Chickpea Tagine with Chicken and Bulgur

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By Freya Bellin

I’ve had several variations of tagine, but this one is easily my favorite, thanks to spot-on seasoning and the unusual addition of bulgur. This spice blend is deliciously aromatic, filling my kitchen (not to mention the hallway leading up to the apartment) with an irresistible sweetness. The raisins plump up beautifully and complement the cinnamon and ginger. The chicken thighs become super tender from being browned and then braised.  Yet the real winner for me was the bulgur. It makes a great hearty base for the other ingredients and manages to absorb all the flavors of the stew. My only suggestion for varying this recipe would be to add a dash of cayenne pepper to the spice blend for a little heat and contrast to the natural sweetness. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Posted in Middle Eastern, Recipes

6th Day of HTCE: Chicken Adobo

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I’m giving away copies of the new How to Cook Everything iPad App, one every day until new year’s eve. Just sign up for the newsletter (look to your left) to enter the running. I’ll pick an email address at random and send you the App.

Chicken Adobo

Makes: 4 servings

Time: About 11/4hours

This Philippine classic has been called the best chicken dish in the world by a number of my friends and readers. It is cooked in liquid first, then roasted, grilled, or broiled. Here, however, the initial poaching liquid is reduced to make a sauce to pass at the table for both the chicken and white rice, the natural accompaniment. The coconut milk isn’t mandatory, though it does enrich the sauce considerably.

Other protein you can use: pork chops (bone-in or boneless).

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Posted in Behind The Scenes

Braised Chard with Chicken and Steel-Cut Oats

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By Freya Bellin

I’ve never thought to use oats in a savory dish, so this recipe immediately caught my eye.  The headnote mentions that you can substitute bulgur, which maybe sounds like a more suitable dinner grain, but is actually quite similar to steel-cut oats. I opted for the oats and was pleasantly surprised by how well they fit in as a savory ingredient, with their nutty flavor and chewy texture.  It makes a nice base for the sweet, vinegary sauce.

This one-pot dish comes together pretty quickly once you get it on the stove; separating and chopping the chard was probably the most time-consuming piece of the whole process, although I was happy to make use of both the stems and leaves.  Browning the chicken thighs really deepens the flavor of the dish, which tastes best when eaten hot right away. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Posted in Recipes

Sunday Supper: Chicken Cutlets and Tomatoes in Packages

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Chicken Cutlets and Tomatoes in Packages

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 1 hour

You can steam chicken directly over water, but better, in my opinion, is to steam the chicken, along with the flavorful juices of wine, tomato, oil, or stock, in a wrapped package in the oven. This method—traditionally called cooking en papillote—is simple and foolproof. It’s also impressive to serve individual packages at the table, using either parchment paper or aluminum foil to wrap the chicken and its seasonings. Easier still, if not quite as attractive, is to combine everything in a covered glass or ceramic baking dish.

Other protein you can use in this recipe: any cutlets—pork, veal, or turkey.

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Posted in Recipes

Dinner with Bittman: Arroz Con Pollo

Recipe from How to Cook Everything.

Arroz Con Pollo

Makes: 4 servings

Time: About 1 hour

There are as many ways to make this as there are to make fried chicken, and they’re all pretty good. This version is stripped to its bare essentials: onion, chicken, and rice. You can add peas, red pepper, tomato, seasonings like bay leaves and allspice—well, see the variation for a more complex version. Stock makes the best cooking liquid, but the commonly used water works well, because as it simmers with the chicken they combine to produce a flavorful broth, which is in turn absorbed by the rice.

Saffron is not essential here, though it is welcome. More often than not, though, people make arroz con pollo with turmeric or annatto oil, which are more about color than flavor; the dish is customarily yellow. Take your pick.

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Posted in Mexican, Recipes

Dinner with Bittman: Roasted Chicken Cutlets with Bread Crumbs

Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Roasted Chicken Cutlets with Bread Crumbs

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes

This is the easiest way to give boneless, skinless chicken a tasty crunch. If you like, mix a handful of chopped nuts in with the bread crumbs; almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and  pistachios are all good, as are peanuts.

Other protein you can use: any cutlets—pork, veal, or turkey.

2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, or melted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

1 cup coarse bread crumbs, preferably fresh, or panko

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or finely chopped nuts 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 1 1/2 boneless white-meat chicken (breasts, cutlets, or tenders), pounded to uniform thickness if necessary

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Grease a baking sheet with a little oil or butter. Combine the bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/4 cup of the parsley in a shallow bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until well coated.

2. Dip one side of each chicken breast first in egg white, then in the bread crumb mixture, pressing down to make it adhere. Put each breast, crumb side up, on the baking sheet. If there’s any leftover topping, sprinkle it on top of the breasts and press down a bit.

3. Roast until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 20 minutes or more, basting once or twice with pan juices (to check for doneness, cut into a piece with a thin-bladed knife; the center should be white or slightly pink). Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve.

Posted in American, Recipes

Food Matters Cookbook: Sneak Preview Recipe

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Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook. Pre-order the book today or pick up a copy when it’s released on September 21st.

Plum Chicken Salad

Makes: 4 servings                                                                                                       

Time: 30 minutes with leftover cooked chicken                                                                                    

Firm plums are perfect here, but chicken tastes good with almost any fruit, so if plums aren’t available, try peaches, apples, pears, berries, or even tropical fruit. You can vary the nuts too (check out the variation).

About 8 ounces fresh plums, pitted and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup chopped almonds

Salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

1/4 cup olive oil

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

1/2 red onion, chopped

8 ounces roasted or grilled boneless, skinless chicken, chopped or shredded (about 2 cups)

6 cups mixed greens (like mesclun), torn into bite-size pieces

1. Toss the plums with the vinegar in a large salad bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

2. Meanwhile, put the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan frequently, until they are aromatic and beginning to darken, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

3. Sprinkle the plums with salt and pepper and add the oregano, oil, celery, onion, and chicken; toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. (The salad can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated for up to an hour.) To serve, divide the greens evenly among 4 plates and top each with some of the plum-chicken mixture, or add the greens to the salad bowl and toss everything together. Garnish with the toasted almonds.

Fig Chicken Salad. Substitute fresh figs, quartered, for the plums and use hazelnuts instead of almonds.

 

Posted in Behind The Scenes, Recipes

Politics of the Plate

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by Barry Estabrook

Something to Squawk About

During the winter here in Vermont, my 12 laying hens seem content enough residing in a retrofitted horse stable. But when I open the henhouse door for the first time in the spring, feathers literally fly as the birds stampede to get outside. In celebration of their newfound liberty, they flap, run, peck, and scratch—in short, behave like chickens.

Which is why I’m always skeptical when a factory farm claims that hens are perfectly happy spending their entire lives crammed into barns with tens of thousands of other chickens in stacked battery cages each not much bigger than the average computer screen. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) apparently agrees. Last week, the organization filed a complaint asking the Federal Trade Commission to stop Rose Acre Farms, the country’s second largest egg producer, from making “false and misleading animal welfare claims.” Continue reading

Posted in Farming, Food Politics

Sunday Supper: Meat-y Paella

[This week I wrote about peas (and offered up some recipes) in my column Kitchen Daily. My feeling, in general, is that frozen peas work just fine in many applications, and throughout most of the year, so there’s no reason to get hung up (or feel guilty) about using them. Of course if there’s any time you’re going to use fresh peas, this is it (as long as you don’t mind shelling them). That’s especially true if you’re going to serve them solo, but, really, for a paella? I almost always use frozen and neither I nor (I think) anyone else knows the difference.]

Meat-y Paealla

Makes 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

[Adapted from How to Cook Everything]

Far from a major production, basic paella is a simple combination of rice and other good stuff; terrific Sunday night dish and a staple in coastal Spain for centuries.

3 1/2 cups any stock or water

Pinch saffron threads

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 medium onion, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces Spanish chorizo or other cooked or smoked sausage

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/2 dry white wine

1/2 cup tomato puree

2 cups short- or medium-grain rice, preferably paella rice or Arborio

1 cup peas (frozen are fine)

1 cup peeled shrimp (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/2-inch chunks

Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Warm the stock with the saffron in a small saucepan. Put the oil in a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, cook the chicken until deeply browned on both sides, then add the onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the chorizo, paprika, wine, and tomato purée; bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice, scattering it in the pan as evenly as possible, cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s shiny, another minute or two. Carefully add the warm stock  and peas and stir until just combined, then tuck the shrimp into the top before putting in the oven.

3. Put the pan in the oven and bake, undisturbed, for 15 or 20 minutes. Check to see if the rice is dry and just tender. If not, return the pan to the oven for 5 minutes. If the rice looks too dry at this point, but still isn’t quite done, add a small amount of stock or water. When the rice is ready, turn off the oven and let it sit for at least 5 and up to 15 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with parsley. If you like, put the pan over high heat for a few minutes to develop a bit of a bottom crust before serving.

Posted in Recipes, Spanish