Let me just say, to die for! Venezuelan guasacaca, a bright, tangy sauce made from avocados, herbs and mild green chilies, is a standard accompaniment to grilled meats and chicken, and it is amazing. Here, we simply roast bone-in chicken thighs and/or breasts in a hot oven—it’s that simple. The cool, creamy avocado sauce is a perfect contrast to the golden brown, crisp-skinned meat.
We used a combination of breasts and thighs, and if you do the same, cut the breast halves in half again so they are uniform size to the thighs. The jalapeño, even though quite large, provided just a slight bit of heat because it was seeded and stemmed.
If you so choose, make the accompanying basmati rice dish. The grains do not stick together making it light and fluffy, and is a wonderful pairing with the chicken. Each dish taking about the same amount of time to cook.
3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs OR breasts OR a combination, trimmed and patted dry
4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
1 1/2 cups lightly packed cilantro OR flat-leaf parsley, plus extra chopped, to serve
1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and seeded
1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
Optional garnish: Lime wedges OR crumbled queso fresco OR chopped pickled jalapeños OR a combination
Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with salt and pepper. Arrange skin side up and roast until the thickest part of the breast (if using) reaches about 160°F and the thickest part of the largest thigh (if using) reaches about 175°F, 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the avocados, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour over any accumulated juices. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with the sauce.
This unique rice dish is especially delicious and incorporates deeply caramelized onions. Their rich savory-sweetness is a perfect complement to the earthy cumin and nutty, aromatic basmati rice. Made with simple pantry staples, it’s an easy yet flavor-packed side, ideal for pairing with any roasted or grilled vegetables or meat as well as with curries or dal.
3 Tbsp. ghee OR salted butter, cut into 3 pieces, divided
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cardamom pods
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
Chopped fresh cilantro, to serve (optional)
In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt the ghee. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally to start and more often once browning begins, until the onions are deeply caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes; reduce the heat if the onions brown very unevenly or too quickly.
Add the cumin and cardamom; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the rice, 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Using a fork, fluff the rice; remove and discard the cardamom. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, serve sprinkled with cilantro.
In this quick stove-top dish, hard cider, thyme and whole grain mustard combine for a delicious pan sauce over bone-in chicken pieces. Perfect for a week night meal when you are pressed for time but still expect a flavorful dinner, and I do mean spot-on Fall flavors!
Instead of using just thighs, we decided on a combination, white meat for the Mrs., and dark for The Mr. Two bone-in breasts halves were chopped in half again to create four pieces and were combined with 4 thighs.
Now, after reading through the preparations, we both realized there would be no way the Brussels sprouts would be tender in the small amount of time they allotted. I made the executive decision to brown them in the pan drippings after the chicken was removed. After a couple of minutes, the apple wedges were then added for 4 minutes as per instructions. This method worked out well, with the sprouts browning, absorbing the pan flavors and softening just enough.
The other major change was at the end. After removing all of the poultry and veggies to a platter and covered with tinfoil to keep warm, we reduced the thin pan sauce down to a thicker consistency. Bring the sauce to a rolling boil for a couple of minutes and when you can drag a spatula through it and leave a trail, the sauce has thickened. Remove foil from platter, and pour the sauce over its contents. Top with bacon—oh, of which we used 7, instead of 4, thick slices 🙂
12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (2 cups)
In a very large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from the pan, reserving the drippings in the skillet.
Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until browned, 10-12 minutes, turning once. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan drippings cut side down, let them brown undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. Add the apples to the sprouts, and cook until browned on both sides, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes total. Remove the apples and sprouts, keep divided on a plate. Drain and discard drippings from skillet if necessary.
Add the cider, thyme, mustard and salt to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer.
Return chicken to skillet and cook, covered for 10 minutes.
Add the Brussels sprouts, cook, covered for 5 minutes.
Add the apples, cook, uncovered, until the chicken is done (at least 175°F), 3 to 5 minutes more.
After removing all contents from skillet to platter, cover the food with tinfoil. Heat the sauce to a rolling boil and reduce down until a spatula can pull through and leave a trail.
Divide the chicken, Brussels sprouts, and apples among dinner plates. Spoon the cider mixture over the top, and sprinkle each serving with the cooked bacon.
When it comes to poultry, The Hubs favors the dark meat and I most often prefer the white meat. What’s nice about this Senegalese Braised Chicken with Onions and Lime recipe is you can use a combination of both and make everyone happy. And happy is the name of the game when you’ve been hunkered down together for months (thanks COVID).
Don’t let the name fool you. With just a few ingredients, “Yassa Ginaar” delivers multiple layers of flavor—savory yet sweet with lightly caramelized onions, citrusy with lime zest and juice, meaty from the deeply browned chicken, and slightly spicy from the heat of a habañero chili. This version from Milk Street is based on a recipe in “Yolele!” by Pierre Thiam, who marinates then sears the chicken, then uses the marinade as a base for the flavorful sauce.
Bouillon concentrate adds to the savoriness of the dish. As it is for Milk Street, our preferred brand is Better than Bouillon. We paired our entrée with a side of sautéed spinach in roasted garlic olive oil and jasmine rice steamed in homemade chicken stock. A side of creamy mashed potatoes would work easily as well for the saucy onion bed.
Keep in mind that you don’t want to marinate the chicken for longer than two hours; the acidity of the lime juice will soften the meat and turn it mushy. Likewise, don’t use an uncoated cast-iron pot. The lime’s acidity will react with the metal, causing the sauce to taste metallic—not necessarily a flavor enhancer in our book!
3 Tbsp. grated lime zest, plus 6 tablespoons lime juice
1 habanero chili, seeded and minced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tsp. chicken bouillon concentrate
2 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks, trimmed
3 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
Finely chopped fresh chives, to serve
In a small bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons of oil, the lime zest, habanero, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Transfer 2 teaspoons of the mixture to a pinch pot and set aside.
To the remaining oil-zest mixture, whisk in the lime juice, bouillon and ¼ cup water. Place the chicken and onions in a large ziploc bag, add the oil-zest mixture, seal and toss. Let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate up to 2 hours, turning once.
Set a colander over a large bowl and strain the contents of the ziploc. Remove the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve both the marinade and the onions for later.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until well browned, about 4-5 minutes.
Transfer to a plate and pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Set the pot over medium heat and stir in the onions and ¼ cup water, scraping up any browned bits.
Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
Stir the reserved marinade into the onions. Return the chicken, skin side up, nestling the pieces into the sauce, and pour in any accumulated juices. Reduce to medium-low, cover and cook until a skewer inserted into the thickest part meets no resistance, about 20-25 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a serving platter or shallow bowl. If the saucy onions appear too watery, reduce them down, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes at a rolling simmer to thicken. Off heat, stir the reserved oil-zest mixture into the onions, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the onions and sauce around the chicken and sprinkle with chives.
With only 5 ingredients plus the poultry pieces, pretty much anyone can tackle this super flavorful grilled chicken. We just oohed and ahhed while savoring every juicy bite. Once you taste it, I’m betting you’ll add it to your regular rotation.
Extra-virgin olive oil, lemon, garlic and herbs comprise salmoriglio, a sauce/marinade from southern Italy (specifically, Calabria and Sicily). This version is made with grated zest; some of the mixture is used for marinating bone-in chicken parts, then the juice from grilled lemon halves is added to finish the sauce just before serving.
Grilling the lemons before juicing them mellows their sharpness and acidity, adding a subtle sweetness to the sauce. We used a mixture of bone-in chicken breasts and thighs (can also include drumsticks or leg quarters). Keep in mind that the white meat is done at 160°F and the dark meat at 175°F, so the breasts may finish ahead of the dark meat. Our white meat actually took longer because one of the pieces was quite thick, so it’s good to have an instant read thermometer on hand.
If using white meat, cut the breasts halves in half again to make the pieces more uniform in size with the dark meat. Don’t use a fork to move the chicken pieces on the grill. A fork creates holes that allow juices to escape, resulting in drier meat. Use tongs instead—oh, and don’t forget protective gloves especially when squeezing those charred lemon juices into the salmoriglio sauce, they are HOT!
As sides, we served ours with a wedge salad and Patates a la Sal(Wrinkly Potatoes). They are cooked in very salty water—like the sea. By the time they are cooked through, the salt water evaporates and the potato skins become wrinkled with a white dusting of salt. They are especially tasty with a roasted garlic aioli.
Grate 2 teaspoon zest from the lemons, then halve the lemons crosswise and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the zest, oil, garlic, oregano, 1¼ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Transfer ¼ cup of the mixture to a large bowl, add the chicken and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature while preparing the grill.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking.
Place the chicken skin side up on the cooler side of the grill. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Using tongs, reposition the chicken so that the pieces furthest from the fire are now closest; keep the chicken skin-side up. Re-cover and continue to cook until the thickest part of the breast, if using, reaches 160°F or the thickest part of the thighs and drumsticks, if using, reach 175°F, another 5 to 10 minutes.
Using tongs, flip the chicken skin-side down onto the hot side of the grill. Cook until the skin is lightly browned and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes, moving the chicken as needed to avoid flare-ups. Transfer the chicken skin side up to a platter and let rest for about 5 minutes.
While the chicken rests, cut each lemon in half and grill the lemon halves cut side down on the hot side of the grate until grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes.
Squeeze 2½ tablespoons juice from 1 or 2 of the grilled lemon halves, then stir the juice along with the parsley into the reserved garlic-lemon oil to make the salmoriglio.
Transfer the chicken skin side up to a platter and let rest for about 5 minutes.
Serve the sauce and the remaining grilled lemon halves with the chicken.