Dynamite Chicken Tenders; Portuguese Rice with Kale

These two dishes are fantastic, it’s that simple. The Central/South American based Mayo-Marinated Chicken with Chimichurri recipe came from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt from The Times Cooking website. Their version uses chicken cutlets pounded down to 1/4″ thickness. But because of the panic-buying during the COVID-19 Virus, chicken breasts of any kind were in very short supply, but one supermarket had the tenders, so I snapped them up.


It actually saved me time because there was no cutting or pounding necessary. Due to thicker tenders, they’ll take a few more minutes to reach temperature of 160°. Now I know it may sound a little gross to slather mayo all over chicken that you are going to cook, but bear with me, the mayo-chimichurri marinade combo was out of this world.

According to Kenji, the magic of mayo is that it helps your other marinade ingredients spread evenly across the surface of the meat, delivering more consistent flavor, while improving browning. No argument from me! Then the deep chimichurri flavor enhances even more with a post-cooking drizzle of fresh sauce.

Using the mayo method, it could work with nearly any marinade using pesto, barbeque sauce, curry and teriyaki sauces, and so on, just use your noggin’ for inspiration…

In the Portuguese Rice with Kale and Tomatoes recipe, I also had an issue in obtaining an ingredient—specifically, plum tomatoes. So I substituted two large beefy tomatoes and made sure to remove as much of the watery pulp/seeds as possible.


And instead of water, I incorporated our homemade chicken stock which of course added oodles of flavor. At the end, after 20 minutes simmering while covered, there was still too much liquid (probably due to those tomatoes), so I continued a rolling simmer without the lid for another 10-15 minutes while we seared the chicken tenders in a cast iron skillet.

Mayo-Marinated Chicken with Chimichurri

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: super easy
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Mayo-Marinated Chicken with Chimichurri


  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenders (about 9-10 tenders)
  • 1/3 cup store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
  • 1 cup chimichurri (see recipe below)


  1. Season chicken tenders on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Whisk together mayonnaise and 1/4 cup chimichurri in a large bowl. Reserve remaining chimichurri. Add chicken to the mixture and turn to coat. (Cook immediately, or for better flavor, transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours. Ours marinated for 4 hours.)
  3. Heat a large 12-inch” cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water immediately balls up and dances across the surface.
  4. Add chicken tenders in a single layer and cook, flipping once until browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. You may have to cook them in two batches so as not to crowd the pan, which would steam the poultry instead of browning the pieces. (Test with an instant thermometer for the temperature to reach about 160°.)
  5. Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Spoon some of the remaining chimichurri over the chicken and serve the rest in a small bowl on the side.



There are countless variations of Chimichurri recipes out there, so if you have a fave, go ahead and use that. Basically, it is a loose, uncooked, oil-based condiment with dominant flavors of parsley and garlic. It is used to accompany grilled meat, or in the this case, chicken tenders seared in a skillet.


  • Servings: about 1 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small red chilies, deseeded and minced
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, more to taste


Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to release all of the flavors into the oil.


Portuguese Rice with Kale and Plum Tomatoes

A staple on the Portuguese table, arroz de grelos customarily is made with spicy turnip greens (grelos), but in Milk Street’s version, they opted to use easier-to-find lacinato kale. You can serve this simple yet remarkably flavorful one-pot dish as the center of a vegan or vegetarian meal, or offer it alongside almost any prepared seafood or meat, such as the chicken recipe above.


RULE NO. 10: Braise Low and Slow to Tenderize Tough Greens

Portuguese Rice with Kale and Plum Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 medium plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale (about 1 pound), stemmed, leaves torn into 1½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth, or water
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice


  1. In a large pot over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, a third of the chopped tomatoes and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down and the bits stuck to the bottom of the pot are dark golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the kale and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until wilted, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in 2½ cups water (or homemade chicken stock) and bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the rice and remaining chopped tomatoes.
  4. Return to a simmer, cover and reduce to low. Cook, without stirring or lifting the cover, until the rice is tender and only a little liquid pools at the bottom of the pot, 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.

Tip: Don’t uncover the pot while the rice is cooking; it will release too much steam and the end result will be too dry.


Adapted from a recipe   Milk Street “The New Rules” cookbook

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