Tag Archives: chicken thighs

Umbrian-Style Chicken alla Cacciatora Revisited

Did you know that Umbria, in central Italy, is home to a tomato-free version of Chicken alla Cacciatora? Rather, the rustic braise gets it character from lemon, olives, garlic and herbs. Capers also are customary, but this version uses pancetta instead to build rich, savory depth. Finally, alternatively to cutting up a whole chicken, which is what we usually do, here we substitute bone-in, skin-on thighs.

Strips of lemon zest are simmered into the sauce to infuse the dish with subtle citrusy notes. For easiest results, use a sharp vegetable peeler to plane off wide strips of zest from the fruit; each piece should be roughly 2 to 3 inches long. You will need a 12-inch oven-safe skillet for this recipe, our 3-quart Le Creuset “Baby Blue” enameled cast-iron pot was perfect.

Fantastic! The combination of flavors had so much depth, we wanted to lick our plates clean. I know we loved the previous version using an entire chicken and capers, but this riff may have raised the bar to another level…

Umbrian-Style Chicken alla Cacciatora

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup pitted green or black olives or a combination, drained and halved
  • 4 strips lemon zest, plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken skin down and cook without disturbing until golden brown on the bottom, 5 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken skin up to a large plate.
  3. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet and set the pan over medium. Add the pancetta and onion, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the wine, bring to a simmer over medium-high and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, olives and lemon zest. Return the chicken skin up to the skillet and pour in the accumulated juices. Transfer to the oven and cook until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 175°F, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the skillet from the oven; the handle will be hot. Using tongs, transfer the chicken skin up to a serving platter, then remove and discard the rosemary and lemon zest. Bring the liquid in the pan to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Stir in the lemon juice and vinegar, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce around the chicken.

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Adapted from a recipe from Milk Street

Coconut Milk Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Bell Peppers

This Coconut Milk Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Bell Peppers recipe is a wonderful fusion of Thai flavors. It’s the perfect bowl of warming comfort food brimming with color and flavor. Made with chicken thighs, spices, sweet potatoes, bell peppers and creamy coconut milk, it’s cozy, creamy, perfectly spiced and filled with vegetables. Finish each bowl off with steamed rice, herbs, and plenty of lime.

The spice mix on the chicken is key to the flavor. It’s a mix of turmeric, ginger, cumin and black pepper. After tossing the chicken with the spices, if you have the opportunity, let the chicken get happy overnight to take on even more flavor. You don’t have to do this, but even a few hours in the fridge adds more depth to the dish.

When everything is in, just simmer the chicken in the pot and let it slowly cook in the coconut milk. It doesn’t take too long, about 30 minutes or so for thighs (shorter if you’re using breasts.) The coconut milk is obviously creamy and flavorful, but it also prevents the poultry from drying out and creates super tender pieces of chicken.

Coconut Milk Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Bell Peppers

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. chili flakes, or more
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 cans 14 oz. full-fat coconut milk, whisked until creamy
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Steamed rice, for serving
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 2 limes, quartered, for serving
  • Roasted peanuts

Directions

  1. Toss the chicken with the turmeric, ginger, cumin, pepper, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon oil. Let sit 5 minutes or up to overnight in the fridge.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 the chicken and sear on both sides until browned, about 2 minutes. Pull the chicken out of the pan, and repeat with remaining half of chicken.
  3. To the pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, the peppers, shallots, garlic, and chili flakes, cook 3 minutes, then toss in the sweet potatoes. Reduce the heat to med-low. Pour in the coconut milk and fish sauce. Slide the chicken and any juices on the plate into the milk.
  4. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through ad potatoes are tender. If the sauce becomes too thick, cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt.
  5. Meanwhile, make the steamed rice according to package directions.
  6. Divide rice between bowls, then spoon the chicken and sauce over the rice. Top with basil, peanuts, and serve with lime wedges.

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Recipe loosely adapted from Half-Baked Harvest

Meal on Wheels, For Real

Friends of ours, husband and wife, were in a car accident, and while luckily they weren’t seriously injured, they were not in any mood, or condition, to cook for themselves for a period of days. Their daughter set up a “Meals on Wheels” type of delivery system called Meal Train, whereas each night friends and/or family members made a hot meal to be delivered to their household in the evening at the time of their choosing.

What a fantastic idea! The couple filled out an online form which described their likes and dislikes (i.e. nothing too spicy, prefer chicken and pasta dishes), and the link was emailed to the group. We chose our day and then the recipe based on their criteria. Our contribution? Chicken Paprikash. And just as The Hubs was leaving to transport the goods, he commented that one of their passions was delivering meals on wheels to those in need. What goes around, comes around…

This Hungarian classic can be on the table (or in the car as the case would be) in an hour if you use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. And less than 10 ingredients to boot! To streamline the process even more, prep the dill while the chicken cooks, as it’s not used until the end of cooking to finish the sauce and as a garnish. We happened to use dried dill, saving even more time.

Paprika is a key ingredient in this dish, so make sure yours is fresh and fragrant; paprika that has gone stale and lost its flavor and color will result in a bland, lackluster stew. Buttered egg noodles are the perfect accompaniment. Even though you might be tempted, don’t use low-fat sour cream. It lacks richness and body and will make a lean, watery chicken paprikash.

Chicken Paprikash

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, skin removed and discarded
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 4 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill, divided
  • Egg noodles, cooked to package directions

Directions

  1. On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select More/High Sauté. Add the butter and let melt. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is golden brown, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the paprika and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in ½ cup water, scraping up the browned bits. Nestle in the chicken in an even layer, slightly overlapping the pieces if needed.
  4. Cancel, lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 10 minutes.
  5. When pressure cooking is complete, allow the pressure to reduce naturally for 10 minutes, then release the remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
  6. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a dish and tent with foil.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and cornstarch. Stir the mixture into the pot, then select More/High Sauté and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce begins to simmer and is lightly thickened.
  8. Press Cancel to turn off the pot, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in 2 tablespoons of dill. Using potholders, carefully remove the insert from the housing and pour the sauce over the chicken.
  9. Serve over hot cooked egg noodles and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons dill (or parsley).

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Thanks to Milk Street for this easy recipe

One-Pot Japanese Curry Chicken and Rice

An easy weeknight version of Indian curry, this Japanese-riff is a one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, vegetables and rice. Instead of relying on store-bought or homemade instant curry roux, the recipe builds on a few spices to mimic traditional Japanese curry flavors.

Curry powder, ground nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce are combined and bloomed in butter to create the round and rich sauce. Onions, potatoes and carrots create the bulk of traditional Japanese curry. You can easily substitute sweet potatoes, cauliflower and/or peas to address family preferences.

Kay Chun’s original recipe called for 2 pounds of large chicken thighs. The math doesn’t add up here. We bought a package nearly 2 1⁄2 pounds containing only 5 thighs—and they weren’t necessarily “large,” so if you were serving 6 people, that would be a challenge. I say forget the poundage, and just buy 6 large thighs—there is enough rice mixture to support that many servings.

It is suggested you serve in bowls. Maybe because we used a “paella” rice which is really absorbent, there wasn’t much liquid and could have been served on plates. Speaking of liquid, of course we used homemade stock which adds oodles of flavor. And we nearly doubled the amount of minced fresh ginger to really amp up the Asian flavor.

One-Pot Japanese Curry Chicken and Rice

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 Tbsp. Madras curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups short-grain white rice, rinsed until water runs clear
  • 1 large baking potato (about 1 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced 1/2-inch-thick
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Chopped scallions pickles, kimchi and/or hot sauce, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Rub chicken with 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot (at least 3 1⁄2 quarts), heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil with 1 tablespoon butter over medium until butter is melted. Working in two batches, brown chicken 3 to 4 minutes per side, and transfer to a plate.
  3. Add onion to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 minutes. Add curry powder, garlic, ginger, nutmeg and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and stir until butter is melted and spices are fragrant, 1 minute.
  4. Add rinsed rice and stir until evenly coated in spices. Add potato, carrots, broth and Worcestershire sauce, scraping bottom of pot to lift up any browned bits. Season broth generously with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken and any accumulated juices on top, skin-side up, and bring to a boil over high. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Uncover and bake until most of the liquid is absorbed and chicken is golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.
  6. Divide chicken and rice among bowls, and garnish with scallions. If desired, serve with any combination of pickles, kimchi and hot sauce.

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Adapted from a recipe by Kay Chun for NY Times Cooking

Low-Carb Spinach Artichoke Chicken

Spinach artichoke chicken is an easy and delicious keto skillet recipe. It features crispy chicken thighs in a rich cream sauce with spinach, artichokes, garlic, and parmesan. However, the original recipe only called for half (which we deemed too paltry) of the spinach and artichokes so we doubled that, as noted in the list below. Also, we added two more thighs to total eight, allowing two per person for a dinner feeding four.

This AMAZING recipe takes all the rich flavors of a great spinach artichoke dip and turns it into a full meal. And it’s an easy one pan recipe that’s ready in about an hour. Truly delicious! Typically, I am more of a white meat fan, while The Hubs prefers dark meat. Next time I may include a mix of thighs and chicken breast quarters, but again, maybe not…

Instead of frozen, fresh spinach works in this recipe as well. You obviously won’t need to thaw and squeeze it; simply chop it up and stir it into the sauce before transferring the dish to the oven.

Low-Carb Spinach Artichoke Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 12 oz. artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Pat the chicken thighs dry and sprinkle all over with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large (at least 12″) ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. (Our chicken skin took 8 minutes to get a nice golden brown.)
  3. Flip the thighs over and cook another 4 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Drain most of the fat from the pan and discard.
  4. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer. Add the cream and Parmesan and continue to cook until slightly thickened, another minute or two.
  6. Stir in the chopped artichokes and the spinach until well combined. Place the chicken thighs on top of the cream sauce and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through to a temp of 170° to 175°, and the sauce is bubbling.

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Roughly adapted from an online recipe from All Day I Dream About Food

Persian-Style Chicken, Mushroom and Barley Soup

Soup season always gets us excited because the options are endless—they can range from light and brothy, to heavy and creamy, and about everything in between. Here, this satisfying meal-in-a-bowl is a riff on the Persian dish called soup-e jo and came to us from Milk Street Magazine.

Though barley’s natural starch lends the soup body, béchamel, a mixture of butter, flour and milk, also is traditional for added richness and thickening. For ease, the béchamel is skipped and instead a tablespoon of flour is simply mixed into the sautéed onion and mushrooms, with a swirl of a little cream at the very end.

Fragrant spices give the soup color and complexity, and the fresh mint lifts and brightens the flavors. If you so choose, you can also include dill. The soup was hearty enough as a meal on it’s own, but a side salad would be a welcome addition.

TIP: Don’t use whole-grain barley, as it requires a significantly longer cooking time than pearled barley.

Persian-Style Chicken, Mushroom and Barley Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 12 oz. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered if small or medium, cut into eighths if large
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 qts. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh mint, dill or a combination, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms release moisture, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the cumin, turmeric, flour, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the barley and chicken, followed by the broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender, about 40 minutes.
  4. Off heat, stir in the cream and half of the herbs. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the remaining herbs.

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Recipe by Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street

Vietnamese Braised Lemongrass Chicken

With a penchant toward bold flavors, this recipe from Milk Street appealed to us from the get-go. Typically, bone-in chicken thighs are also sold with the skin on. Simply remove it before cooking, and if you make homemade chicken stock, save it with your other body parts for the next time you throw some together.

In Vietnam, turmeric, garlic, chilies and fish sauce—staple ingredients in the Vietnamese kitchen—douse chicken with a riot of flavor and provide that gorgeous caramel coloring. The other main ingredient, lemongrass, is a grass of robust habit native to southern India and Ceylon that is grown in tropical regions for its lemon-scented foliage used as a seasoning and that is the source of an aromatic essential oil.

Luckily, instead of mincing fresh lemongrass, which requires a good amount of time and effort, simply bruise the stalks so they split open and release their essential oils into the braising liquid; then remove and discard the stalks when cooking is complete.

The soy sauce was an addition to the Milk Street recipe, a stand-in for the MSG and pork bouillon. The braising liquid is thickened with a little cornstarch to give the sauce just a little body. Serve the chicken with steamed jasmine rice.

Simply stated, 2 1⁄2 pounds of bone-in chicken is not enough for four adults. Plan on eight large thighs, no matter the weight. I went ahead and incorporated this change in the list of ingredients below.

Heads Up: Don’t leave the skin on the chicken. The bone adds flavor to the braise, but not the skin, which turns soggy with simmering and releases fat into the liquid. But bone-in thighs are almost always sold with skin, so simply pull it off before cooking.

Vietnamese Braised Lemongrass Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
  • 3 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed to the bottom 6 inches, dry outer layers discarded, bruised
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. water, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, skin removed and discarded, patted dry
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • Ground black pepper
  • Cilantro and/or sliced scallions, to serve

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, chilies and turmeric, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the lemongrass, broth, soy sauce, sugar and 1 cup water, then bring to a simmer. Add the chicken skinned side down in even layer and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Using tongs, transfer the chicken skinned side up to a serving bowl. Cook the braising liquid over medium until reduced by about half, about 12 minutes. Remove and discard the lemon grass.In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Whisk the mixture into the braising liquid, return to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  4. Off heat, stir the lime juice and fish sauce into the braising liquid, then taste and season with pepper. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot, cover and let stand until heated through, about 5 minutes. Return the braise to the serving bowl and sprinkle with cilantro.

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Recipe adapted by Diane Unger for Milk Street

OMG, The BEST Moroccan Chicken Skewers

WOWSER, these were so friggin’ good! While the original Milk Street recipe broiled the skewers, we decided to grill them for a more enhanced char. The skewers are then finished with the juice of charred lemon halves that have been drizzled with honey, along with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. Cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint are good choices, alone or, as we did, in combination.

As a perfect accompaniment we also grilled vegetables tossed in EVOO, salt and pepper. Some skewers were laced with red and green bell pepper along with onion wedges; while others consisted of cherry tomatoes and mushroom caps. We purposely arranged them separately because the onion and pepper pieces took longer to cook. And if you’re not restricting carbs or gluten, tricolored couscous can round out the meal nicely.

Some reviewers commented that they used pomegranate molasses as a finishing drizzle with the herbs because it’s not as sweet as honey but still adds another interesting texture and taste. I think that’s worth a try!

Grilled Moroccan Chicken Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus 2 lemons, halved
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey, plus extra to drizzle
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1½ lbs. halved boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Chopped fresh herbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the grill for direct high heat.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the lemon zest and juice, oil, honey, ginger, spices, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside 2 tablespoons.
  3. Toss the chicken with the remaining mixture. Scrunch the chicken onto metal skewers, then place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Add the 4 lemon halves.
  4. Oil the grates and grill chicken and lemon halves until charred, about 12 minutes, flipping the chicken skewers halfway through.
  5. Spoon the reserved lemon-oil mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle with herbs.
  6. Drizzle the lemon halves with honey and serve alongside for squeezing over the chicken.

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Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

Za’atar Chicken and Lentils

This classic Middle Eastern za’atar recipe is a one pot meal. But what exactly is za’atar seasoning?  And what goes in it? Well, the word za’atar (pronounced “zah-tahr”) literally translates to mean “wild thyme” in Arabic. But it’s better known as a seasoning blend, whose ingredients vary slightly from country to country across the Middle East.

Most home chefs won’t necessarily have za’atar seasoning on hand, nor did we, so The Hubs found a version on “Gimme Some Oven” website—now isn’t that a clever name! The three main ingredients are thyme, sesame seeds and sumac. It’s very versatile and can be used on anything from meat, fish, veggies, dips, salads, soups or even popcorn!

What’s nice about this dish if you have diners in your household who have different preferences regarding both white and dark meat, like us, it’s interchangeable. Even though the original recipe calls for only dark meat, we used a combination of 4 thighs, and 2 breast halves that were chopped into two pieces each (producing 8 pieces total, 2 more than the recipe calls for).

We only used 2 tablespoons of the za’atar seasoning to sprinkle on the chicken, which was more than plenty. The remaining one tablespoon was added to the pot after the onion and carrots were cooked down.

A little trick we learned when braising both white and dark meat, is to set the white meat on top of the thighs for a majority of the cooking time. This helps ensure the breast pieces will not overdone and rubbery. Then nestle them into the liquid for the last 15 minutes or so.

Za’atar Chicken and Lentils

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, thighs and/or breasts, excess fat trimmed
  • 3 Tbsp. za’atar (see recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 cup bite-size pieces carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 ½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup pitted green olives, such as Castelvetrano, whole or halved
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh thyme sprigs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Season chicken with za’atar. In a deep oven-going skillet or 5-quart Dutch oven heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken; cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until brown. Transfer to a plate. Don’t crowd the pot, you may have to do this in two batches.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and carrots to pot. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute.
  3. Stir in broth, lentils, and tomato paste. Return chicken and juices to pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover; braise in oven 45 to 55 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender (at least 175°F).
  4. Transfer chicken to a platter; keep warm. Strain remaining mixture, reserving liquid.
  5. Add lentils and vegetables to chicken on platter; cover.
  6. Return liquid to pot. Boil over medium-high 10 to15 minutes or until reduced by half. Pour liquid over chicken and lentils.
  7. Top with olives, lemon zest, and thyme.

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Source: Better Homes & Gardens

Za’atar Seasoning

Za’atar Seasoning

  • Servings: Yields 5 Tbsp.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground* dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. sumac
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp. fine Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until combined.
  2. Use immediately, or store in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

*If using traditional dried thyme (that is not ground), add in an extra 2 teaspoons dried thyme.

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Jerusalem-Style “Mixed-Grill” Chicken

Milk Street, where this recipe hails from, explains that Jerusalem mixed grill is a popular Israeli street food, one that is said to originate in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market. The term “mixed” refers to the sundry ingredients that go into the dish—chicken meat, hearts, spleen and liver, along with bits of lamb, plus onions and spices. Now don’t get all squeamish over the innards because…

…To re-create a simplified mixed grill at home, Milk Street (MS) borrowed from chef Daniel Alt’s version at The Barbary and Omri Mcnabb’s take on it at The Palomar, two London restaurants that serve up modern Levantine and Middle Eastern cuisine. MS then limited the meat to boneless, skinless chicken thighs and seasoned them assertively with select spices. You can now let out a collective sigh.

In place of a grill, a nonstick skillet on the stovetop is used. Amba, a pickled mango condiment, is commonly served with mixed grill to offset the richness of the meat. Here however, quick-pickle sliced red onion offers a similar acidity and brightness. Nutty, creamy tahini sauce is non-negotiable, and a necessary requirement for the full experience. Serve the chicken with warmed pita.

Be mindful NOT to stir the chicken-onion mixture too often while cooking; doing so disrupts browning. Intermittent stirring—no more than every 2 to 3 minutes—allows the chicken to develop nice, deep, flavor-building char.

Jerusalem-Style Mixed-Grill Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ tsp. white sugar
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • 4 Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1½ tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • Multi-grain pita pickets, warmed in oven wrapped in tinfoil, (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in 1 cup of sliced onion; set aside. In another small bowl, mix together the tahini and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, then whisk in 6 tablespoons water. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons of oil, the coriander, allspice, turmeric, cinnamon and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the chicken and the remaining sliced onion, then stir until evenly coated.
  3. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken mixture in an even layer and cook, uncovered and stirring only every 2 to 3 minutes, until the chicken is well browned all over and no longer is pink when cut into, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Off heat, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle lightly with some of the tahini sauce and top with the pickled onion. Serve the remaining tahini sauce on the side.
Yes, these are something to write home about!

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe adapted from 177 Milk Street

Yucatecan Chicken and Lime Stew (Sopa de Lima)

Absolutely delicious, this Sopa de Lima is a classic Mexican soup from the Yucatán Peninsula. Brothy, spicy and usually chicken-based, the juice of limas counts as a key ingredient, or Mexican bittersweet limes, a variety of citrus that is difficult to find here in the U.S.

So in a clever twist to approximate the flavor of limas, Milk Street used a combination of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and standard lime juice. They tell us the credit for this substitution goes to J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats. To keep the flavors clear and bright, add the citrus juices at the very end after cooking is complete. Warm spices add complex flavor and aroma to this version using cinnamon, allspice and cumin, along with dried oregano.

Simmering bone-in chicken thighs in store-bought chicken broth yields a deeply flavorful base for the soup, however, we included our homemade chicken stock which amped up that flavor base even more! But before simmering, you need only to brown the skin side of half of the chicken thighs; which will develop enough caramelization to build depth of flavor but spares the time and mess of browning both sides of all 3 pounds of thighs.

Once the requisite amount of chicken thighs were browned, we chopped them in half. This multi-pronged approach released the marrow from the bones, plus quickened the heating process once in the pot, then the cooling down process just before shredding the meat.

Sopa de lima is garnished with strips of fried corn tortillas that, when lightly soaked with broth, take on an appealing chewy-crunchy quality that adds textural appeal to the soup. For simplicity, however, we used tortilla chips.

Yucatecan Chicken and Lime Stew (Sopa de Lima)

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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NOTE: It is highly suggested that you don’t use grapefruit juice that’s not freshly squeezed. Pasteurized juice or juice from concentrate lacks the peppiness that the soup requires. (Although since we had some already on hand and opened, we did use it.) Any variety of grapefruit—pink, red or white—works well. You will likely need 1½ grapefruits to get ¾ cup juice.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • 2 large white onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems minced, leaves roughly chopped, reserved separately
  • 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 qts. low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup grapefruit juice
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice, plus more as needed
  • Tortilla chips, to serve

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add half the chicken, skin side down, and cook without disturbing until well browned on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pot.
  2. Chop both the browned and and raw chicken thighs in half, set aside.
  3. Return the pot to medium-high, add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño, oregano, cumin, allspice, cinnamon and cilantro stems. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes with juices, then the broth. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add the raw chicken and the browned chicken, along with any accumulated juices, then bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce to low and cook, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large plate and set aside. When cool enough to handle, use 2 forks or your hands to shred the chicken into bite-size pieces; discard the skin and bones. Add the shredded meat to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer over medium, stirring occasionally.
  6. Off heat, stir in the grapefruit and lime juices, then taste and season with salt, pepper and additional lime juice (if desired). Ladle into bowls and top with tortilla chips and cilantro leaves.

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Original recipe compliments of Milk Street

Braised Chicken with Tomatoes, Mustard and Brandy

This dish may sound French, but the starting point for Milk Street was the Portuguese classic called frango na púcara, or chicken in a clay pot. For quick and easy weeknight cooking, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are used instead of bone-in parts. All gets cooked in one Dutch oven on the stovetop—always a plus when it comes to clean up.

Because our chicken thighs were of two different thicknesses, I had to remove the two smaller pieces to a platter, cover with foil, and let the thicker thighs cook a few minutes longer. And yes, you may have noticed from the ingredients photo below, I did increase the amount of garlic cloves.

Cherry tomatoes can be used in place of grape tomatoes, but they tend to be larger, so cut them in half before adding them to the pot. We used the variety pack of tomatoes that contained four different colors, adding to the overall color palette. Serve with warm, crusty bread, roasted potatoes, rice, or as in our case, farro.

Speaking of farro, the kind that’s most commonly found in the US and Europe is emmer wheat. It’s sold dry and prepared by cooking it in water until it’s soft and chewy. Before it’s cooked it looks similar to wheat berries, but afterward it looks similar to barley. It’s a small, light-brown grain with a noticeable outer layer of bran. Farro is loved for its nutty flavor and unique, chewy texture. It’s a great alternative to other popular grains, such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat and barley, among others.

Braised Chicken with Tomatoes, Mustard and Brandy

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup brandy
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 

Directions

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic, then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the mustard and brandy, then cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and broth, then nestle the chicken in the liquid. Bring to a simmer, reduce to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Using tongs, flip the chicken and simmer, uncovered, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, another 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and tent with foil. Bring the braising liquid to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring often, until thickened and the tomatoes have softened, 5 to 8 minutes.
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture over the chicken and sprinkle with the parsley.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

White Balsamic Chicken with Tarragon

Sweet-tart white balsamic vinegar and tangy Peppadew peppers bring flavor and color to this weeknight chicken dish found on Milk Street. White balsamic, which is not cooked and aged as long as regular balsamic vinegar, has a mellow acidity that complements the peppadews, a variety of small, sweet peppers from South Africa.

Peppadews add slight heat and additional sweetness, as well as a vivid splash of red. Find them (or not) jarred at most grocery stores, and sometimes loose at the olive bar. Unable to locate peppadews, we substituted cherry peppers. And for some odd reason, there were no plain pitted green olives (no open olive bar during COVID) and all the jarred versions were pimento stuffed. Frustrating yes, but in the end… FRIGGIIN’ delicious!!

Packed with Flavor

Don’t rush rendering the fat from the skin on the chicken thighs. The skin should be golden brown and feel crisp. When reducing the sauce before serving, add water if the liquid is less than 1 cup. It took us extra time to get the sauce reduced to one cup, more like 6 minutes,

The sauce was just bursting with flavor and the chicken retained crispy exteriors and juicy interiors. Some serving suggestions are with roasted sweet potatoes—our choice—boiled baby red potatoes or spinach pasta tossed with butter and poppy seeds.

White Balsamic Chicken with Tarragon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about ⅓ cup)
  • ¾ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup pitted green olives, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon, divided
  • ⅓ drained peppadew peppers, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.
  2. In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until smoking. Add the chicken, skin down, and cook until fat is rendered and the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. (You will probably have to do this in two stages as you don’t want to crowd the pan and steam instead of crisp the skin.)
  3. Transfer the chicken skin up to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Stir in the garlic and shallot and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the vinegar and broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin up. Transfer to the oven and bake until the chicken reaches 175°F at the thickest part, or a skewer inserted into the thickest part meets no resistance, 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken, skin up, to a deep platter and return the skillet to the stovetop (handle will be hot) over medium-high. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1 cup, 2 to 3 minutes (or longer if necessary).
  6. Stir in the olives, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Off heat, stir in half the tarragon, then spoon the sauce around the chicken.
  7. Top with Peppadews and the remaining tarragon.

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Adapted from a recipe by Courtney Hill of Milk Street

Moroccan Ginger-Lemon Chicken Skewers

Anytime is perfect to skewer around, don’t you agree? And when all it takes is a bit of prep and less than 30 minutes to cook, you will have plenty of extra time for anything else on your agenda, or just relax and enjoy a cool beverage.

Once again chicken is the star of the show. Specifically, boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Each one is cut crosswise into three strips and added to the marinade, tossed and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes. While they get happy, you can prepare whatever accompaniments you plan to serve. A prepackaged couscous and a zucchini-onion sauté completed our meal.

Grilled lemon halves, drizzled with honey and squeezed over the charred chicken skewers, adds a final note of sweet-tart acidity that helps balance all the bold, savory seasonings. Minced fresh cilantro, parsley or mint brings bright color and a herbal freshness to the dish. Use whichever you prefer, or any combination of the three.

The directions indicate to use metal skewers, but we were on vacation at a rental property in Cape Cod and all we had access to was wooden skewers, which we presoaked for an hour. They tend to run shorter in length than their metal counterparts, so it’s likely you’ll need more of them—in our case, 6 wooden skewers as opposed to 4 metal.

We paired our skewers with an Israeli mushroom couscous and sautéed zucchini and onions.

Keep in mind: Don’t marinate the chicken longer than 30 minutes. Any longer than that and the lemon juice and ginger will make it mushy.

Moroccan Ginger-Lemon Chicken Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 lemons
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. honey, divided
  • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint

Directions

  1. With a wand-style grater, use 1 lemon to grate 1 tablespoon of zest and squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the zest, juice, oil, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the honey.
  3. Cut each chicken thigh crosswise into 3 strips. Add the chicken to the marinade, toss and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare a grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. For a charcoal grill, spread a large chimney three-quarters full of hot coals evenly over the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. For a gas grill, set all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate. If using gas, reduce the burners to medium-high just before adding the chicken.
  5. Thread the chicken onto four 12-inch metal skewers, scrunching multiple pieces onto each skewer. (We used 6, presoaked wooden skewers.)
  6. Cut the remaining 2 lemons in half. Grill the chicken and lemon halves (cut side down) until the chicken is well charred all over, 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove the lemons once their cut sides are nicely charred.
  7. Transfer the skewers and lemon halves to a platter. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of honey over the cut sides of the lemons.
  8. Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon half over the chicken, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with the remaining lemon halves on the side.

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Adapted from a recipe by Diane Unger from Milk Street