Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken with Apricots, Olives, and Almonds

Sometimes you have to take risks in life. Some men quit their jobs to start their own companies. Some climb the highest peaks or ride the rapidest rivers. I choose to serve dinner with ingredients the wifey and I dislike. 

Dinner is served.

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 onion, trimmed, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds in a spice bag
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons low-sodium chicken broth
(1) 7 3/4 ounce can chickpeas, drained
8 large green olives (condition to be debated in commentary)
1/4 cup dried apricots (condition to be debated in commentary)
1/4 cup sliced almonds

If necessary, remove skin and bones from chicken thighs.

In a the slow cooker, toss the chicken thighs with the onion, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and chicken broth, cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir in the chickpeas, olives and apricots, cover and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the apricots are plump, about 1 hour. Remove the bay leaf and season the juices with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the almonds in a pie plate and toast for about 7 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden.

Spoon the chicken and juices into shallow bowls, sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.

Check your nuts! Seriously. Testicular cancer is nothing to laugh at. Also check you nuts as you toast them. I checked them. They seemed almost done. I went pee. I get back and they are burnt and smoky. Luckily I had bought a half cup bag of almond slices!

None of my regular readers will be surprised to learn this is a Food & Wine recipe. The only meaningful chance I made from the original was halving the recipe. Two adults and a toddler, although we are all big eaters, probably should not polish off three pounds of chicken thighs in one sitting.

Hmm. Well that will not do!

Speaking of halving the recipe 1/4 cup of jumbo green olives is literally four olives. I doubled that somewhat arbitrarily. 

My one regret was I did not cut the apricots and olives. The tastes did not blend because of it. You tasted all chicken. Then all olive. If I revisit I will halve the apricots and quarter the olives (remember I used large olives, so if you are using smaller olives I would half).

Slice & dice and this is all good.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Well hello there! Long time no see. <insert obligatory President Trump jokeHow are the kids? Oh Susie got the lead in the school play? Well that is just fantastic. Good for her. I am sure it will be the best Annie Get Your Gun the high school theater has ever done!

Aside: are high schools even allowed to do Annie Get Your Gun these days? I mean it is a classic, but guns are bad m'kay.

Anyway, now that we have caught up after my long absence, let us dive into a recipe that I had pretty mixed feelings about. (I really know how to make a come back!)

My mom says I have INNER beauty, which she says is the best type of beauty.

So today we have a bit of an odd ball. The recipe below is how I made it. But I have noted how I will make it next time (and there may or may not be a next time). And if you have far too much free time I linked the slightly different original.

I got this recipe from the New York Times at some point. Probably from their daily briefings emails. Maybe I should ask those guys if the local high school theater can do Annie...

5 boneless skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of 2 lemons (or 1 if following my commentary)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more to taste
2 tablespoons minced dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons ground thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, more to taste
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (delete if following my commentary)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine chicken with all but 1 teaspoon of the grated garlic (save that teaspoon for the yogurt sauce), the zest and juice of 1 lemon, oil, parsley, thyme, oregano, the salt, and the sesame seeds. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange a rack 3 to 4 inches from the heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spread chicken out in a single layer. Broil chicken, turning halfway through cooking, until well colored and charred in spots, 4 to 7 minutes per side. Be careful that it doesn’t burn, but is cooked through.

While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Stir in the reserved grated garlic and lemon zest and season to taste with salt. (Or, you know, do not. Whatever works for you.)

Serve the chicken drizzled to taste with olive oil, remaining lemon juice to taste, black pepper, and sesame seeds with the yogurt alongside for dipping.

In short: SKIP THE SAUCE. The yogurt sauce was terrible. It was nothing but a overpowering lemon flavor. Seriously even using the sauce extremely sparingly it was too much. The wifey scraped what little she used of it off (luckily I served it separate). I made repeated disappointing attempts to use it in smaller and smaller quantities. Just ditch it. When you do that, you have a pretty solid recipe.

Now that I have said this, there may have been a chance I messed up the sauce (I think the juice of lemon #2 was in the yogurt). Still the chicken was great, so stop arguing with me and just make the chicken darn it!

It looks pretty while marinading. Just not so much in it's final form.

My grocery did not have boneless skinless chicken thighs that I could find and I was too lazy to ask. So I bought bone-in thighs complete with skin. With patience and a good knife, it was not too bad to convert the desired condition myself. That said I feel like the net effort of not asking, then de-boning was a loss.

Chicken: awesome. Sauce: <gag>.