April – Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomato Salad

April – Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomato Salad

That’s a big mouth of a title!  But it belies the ease and absolute deliciousness of this dish. The tahini-marinated chicken thighs finish baking with a crisp coating  and the tomato salad is a preview of coming summer salads. I am finding very acceptable cherry tomatoes at the grocery store right now, even though summer tomatoes are months away. Even nicer, they are often of different types and colors, a good stand-in while we wait for that first amazing local vine ripened tomato.

Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cucumber Tomato salad

It’s been awhile since I have had a blog worthy recipe, but this is it folks. I am not sure where I originally found this recipe and apologize for not giving credit. It has been in my files for quite some time, at least a year.

We have been eating very simply lately and I don’t think the blogosphere needs another post for grilled chicken or clean out your refrigerator salad. But it does need this delicious and interesting marinade for chicken. I bet it would be wonderful on fish as well, maybe I’ll try that next time. But back to this one, I used chicken thighs, skin on. You could also use it with breasts or skin off thighs. Keep the bone in though, I think it really does make a flavor difference especially with an overnight marination.

I do recommend that you marinate the thighs overnight, which take a bit of planning. The deep rich taste will make it worthwhile. Use a good brand of tahini, the one I use was highly recommended. It was not in any of my local stores but I found it on Amazon. A good tahini sauce will make a big difference both to this recipe and others such as hummus.

Tahini Sauce – this is the brand I use. Recommended by Yotam Ottolenghi

I made a couple of small modifications from the original recipe. I substituted lime zest and juice for the lemon and used sliced red onion in the salad. Feel free to use lemons if they are handy. I had used up all my lemons making preserved lemons a few weeks ago and forgot to buy them at the market. The ones on my backyard tree are still green.

Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup of tahini
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated (I used a microplane)
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion (microplane again)
  • 6 chicken thighs, bone in

Method:

  1. Dry the chicken thighs with a paper towel. You could remove the skin if you want, I didn’t. Place them in a ziplock bag or bowl.
  2. Combine all the marinade ingredients, pour 3/4 of the mix into the bag or bowl with the chicken. Scrunch everything together so the marinade coats each thigh, this is easy to do in a ziplock bag. Keep in the fridge overnight. When I thought about it, I turned the bag over to remix. Reserve the remaining tahini mixture separately in the fridge.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade but try and keep as much sauce on them as possible. Place them on a foil lined baking sheet or in a roasting pan, try to leave a little space between each thigh. Sprinkle them with a little coarse salt. Discard any leftover chicken marinade from the bag or bowl.
  5. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until brown and done, the time will depend on the size of your thighs.
  6. Let the thighs rest while you make the salad.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup chopped cucumber, peeled and seeded if necessary
  2. 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, different colors and types if possible
  3. 1/2 small red onion, sliced
  4. 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
  5. 1 tablespoon mint, roughly chopped
  6. 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  7. 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  8. coarse salt to taste

Method:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and give them a toss.
  2. Serve with the chicken.

Drizzle the extra tahini sauce over the chicken when serving.

Tahini Marinated Chicken Thighs with Tomato Cucumber Salad

The thighs were tender but lightly crisp.

Tahini Marinated Chicken Thighs with Tomato Cucumber Salad

And the tomato salad could be a stand in for this summers coming tomato salads. In the bay area we often have to wait until August or September…a long way away. It wouldn’t hurt to add a chopped avocado if you happen to have one laying around, just saying.

Tahini Marinated Chicken Thighs with Tomato Cucumber Salad

This is a Fiesta Friday worthy recipe. It has been a few months since I joined the party and I think this is one the group will enjoy. This week is is Fiesta Friday #221.

What is Fiesta Friday? It is a gathering of bloggers with links to their posts, all hosted by Angie on her Fiesta Friday site. you can think click on any links that interest you. Angie usually have one or two co-hosts and this week it is Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes.

Each week Angie and her co-host select four outstanding recipes or posts from the previous week’s group to feature. There are some amazing blogs out there!

Please stop by the party.

 

 

September in the Kitchen – Chicken and Carrots with Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric

September in the Kitchen – Chicken and Carrots with Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric

Ok, this is a “do-over”. Last October I posted this recipe for slow cooked chicken and carrots with cumin, turmeric and coriander. I’ve been wanting to make it again for ages, but never got around to it. The flavor combination is wonderful, but there were too many steps and I wanted to speed things up a bit. I wondered, could this be a “make ahead” company dish? The answer is yes! Here is my improved version of the original recipe.

Chicken and Carrots with Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric

Chicken and Carrots with Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric

Chicken and Carrots with Cumin, Coriander, and Turmeric

  • Two bunches of medium sized carrots, peeled and tops removed.
  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on – trim them of any extra skin and fat
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of Aleppo pepper or other mild chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • Fresh cilantro (or mint) chopped, as a garnish
  1. Trim the chicken thighs, wipe them dry with a paper towel, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small dry skillet. When toasty brown and aromatic, remove them to a plate to cool. Grind them in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Combine with the thyme, turmeric and chili pepper, add about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.IMG_3489
  4. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a very large skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs, skin side down. (You may need to do this in two batches, don’t crowd the skillet.) Cook for 10 minutes without turning, at that point they should be golden brown and easily release from the pan. Brown the other side for another 5-10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium if they appear to be cooking too quickly.
  5. Remove the chicken to a plate and cook the second batch of thighs if necessary.IMG_3490
  6. Toss the peeled carrots with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add them to the skillet. Cook, turning them as they brown, until lightly caramelized. This will take about 7-10 minutes.IMG_3492
  7. Remove the carrots to a plate.
  8. Wipe out the skillet, place it back over medium heat, and add the butter. Once melted, add the spice mixture and stir to mix.
  9. Place the chicken back in the skillet (adding any accumulated juices as well), turning the thighs to coat with spices. Add the carrots and gently mix. IMG_3493
  10. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until the chicken and carrots are done.

You can make this ahead through step 9. Refrigerate once cool. When you are ready to finish the meal, reheat the skillet gently on the stove before finishing in the oven. Garnish with chopped cilantro (the fresh leaves of coriander) or mint.

Serve with rice or quinoa or polenta or good crisp bread, and a salad.

January in the kitchen – Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

January in the kitchen – Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

This is the second of three chili dishes, and the only one made in a slow cooker. I used Good Mother Stallard beans, but you could use dry tepary or navy beans. You need to start by soaking the beans the night before.

Heirloom dried beans

Heirloom Good Mother Stallard Beans

  • 1 pound of dried tepary, navy or other bean of choice
  • 10 boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 slices of thick bacon, chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 dried whole pasilla peppers
  • 4 cups of chicken stock such as Magic Mineral with Chicken
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 Anaheim or poblano peppers, seeded, ribs removed and cut into 1/3 inch dice
  • 1 small Serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 cups of peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (1 inch)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Rinse the beans; pick them over to remove any stones. Place in a large pot and cover with at least 2 inches of cold water. Soak the beans overnight.
  2. The next day, drain and rinse the beans again. Cover with cold water, add the whole dried pasilla peppers to the water and bring to a boil and cook until the beans are soft but still retain some bite. Depending on your bean type this will take an hour or more. Cool in the cooking water, removing and discarding the dried pepper.
  3. Heat a skillet and fry the bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels.
  4. In the bacon fat remaining in the skillet, sauté the chopped onions on medium heat until softened (about 10 minutes), add the garlic and fresh peppers. Continue to cook on low for another 5. Sprinkle with paprika, chili powder and cocoa, stir well then add the tomato paste and honey and stir again. Add one cup of the chicken stock to the skillet and stir up any crusty bits in the pan.
  5. Drain the beans over a bowl so you can keep the cooking water.
  6. Add the chopped chicken to the slow cooker, cover with the onion and spice mixture, drained beans, bacon, cubed sweet potatoes, and remaining 3 cups of chicken stock. Stir well.
  7. The liquid level should just cover the beans and chicken. Add some bean cooking liquid if needed.
Into the Slow Cooker

Into the Slow Cooker

  1. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  2. Serve garnished with shredded cheese, yogurt or sour cream, finely chopped red onion, and cilantro.
Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

Chicken Chili with Beans and Sweet Potatoes

December in the kitchen – Coconut crusted chicken and persimmon caprese

December in the kitchen – Coconut crusted chicken and persimmon caprese

I love a crisp coating on chicken, but would like to avoid the refined carbohydrates and fat of fried chicken. I’ve been searching for something that gives chicken that same satisfying crunch in a baked version. Paleo circles use almond meal to coat chicken. I tried it and found it to be too heavy, not crisp enough, and fairly high in calories (although delicious).

Then I had an idea; what about coconut meal? Maybe coconut meal (which has more texture than coconut flour) would be a healthy way to add coconut flavor to the chicken, eliminate gluten, and increase crispness. As an added benefit, it is both high in fiber and low in saturated fat. And, coconut fried shrimp have a lovely crunch (although there is still the problem of frying), so crunch is possible.

Thus was born Coconut Crusted Chicken!

With the chicken I wanted to serve something festive. There were some Fuyu persimmons, picked up at a farm stand the week before, in a bowl on the counter. I made a simple caprese salad by replacing the usual tomatoes with persimmons, garnishing with pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds. As a finishing touch I drizzled an aged balsamic vinegar over the whole.

coconut crusted chicken

Coconut crusted chicken

Coconut Crusted Chicken

  • 6 -8 bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed to remove any excess skin and fat (you can use other cuts, adjust the cooking time)
  • 1 cup of coconut meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place racks in a roasting or baking pan large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer.
  3. Place the coconut meal, salt, and cumin in a shallow bowl or plate and mix.
  4. Roll the chicken in the coating, patting it on to cover all sides
  5. Place the chicken, skin side up, on the racks.
  6. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour until juices run clear and chicken is crisp.
persimmon salad with mozzarella

Persimmon caprese

Persimmon Caprese Salad

  • 4 fuyu persimmons, sliced about ¼ inch thick
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ¼ cup of pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup of chopped roast almonds
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Alternate the persimmon and mozzarella slices on a platter.
  2. Generously salt and pepper.
  3. Garnish with the almonds and pomegranate seeds.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
persimmon salad

Persimmon caprese

I added a salad of arugula for a touch of green and the sharpness of the leaves.

Coconut crusted chicken with persimmon caprese

Coconut crusted chicken with persimmon caprese

It worked!

I’m taking this to the party at Friday Favorites sponsored by the Blog The Diary of a Real Housewife, and Real Food Fridays sponsored by Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen. Come join us at the last parties of 2014. Happy Holidays!