (variation)

Servings:  4 (depends on how many chicken breast you want to buy)

Cook & Prep Time: 25 to 35 minutes (15 minutes for prepping and 10-15 minutes for cooking).

You will need: 

  • a large skillet
  • a medium skillet
  • tongs
  • whisk
  • wooden spoon
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Chicken Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts or 8 chicken cutlets

Olive oil (about 3 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces

Flour

1 2.25-oz can of sliced green olives

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

Asparagus Ingredients:

2 bundles of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

8 oz of bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

Directions: 

Chicken:

Lay out the chicken breasts on a cutting board, pat dry with a paper towel. Then dredge each piece in flour and season both sides with salt and pepper.

In the large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add one to two pats/tablespoons of butter and cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes. Then flip the chicken and cook for another 3-4 minutes. When done remove the chicken to a platter and cover with foil.

Now add the white wine vinegar to the pan to deglaze. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits. Then, add the butter and the olives (including the brine) to the pan. Stir until the butter is melted. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the skillet and warm for a few minutes.

I fix the asparagus while the chicken is cooking.

Asparagus:

In another skillet, cook the bacon until is crisp (medium high heat). When done, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate.

Add the asparagus to the skillet and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the Dijon mustard and the bacon pieces. Cook for another 3 minutes or so.

Side Dish:   None. The chicken and the asparagus were enough.

To Serve, cover the chicken with the olive sauce and serve with a spoonful of the asparagus.

This dinner is very easy and delicious. We’ve had this a few times. Also, I’ve made the side dish with green beans instead of asparagus (which was more popular with kids).

Chicken Poached in Cream Sauce

This is a recipe from the cookbook, Harvest to Heat. I had a free night (no taxing driving services needed) so I could make something that took some time.

The recipe calls for Morel mushrooms, but yeah, they aren’t in season and even if they were, I couldn’t afford a pound of them for this recipe! I substituted the morels with baby bellas.

Just FYI, this dish is not part of a heart healthy diet. You have been warned.

Poached Chicken with Mushrooms and Asparagus / Harvest to Heat

Servings:  4

Cook & Prep Time: 90 minutes (20 minutes for prepping and 70 minutes for cooking).

You will need: 

  • a high-sided large skillet
  • a smaller skillet (for the asparagus)
  • whisk
  • wooden spoon
  • tongs
  • chef’s knife
  • measuring utensils (liquid)

Ingredients:

4 skinless, bone-in chicken breasts

1 lb of asparagus, whole or cut into 1-inch pieces

5 tablespoons of butter

1 pound of sliced baby bellas (mushrooms)

4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems

1 small shallot, minced

3/4 cup of white wine

2 cups of heavy cream

2 cups of chicken stock

1/2 cup of creme fraiche (or sour cream)

a pinch of cayenne

salt and pepper

Directions: 

Lay out the chicken pieces on a cutting board, pat dry with a paper towel, and season both sides with salt and pepper.

In the large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and saute the shallots for 5 minutes. Then, add the mushrooms and thyme. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and a slight crust has formed on the bottom of the skillet (about 5 minutes).

Deglaze the skillet with the white wine and cook until there is a about a tablespoon of liquid in the pan (about 15 minutes).

Now, add the heavy cream and the chicken stock. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken breasts to the liquid, bring back up to simmer, cover and then reduce heat to medium. Cook for 25 minutes.

When the chicken is done, remove the chicken from the skillet to a platter and cover with foil. Turn the heat up a bit to reduce the sauce – reduce to about half (about 10-15 minutes.)

While the sauce was reducing, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the smaller skillet, add the asparagus and cook for about 8 minutes. 

When the sauce is done reducing, add the creme fraiche (or sour cream) and heat over medium heat until just warm. Add the cayenne and season with salt and pepper.

The meal is ready!

Side Dish:   Spoon the sauce over the chicken and plate the asparagus. I served this with rice.

This was really, really good. Too bad it’s not really good for you. Despite that bad news, I would definitely give this one a go!

Tangy Cilantro Chicken Tacos

This is another recipe from my Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine. I think I can honestly say that I’ve never made tacos for dinner. Why? I’m not really sure. I’ll have to think about it and get back with you on that one.

This one had chicken and sounded really good. So what the heck? There’s a first time for everything, right?

This taco recipe called for tomatillos – before this meal, I’m not sure I could have identified one if put in front of me. I was intrigued so I decided to give this recipe a try.

It was pretty easy to put together and everyone gave it good reviews.

I did tweak this recipe a lot, but kept the essence of it.

Tangy Cilantro Chicken Tacos / Everyday Food Magazine

Servings:  5-6

Cook & Prep Time: 1 hour (15 minutes for prepping and 40-45 minutes for cooking).

You will need: 

  • a bowl
  • stock pot
  • zester
  • tongs
  • chef’s knife
  • basting brush
  • measuring utensils (dry and liquid)

Ingredients:

8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs (some packages have 5 thighs and some have 4 – it’s a crap shoot).

2 tablespoons of canola oil

3/4 – 1 lb of tomatillos, large dice

1/2 package of grape tomatoes, quartered

1 medium yellow onion, diced

2 1/2 teaspoons of ground cumin

3/4 cup of chopped cilantro

2 fresh limes (some lime zest from one lime)

8 oz of shredded cheese (Monterey jack, cheddar, whatever)

shredded romaine lettuce

1 avocado

12 taco shells (soft or crunchy)

sour cream for garnishing

salt and pepper

Directions: 

Dice the tomatillos, onion and tomatoes.

Lay out the chicken pieces on a cutting board, pat dry with a paper towel, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Then, quarter them (no need to dice).

Heat the canola oil in the stock pot to medium-high heat. Brown the chicken. While browning, zest the lime over the chicken and squeeze the juice of half of a lime over the chicken.

Then add the diced onion, tomatillos, tomatoes and the ground cumin to the pot. Stir for about 3 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup of water to the pot. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce is reduced and thickened (about 25 minutes) and the chicken can be shredded with a fork. You may need to add another 1/2 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees to warm the soft shells – about 10 minutes. I wrapped mine in foil. No need to do this until the chicken is almost done cooking.

When done, shred the chicken with forks, add the cilantro and squeeze the juice of the other half of the lime.

Remove the soft taco shells from the oven, place the chicken mixture in the taco shell and garnish as you like:

Garnishes – cheese, cilantro, yellow tomatoes, lime (I cut this lime into 8ths), sour cream, shredded romaine lettuce, diced fresh avocados.

Side Dish:   I served this with a salad and chips with salsa.

Look at the dessert that my Maddie made from scratch for us tonight! YUMMY!