Tag Archives: gluten-free

Skillet-Roasted Peruvian-Style Chicken

Peruvian pollo a la brasa is a whole chicken that is marinated, then cooked slowly on a rotisserie until the meat is ultra-tender; fried potatoes are a common accompaniment. Here, chicken leg quarters (or in our case, thighs) are used and roasted directly on top of sliced Yukon Golds that have first been lightly browned in the skillet on the stovetop.

We have both fallen hard in love with this recipe, and even though I don’t show a photo with the aji verde sauce on my plate, (I dove right into the meal before adding the sauce), it’s a wonderful condiment that elevates the meal even further!

Marinate the chicken for 24 hours, if you can; if that’s not an option, give it at least an hour to soak in the seasonings. Ají panca paste is made from a Peruvian variety of chili of the same name; the paste is red with fruity, lightly smoky undertones and little heat. Look for it, sold in jars, in well-stocked supermarkets or Latin American grocery stores. If you cannot find it, don’t hesitate to use the sweet paprika plus smoked paprika substitute.

Beer is a common marinade ingredient for pollo a la brasa; Cusqueña, a Peruvian lager, is a good choice, but any quaffable variety will do. We highly recommend serving the chicken and potatoes with ají verde (recipe below), a Peruvian goes-with-everything condiment that’s deliciously creamy, tangy, herbal and spicy.

TIP: Don’t forget to pat the chicken dry after removing it from the marinade, and before sprinkling it with salt and placing the pieces in the skillet. The drier the skin, the better the browning and crisping.

We could not bear to eliminate the flavorful marinade altogether, yet we wanted the skin to be very crispy. So we wiped off the marinade from the chicken into the baking dish and patted them dry. The leftover marinade was then spread over the hot potato slices, and then the chicken pieces placed on top before going into the hot oven.

Not a fan of poultry legs, we used 8 bone-in chicken thighs, which required a larger oven-safe skillet. They went into the baking dish skin-side down, but we ladled the marinate onto the undersides to make sure all parts of the chicken got some flavoring going on. After 30 minutes, we turned the thighs to skin side up and brushed with more marinade.

Skillet-Roasted Peruvian-Style Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. ají panca paste OR 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika, plus 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters, OR 6-8 chicken thighs (about 3 lbs.), trimmed
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Ají verde, to serve (optional, see recipe below)


  1. In a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish, stir together 2 tablespoons oil, the beer, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, ají panca, oregano, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours, turning the chicken once about halfway through marinating.
  2. Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the lowest position. Remove the chicken from the marinade; discard the marinade. Pat the chicken dry and season lightly with salt.
  3. In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the potatoes in an even layer and cook, uncovered and without stirring, until lightly browned at the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Place the chicken skin side up on top of the potatoes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the chicken is deeply browned and the thickest part of the leg quarters reach 175°F, about 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven (the handle will be hot). Let rest for about 10 minutes, then transfer the chicken and potatoes to a serving platter. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve with ají verde (if using).

Aji Verde Sauce

Ají verde is a popular Peruvian condiment. Creamy and spicy, with fruity acidity from lime juice, it’s the perfect accompaniment to pollo a la brasa. Ají amarillo is a spicy yellow Peruvian chili. Look for ají amarillo paste in Latin American markets, but if not available, simply omit it. The sauce still will taste great.


  • ½ cup  mayonnaise
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove. minced
  • 2 Tbsp. grated cotija cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh minced cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. jarred huacatay paste
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice


Combine all ingredients in a blender or small food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.


Recipes by Courtney Hill & Elizabeth Mindreau for Milk Street

Braised Chicken and Lentils

For this “stew” if you will, meaty bone-in chicken thighs are seasoned with smoked paprika, salt, and pepper and then browned to build a base of flavor with a subtle, smoky depth of braised chicken with hearty stewed lentils. Next, the onions, tomatoes, and carrot are sautéed and layered in garlic, tomato paste, and earthy fresh thyme to keep the flavor rich and complex.

Tomato paste plays double-duty, adding savoriness while helping to thicken the lentils. The browned chicken thighs are nestled into the lentils, fortifying them with chicken stock and some extra smoked paprika, and braises the mixture uncovered in the oven.

Keeping the Dutch oven uncovered thickens the stewed lentils as the chicken braises. Whisking a splash of sherry vinegar in at the end brightens the dish and helps break down some of the lentils, adding body and creaminess.

Preferably use a large, 6-quart Dutch oven; if your Dutch oven is smaller, you will need to sear the chicken in batches and allow the chicken to overlap slightly in the lentil mixture in step 4. Whisking the lentils vigorously in step 5 helps create a rich, creamy sauce.

Braised Chicken and Lentils

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2½ tsp. table salt, divided
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika, divided
  • ¾ tsp. pepper, divided
  • 8 (5- to 7-oz.) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, cored and chopped1 onion, chopped fine
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon paprika, and ½ teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with salt mixture.
  2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until skin is well browned, 12 to 16 minutes; transfer chicken to plate.
  3. Add tomatoes, onion, carrot, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper to fat remaining in pot and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until tomatoes begin to break down, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring constantly, until fond begins to form on bottom of pot, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in broth, scraping up browned bits. Stir in lentils and remaining 1 teaspoon paprika. Nestle chicken into lentil mixture, skin side up, and bring to simmer over high heat.
  6. Transfer pot to oven and cook, uncovered, until chicken registers at least 185 degrees, 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Transfer chicken to clean plate. Return pot (handles will be very hot) to stovetop and continue to cook lentil mixture over medium heat, stirring often, until liquid is thickened and lentils are fully tender, 5 to 7 minutes longer.
  8. Add vinegar and whisk vigorously until liquid is creamy, about 30 seconds (lentil mixture will thicken as it cools). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Transfer lentils to shallow serving bowls and top each portion with 2 chicken thighs. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


Recipe by Amanda Luchtel for Cook’s Country

Spicy Sheet Pan Pork Chops and Broccoli

Try this super-simple meal full of flavor due to the pickled peperoncini which adds spice and tanginess in the form of brine. They are also known as Tuscan peppers, which are a sweet, mild variety of chili pepper. That being said, we decided to use our cherry pepper and banana pepper rings which were already sliced down.

Our other substitutions included thick pork chops as opposed to the rib-chops, and incorporating a 19-ounce can of chickpeas instead of the suggested 15-ounce amount.

Preheating the empty sheet pan in the oven is a great way to brown ingredients without having to take the time to sear them on the stove. We were a little disappointed at the outcome because the broccoli was still too firm and the pork was a bit overdone. To counter that issue, we suggest you *microwave the broccoli with water for a few minutes before adding the florets to the preheated sheet pan; and check the chops temperature after 10 minutes on the second side. If they are done, remove them to a plate and cover with foil until the broccoli is tender.

On another note, The Hubs decided to increase the seasoning on the chops with more than just salt, so he also sprinkled them with a half teaspoon each of garlic powder and black pepper. We also think tossing in 6 to 8 peeled garlic cloves would enhance the dish.

Spicy Sheet Pan Pork Chops and Broccoli

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • Four 10-to-12-oz. pork chops (about 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets*
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
  • 8 whole pickled peperoncini, halved lengthwise, plus 1/4 cup brine
  • Our additions: 8 peeled garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a rimmed sheet pan on the bottom rack. Rub the pork chops with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set the pork chops on the preheated baking sheet, and roast until they’re browned on the underside, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toss the broccoli, chickpeas and peperoncini with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt. Flip the pork chops, and set them to one side of the pan.
  3. Add the broccoli mixture, peperoncini brine, and 1/2 cup water. Continue to roast, stirring once halfway through, until the broccoli is charred and tender and the pork chops are cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes, and serve.


Recipe from Lidia Bastianich

Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans, Swiss Chard and Marjoram

For this lamb shanks recipe, Cook’s Illustrated preferred to braise them in the oven rather than on the stovetop, as the oven provided more even heat. Browning the shanks over high heat in a skillet first added a great deal of flavor to the dish. The shanks are braised in chicken stock (which complements, rather than overpowers, the lamb, as beef or veal stock might have), white wine, and herbs.

We made numerous changes to this recipe, starting with the lamb shanks. Instead of six small (which equates to more bone and less meat), we braised two meaty shanks that weighed close to two pounds each. When it is time to brown the shanks, you may have to do it in two batches if cooking more than two of them.

*As for the white beans, we did soak ours overnight as per the instructions below, but you could use 2 cans of cannellinis, drained and rinsed to save time. Instead of using several different skillets and pans, we did everything in one large braising pot. Finally, although we didn’t do it this time, we highly suggest that you reduce the liquids from 3 cups of broth to 2, and 2 cups of white wine down to 1 cup. These changes are note in the recipe below.

Braised Lamb Shanks with White Beans, Swiss Chard and Marjoram

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Cannellini Beans*

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lb. small white beans (such as Cannellini), soaked until rehydrated, overnight or at least 4 hours
  • 4 cloves garlic (peeled, left whole)
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 ½ tsp. table salt

Lamb Shanks and Braising Liquid

  • 4 lamb shanks, 1 1⁄4 to 1 1⁄2 lb. each, trimmed of excess fat and fell (thin, white papery covering)
  • Table salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced thick
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium ribs celery, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 tsp. fresh marjoram leaves, minced, or 1 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, stemmed, and chopped coarsely
  • Ground black pepper


  1. FOR BEANS: Bring dried beans, bay leaf, garlic, and water to simmer in large saucepan. Simmer, partially covered, until beans are just tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in salt, cover, and let beans stand until completely tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserve cooking liquid, and discard bay leaf and garlic. (Beans in liquid can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated up to 5 days.)
  3. FOR SHANKS: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle shanks with salt. Heat oil in a large, nonreactive sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shanks to pan in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Sauté until browned on all sides, 5-7 minutes. Using tongs, transfer shanks to a plate as they brown.
  4. Drain all but 2 tablespoons fat from the sauté pan; add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomato paste, a light sprinkling of salt and 2 teaspoons of the fresh marjoram (less if using dried); sauté to soften vegetables slightly, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add wine, then chicken stock to the skillet, stirring with a wooden spoons to loosen browned bits from skillet bottom. Bring liquid to simmer; transfer vegetables and liquid into a deep braising pan, large enough to hold the shanks in a single layer. Add shanks and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Cover pan (with foil if pan has no lid) and transfer it to the oven; braise shanks for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and continue braising until shank tops are browned, about 30 minutes. Turn shanks and continue braising until remaining side has browned and shanks are fall-off-the-bone tender, about another 20 minutes.
  7. Remove pan from oven; let shanks rest for at least 15 minutes. Carefully transfer shanks with tongs to each plate.
  8. Arrange a portion of vegetables around each shank. Skim excess fat from braising liquid. Add beans and chard and remaining 1 teaspoon marjoram; cook over medium heat until greens wilt, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Spoon a portion of braising liquid over each shank and serve.


Adapted from a recipe by Cook’s Illustrated

Crab Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

We recently had these gems as part of our New Year’s Eve dinner. Any festive occasion such as anniversary, graduation, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or you just feel a little decadent one day, they are an easy, healthy and festive main or first course for any special celebration.

Try to pick four equally-sized large portobello mushrooms. Check the gills to see if they’re fresh by looking for a paper-thin layer of white cap. The perfect mushrooms will be damp and springy but not overly moist, mushy, or dried out.

Break the stems off of the portobello mushrooms and scrape the gills out of them with a spoon. Wipe the caps with a damp paper towel, and then lay them gilled side up in the dish before setting them aside.

Once prepped and filled, bake the mushrooms until they are soft, the filling is heated through, and the topping is browned, which should take around 30 to 32 minutes. Let the mushrooms cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then top them with additional scallions before serving (if desired).

Unbelievably delicious, we paired ours with Baked Scallops with Couscous and Leeks for a romantic New Year’s Eve dinner at home. We will be making them again as an hors d’oeuvre for an upcoming dinner party, but will use smaller cremini mushrooms. However, be prepared for sticker-shock over the price of lump crab meat… but special occasions call for treating yourself, right?

A few weeks later we made the appetizer size for the house party. Using the same amount of ingredients for the stuffing, it filled about 30 button mushrooms and took approximately 25 minutes to cook.

Crab Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms
  • 4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp. seafood seasoning blend such as Old Bay
  • ¼ tsp. salt, optional
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 5 to 10 dashes of Tabasco hot sauce
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced, plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs, plus 3 Tbsp., divided (gluten-free if desired)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 Tbsp., divided
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped jarred and drained roasted red pepper or pimento
  • 8 oz. lump or jumbo crab meat
  • 1 Tbsp. melted salted butter
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Break stems off portobello mushrooms. Scrape gills out of them with a spoon. Wipe caps with a damp paper towel. Lay gilled side up in the dish. Set aside.
  2. Beat cream cheese, Old Bay, salt and Tabasco with an electric mixer on medium-low until creamy and the seasonings are fully incorporated into the cream cheese. Add egg white and beat again to combine.
  3. Add scallions, ½ cup breadcrumbs, ½ Parmesan and red pepper and mix on low until combined. 
  4. Stir crab, gently by hand into the cream cheese mixture until just incorporated.
  5. Scoop the filling into the mushrooms, dividing evenly.
  6. Stir the remaining 3 tablespoons panko with butter and paprika until the breadcrumbs are evenly moistened and reddish orange. Sprinkle over the mushrooms. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan.
  7. Bake the mushrooms until they are soft, the filling is heated through and the topping is browned, 30 to 32 minutes. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes. Top with additional scallions before serving, if desired.


Original recipe by Katie Webster

Crispy Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

Looking for a swoon-worthy side dish? Crispy on the outside and soft in the center, these tubers are buttery, cheesy, herby and completely addictive. They also require only one pan, less than 10 ingredients, and just about an hour to make. You had me at potato…

According to the chef Robin Miller, Italian seasoning is a good medley of oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary. Add these herbs individually (about 1 teaspoon each) or substitute your favorites from the spice rack. Other options include adding garlic powder, or onion powder instead. Paprika would be a nice addition for folks who put paprika on everything. For a spicy version, add cayenne pepper or your favorite fiery spice blend.

Once your potatoes are halved, use a small, sharp knife to “score” the flesh, which just means to slice vertically and then horizontally, about ⅛-inch into the flesh, making a crosshatch pattern. This simple yet crucial step allows the butter, cheese and herbs to seep into the nooks and crannies, ensuring maximum flavor all the way to the center of the spud.

Since the main flavor of these crispy potatoes is Parmesan, choose a good-quality cheese. That doesn’t mean you need Italian cheese with a pricy label, any grated cheese made with real Parmesan will suffice.

Our only issue had to do with the amount of potatoes. The recipe called for 2 pounds, which would have been way too much for the pan. We found that 1 pound was the perfect quantity to fit our enameled cast iron pan (although we did not cut back on the remaining ingredients). We believe if you use a half-sized rimmed baking sheet, you should fit most of the halved two pound spuds and the other ingredients.

Crispy Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, unsalted
  • 1 ½ to 2 lbs. of small red and/or gold potatoes, washed and patted dry, scored
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. of grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Italian herb seasoning
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for brushing the potatoes
  • Chopped fresh parsley or chives, optional for serving


  1. Place butter in a 13×9-inch baking pan. Place the pan in the oven and turn the oven on to 400 F to preheat. When the butter is bubbly, remove the pan and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, halve each potato and score the flesh by making a crosshatch pattern about ⅛-inch deep.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Mix well and to the pan. Mix with melted butter to form a paste and spread in an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Nestle the potatoes cut side down into the cheese and butter mixture. Brush the skins of the potatoes with olive oil, season with salt and black pepper and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.
  5. Place the pan in the oven to bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender with a crispy crust.
  6. Remove potatoes from the pan and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the cheese to set. Top with parsley or chives, if you like, and serve.


Bête Noire

A dessert to die for. Bête Noire is a flourless chocolate cake that gets its silky, ultrasmooth, almost custard-like texture from the sugar syrup in the base, as well as from gentle baking. This version brings a uniquely complex flavor by caramelizing sugar with black peppercorns before dissolving the caramel with orange juice and bourbon.

A combination of bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate yields a rounder, richer finish than just one type of chocolate, while Angostura bitters lends a spiciness and depth that balances the sweetness of the dessert.

Milk Street did away with the classic ganache coating and opted to use quickly candied orange zest for a garnish that adds contrasting color and texture. Though the cake requires at least 4 hours of chilling to fully set, it’s best served at room temperature, so don’t forget to remove the cake from the refrigerator at least two hours before serving. For neat slices, dip the knife in hot water, then wipe it dry before each cut.

Don’t use a whisk to combine the ingredients for the batter; a large silicone spatula is better. A whisk incorporates air, which leads to bubbles rising to the surface during baking and marring the smooth, shiny surface. Also, don’t forget to run a knife around the edges of the cake the moment it comes out of the oven; loosening the edges from the sides of the pan prevents the cake from cracking as it cools. Finally, don’t cover the cake before refrigerating, as a cover may trap condensation that can drip onto the cake.

Bête Noire

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) salted butter, cut into 16 pieces, plus more for the pan
  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 large navel orange
  • ¾ cup + ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 3 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp. Angostura bitters
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • Whole-milk Greek yogurt, to serve


  1. Heat the oven to 275°F with a rack in the middle position. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with kitchen parchment, then butter the parchment. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates and the butter; set a fine mesh strainer across the bowl, then set aside.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, remove just the outer zest of the orange, not the white pith just beneath, in long strips; set the strips aside. Halve the orange and juice into a liquid measuring cup. Measure 3 tablespoons of the juice into a medium saucepan. Add the bourbon to the remaining juice in the measuring cup, then add enough water to equal 1 cup total liquid; set aside.
  3. Add the ¾ cup sugar to the juice in the saucepan, then add the zest strips and peppercorns. Set over medium-high and cook, without stirring but occasionally swirling the pan, until the sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling the pan often, until the sugar caramelizes to deep mahogany brown and the peppercorns begin to pop, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in the orange juice–bourbon mixture; the caramel will bubble up and harden. Set the pan over medium, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the caramel has dissolved and the peppercorns no longer stick together, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the bitters.
  4. Immediately pour the hot sugar syrup through the strainer into the chocolate-butter mixture; reserve the strained solids. Jostle the bowl to ensure the chocolate and butter are fully covered with syrup, then let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a silicone spatula, gently stir until the mixture is well combined and completely smooth; it should be barely warm.
  5. Add the beaten eggs to the chocolate mixture and stir with the spatula until homogenous and glossy, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour into the prepared springform pan. Gently tap the sides of the pan to remove any air bubbles, then use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Set the pan on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the cake barely jiggles when the pan is gently shaken, about 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and immediately run a thin, sharp knife around the edges to loosen the sides of the cake from the pan. Cool to room temperature in the pan, then refrigerate uncovered for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  7. While the cake cools transfer the zest strips from the strainer to a small, shallow bowl, removing and discarding any peppercorns stuck to them. Sprinkle the strips with ⅓ cup sugar, then toss until the strips are completely coated. Cover loosely and store at room temperature until ready to serve.
  8. About 2 hours before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator. Remove the zest strips from the sugar and shake off excess sugar; reserve the sugar for another use. Cut the strips lengthwise into thin strips. Remove the sides of the springform pan. Arrange the zest slivers on the cake around the edges. Slice the cake and serve with small spoonfuls of yogurt.


Recipe by Wes Martin for Milk Street

Thai-Style Braised Duck with Green Beans

If you are a duck fan, then you must put this fabulous recipe on your shortlist. Never tried duck? Then this recipe is a great jumping off point. Keep in mind, the duck anatomy has quite a different bone structure than that of chicken or turkey. If you are unsure how to break one down, watch on a video, ask the butcher, or simply buy 4 duck legs.

On another note, all of the meat on a duck is dark meat, even the breast. But with this method all of the meat comes out juicy and tender—not greasy at all! Duck and goose are poultry and considered “white” meat. Because they are birds of flight, however, the breast meat is darker than chicken and turkey breast.

On the plus side, duck meat’s rich flavor and color provides a red meat eating experience with the health benefits of poultry. Duck meat is rich in iron and protein like beef but is leaner and has fewer calories like its poultry counterparts. Plus, duck fat is healthier with less saturated fat and more omega-3 fat than beef.

Speaking of the fat on a duck, you want to make sure it gets rendered down. The Hubs decided to render the extra pieces of fat and skin in another skillet, and when crisp he removed them from the hot oil on a paper towel-lined plate, sprinkled with salt and ate as a snack once cooled. With the remaining leftover oil (we had 3 cups!), he will freeze the fat and save it to make duck confit sometime in the future.

Once bottom browns, turn the pieces. Eventually liquid will evaporate and duck will cook in its fat only. At this point lower heat and continue to cook duck, turning occasionally, until it becomes tender, about 1 hour. While the skin does look nice and brown, it will not be crispy once it steams with the beans in a covered dish.

Rice would make a fine accompaniment, but we paired ours this time with Roasted Parmesan Potatoes, which were wonderfully crispy on the outside, meltingly tender on the inside. Stock will be made from the unused pieces of the duck, such as the back and wings.

Thai-Style Braised Duck with Green Beans

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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  • 1 duck, quartered, or 4 legs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 small chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. nam pla (fish sauce) or soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • Cilantro for garnish, coarsely chopped


  1. Remove excess fat from duck. Season with salt and pepper and put in a skillet or saute pan that will fit it comfortably. Turn heat to medium and cover. Check once you hear sizzling; duck should be simmering in its own fat and exuding liquid. Adjust heat to create a steady simmer.
  2. Once bottom browns, turn. Eventually liquid will evaporate and duck will cook in its fat only. At this point lower heat and continue to cook duck, turning occasionally, until it becomes tender, about 1 hour.
  3. Transfer duck when tender to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Turn heat to medium and add onion; cook until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and chilies and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add beans and sugar and turn heat to high; cook, stirring occasionally, until beans begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons water and nam pla (fish sauce) or soy sauce. Put duck on top of bean mixture and bring to a simmer, Cover and cook until both beans and duck are very tender, 15 to 30 more minutes, adding a little more water if necessary to keep mixture moist. Uncover and stir in lime juice; taste and adjust seasoning, then sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


Recipe by Mark Bittman for NYTimes Cooking

Adobo Chicken & Kale Enchiladas

Not your typical enchilada, this fun meal utilizes rotisserie, or leftover chicken, and is sure to please. Some favorite toppings include cilantro, sour cream, guacamole and pickled jalapeños. The fact that only one pan is used, makes the meal even more appealing.

Not sure I’d go as far as “healthy” enchiladas but with the addition of kale, they are at least moving in the right direction.

We made numerous changes starting with sautéeing the chopped onions in olive oil until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Removed the onions to a side dish then sautéed the kale in olive oil for a few minutes and added the water. Because we are “saucy” eaters, and to suit our own preferences, we doubled the enchilada sauce and included two cups of Mexican cheese blend. All noted in the list below.

Speaking of the sauce, we highly recommend doubling the three ingredients (enchilada sauce, sour cream and chipotles in adobo) because most of it gets sucked up into the tortillas. Those doubled amounts are indicated in the ingredients list below. If for some reason you’d rather stick to the original recipe, just cut those three ingredients in half; and use only 1 1/2 cups of cheese.

Adobo Chicken & Kale Enchiladas

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground pepper
  • 2 10 oz. cans red enchilada sauce
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 4-6 Tbsp. minced chipotles in adobo
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • ¾ cup diced white onion, divided
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large cast-iron skillet (12-inch) over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the onions and set aside.
  3. Add additional tablespoon of olive oil; when hot add kale and water; cook, stirring, until bright green and wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken, cumin, salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Combine enchilada sauce, sour cream and chipotles to taste in a small bowl. Spread 1 cup of the mixture in the pan. Place 4 tortillas over the sauce, overlapping them to cover the bottom. Top with half the chicken mixture, 1/4 cup onion and 3/4 cup cheese. Layer on half the remaining sauce, 4 tortillas, the remaining chicken, 1/4 cup onion and 3/4 cup cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas, sauce and cheese.
  5. Bake the enchiladas until bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup onion before serving.
  6. Garnish with desired toppings such as cilantro, sour cream, guacamole and pickled jalapeños.


Recipe sourced from Eating Well Magazine

Chicken Escabeche

This Peruvian chicken escabeche is seasoned with aji amarillo, an orange-yellow chili ubiquitous to that country’s cuisine. In the U.S., the chilies are difficult to find fresh, but aji amarillo paste, sold in jars, is available in some well-stocked markets, specialty stores, or easily online. We purchased it online as a 3-pack with two other Peruvian pastes.

Escabeche is made by soaking meat or seafood in an acidic marinade after cooking, allowing the addition of bright flavors without altering the texture of the meat. The fruity, yet earthy flavor of aji amarillo is an important part of this dish, but if you cannot find the paste, use 1 or 2 seeded and finely minced jalapeños.

FYI–Don’t use regular chili powder instead of pure ancho chili powder. Regular chili powder is a spice blend, whereas ancho chili powder contains only ancho chilies. If you can’t find the powdered, grind some dried ancho chilies in a spice grinder, as shown above.

Because the skin was removed, you might encounter the chicken meat sticking to the pan. Try to pry most of it off the pan, but it is OK to leave some of the meat because it will make a nice fond and release itself once the liquids are added in. It was delicious served with the onion mixture on top of the thighs over a bed of garlic rice.

Chicken Escabeche

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs (4 thighs), skin removed, trimmed and patted dry
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
  • 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. aji amarillo paste
  • 1 Tbsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 medium red onions, halved and sliced ¾-inch thick
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar


  1. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook on each side, without disturbing, until deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to low and simmer until a skewer inserted into the largest thigh meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and cover with foil. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil over high and cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium until shimmering. Add the garlic, aji amarillo paste, ancho chili and cumin, then cook, scraping the bottom, until browned and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the onions, bell pepper, 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, then add the vinegar. Cook, stirring, until the onions have begun to soften and the sauce is just thick enough to coat the vegetables, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reduced broth, bring to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring, until thickened to a glaze, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the reserved chicken. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then serve.


Adapted from a recipe by Julia Rackow for Milk Street

Sheet Pan Smoked Paprika Chicken with Chickpeas

Juicy chicken thighs are coated in a bold tomato rub with lots of fresh garlic and warm, earthy spices including smoked paprika and cumin, and brightened with a hint of lemon juice. The whole thing comes together in a flash — simply chop some veggies and season everything with the tomato rub. Toss it into a sheet pan and roast.

There is nothing complicated about the ingredient list either. You just need some spices, chickpeas, vegetables, and chicken. For more heat, use hot smoked paprika instead. It lends itself well to customizations, so feel free to swap out carrots for other root veggies like beets or parsnips, or add potatoes or sweet potatoes for more heft.

While we did start out piling everything on one sheet pan (against out better judgement), after 30 minutes in the oven, we transferred the chicken thighs on another prepared baking sheet and covered with foil. The reason being, the vegetables were steaming instead of roasting. The veggies went back into the oven to continue cooking until fork tender and beginning to brown slightly, another 10-15 minutes. As the vegetable tray was roasting, we then popped the thighs, uncovered, under the broiler (we have a 2-oven stove).

Next time, we may start with dividing everything between 2 sheet pans from the start. You may prep ahead by chopping the vegetables and making the sauce. Just refrigerate them until ready to begin cooking.

FYI, we are using boneless skinless chicken thighs here, but bone-in thighs or boneless skinless breasts would work as well. Since boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook in about 18 minutes in the oven, you will need to roast your vegetables for about 10 minutes first, then add the breasts. Otherwise, the carrots won’t cook in time.

Sheet Pan Smoked Paprika Chicken with Chickpeas

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Tomato Rub

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 large lemons, about ½ cup
  • 5 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper flakes or granules

Chicken And Vegetables

  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, halved and cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat if necessary


  1. Position one rack in the center of the oven and another one 4 or 5 inches under the broiler. Preheat the oven to 425°F
  2. Prepare the tomato rub: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, paprika, and Aleppo pepper. Whisk well to combine.
  3. Prepare the chicken and vegetables: Lightly brush a large sheet pan with some of the olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the carrots, onions, and chickpeas. Season well with salt and black pepper (about ½ teaspoon each). Add 4 tablespoons of the tomato rub and a small drizzle of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon), and mix well to coat. Transfer the mixture to the sheet pan. Set bowl aside for chicken.
  4. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and black pepper on both sides. Place the chicken in the reserved bowl and add the remaining tomato mixture, tossing until the chicken is well coated.
  5. Transfer the chicken to the sheet pan(s) along with the chickpeas and vegetables. Roast on the center rack until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes (ours took more like 45 minutes). Then move the sheet pan up to the top rack directly under the heat and broil until the chicken gains some color, 3 to 4 minutes, watching carefully. The onions and carrots may also gain some char.
  6. Serve with your favorite rustic bread, if desired.


Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadsheh

Ground Turkey Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Goulash

We try as often as possible to include super foods, and in this recipe it’s cabbage. In fact, according to Wiki studies, cabbage has protective effects against colon cancer amongst many other diseases. Cabbage is also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and folate. That sounded like good enough reason to try this recipe.

It’s best to season the mixture with what you and your family prefer. I made the cumin and red pepper flakes as part of the ingredients and NOT optional. But if you feel on the adventurous side, you may want to consider including a little brown sugar, celery seed and/or add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Another one-pot wonder… The original recipe called for a small head of cabbage, but after making it, we both felt it could use a large head for a better meat to veggie ratio. A slice of toasted crusty bread with a garlic-butter sauce was a perfect compliment to the goulash.

Note: It may seem like you don’t have enough liquid at first but when the cabbage cooks down it will be perfect.

Ground Turkey Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Goulash

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 lbs. ground turkey, (or pork, or lamb, or beef)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 6 oz. vegetable or chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • A few leaves of chopped fresh basil


  1. Heat a Dutch oven or extra large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil and cook the onions until translucent. Cook beef or turkey meat and onion in the hot Dutch oven until browned.
  3. Drain and discard grease.
  4. Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin, and fresh basil. Use fire roasted or flavored diced tomatoes for more flavor.
  5. Bring the ingredients to a boil.
  6. Cover Dutch oven, reduce heat and simmer until cabbage is tender. This will take about 30 minutes.


Loosely adapted from a recipe on isavea2z.com

Thai Stir-Fried Pork with Basil, Chilies and Garlic

The Thai name for this dish is Pad Krapao meaning “fried holy basil”. It is a fragrant, flavor-packed Thai stir-fry. Despite the dishes name, the basil isn’t actually fried, but wilted into the mix at the very end of cooking.

Our holy basil—which has a peppery, menthol-like bite—was done for the season, so we opted to use our fresh Thai basil, still going strong in the raised herb bed. Sweet Italian basil is a third choice; but if using either of the last two, you’ll need to use 50% more.

To top it all off, a fried egg with a runny yolk is used, adding creaminess while the crisp edges provide crunch. Not typically a fan of runny yolks, I decided to go with it for this recipe. Glad I did because it did add not only to the flavor but also the contrasting textures.

As with most stir-fries, don’t start cooking until all of the ingredients are prepped and near the stove. And don’t cook those eggs in advance because they should still be warm when added to the dish. If you prefer a more fiery kick, don’t discard the chili seeds.

Thai Stir-Fried Pork with Basil, Chilies and Garlic

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 7 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 4 or 5 Fresno chilies. stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. grapeseed oil, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 cups (1oz.) lightly packed holy basil OR 3 cups lightly packed Thai or Italian basil, torn
  • Steamed jasmine rice to serve


  1. In a food processor, combine the garlic and chilies. Pulse until finely chopped, with some slightly larger pieces remaining, 8 to 10 pulses.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, sou sauce, fish sauce, sugar and a 1⁄2 cup water. Set both the garlic-chili mixture and the sauce mixture near the stove.
  3. In a 12- or 14-inch wok over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until barely smoking. Reduce to medium, the crack 2 eggs into the center of the wok, each in a different spot. Use a silicone spatula to gently push edges of the egg whites toward the yolk to keep the eggs separate.
  4. Cook, occasionally spooning some of the hot oil over the eggs until the whites are crisp and brown on the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a thin metal spatula, transfer the eggs to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining to 2 eggs. Wipe out wok.
  5. Return the wok to medium-high and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oiluntil barely smoking. Add the garic-chili mixture and cook, stirring until fragrant and lightly browned.
  6. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until the meat is broken up into mostly small bits, 1 to 2 minutes.
  7. Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until pork is no longer pink and the liquid thickens slightly but remains saucy, about 3 minutes.
  8. Off heat add the basil and stir until just wilted. Divide the rice and the stir-fry among serving plates and top each with an egg.


Adapted from a recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Chili-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Remember the loaded potato bar craze? This hearty riff is a weeknight meal’s dream found when I ran across a food article in Better Homes & Gardens. We made several modifications such as a combo of shredded cheddar and jack cheeses, more ground beef (which BTW, you could also use ground turkey), an extra scallion, and added a teaspoon of chipotle powder.

As far as microwaving the sweet potatoes, not a fan. Often they come out inconsistent as to the softness throughout. Of course, if you are pressed for time, that might be the way to go. Ours took 60 minutes in a 400° oven (time to enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine).

It’s a personal preference whether or not you eat the potato skins. I for one, don’t mind them and get extra fiber from doing so, The Hubs, not so much. If you have leftovers, they will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, although it’s best to keep all of the layers separate.

Chili-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 cup fresh salsa, drained (liquid reserved)
  • 12 oz. to 1 lb. lean ground beef (you decide how much meat)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 15-oz. can black bean fiesta, undrained
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1+ cup grated cheddar cheese (or a jack and cheddar mix)
  • 1⁄2 cup sour cream
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced


  1. In a two-quart sauce pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add drained salsa for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the meat and chili powder. Cook and stir, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until cooked throughand beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in reserved salsa liquid and beans with their liquid. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, to cook the sweet potatoes, wash and pat dry. Prick each spud four times with a fork; microwave on high for 15 minutes, flipping once during cooking. (Alternatively, bake the potatoes in a 400° oven for 45-60 minutes.)
  5. Use a sharp knife to test for doneness. If not tender enough, continue to microwave in one-minute increments until tender.
  6. Split open the potatoes and gently squeeze to create a central cavity. Place on plates.
  7. Spoon chili over potatoes and top with cheese, sour cream and scallions.


Chinese Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce

This tasty Asian sauce is quite adaptable to any stir-fry. Go ahead and double it if desired so that you have enough for an additional stir-fry in the future. The choice of vegetables is also a personal preference, but try to keep the total amounts about the same.

Prep all ingredients before you start the stir-fry. We substituted hatch chile peppers for the green bell because it was a new item that we had never tried before. They look very similar to long hots, which are quite spicy. The package indicated they had a medium heat level—we thought they were milder than that. They also take a bit longer than the red bell pepper to soften in the wok.

Chinese Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Bean Sauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dry sherry or Shaoxing
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Chinese black bean and garlic sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. Asian chile paste
  • 1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger

In a measuring cup, combine the cornstarch with the sherry, whisking to blend. Then whisk in the remaining ingredients. Set aside. Can be easily doubled.


  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed caps cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 6-8 scallions, trimmed with whites cut into 1″ lengths, greens sliced thin for garnish
  • 4 garlic scape stems cut into 1/2″lengths; or 3 garlic cloves sliced thin
  • 1 each red and green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1″ pieces
  • I lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup white rice, cooked according to package directions


  • Heat a large wok on high. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil. When smoking, add scallions and garlic stirring constantly for 2 minutes, then place into a large bowl.
  • Add 1 more tablespoon to wok and toss in bell pepper pieces, stir continuously for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Put in bowl with scallions.
  • Put final tablespoon peanut oil into wok and then add chicken. Let chicken sit in hot wok for one full minute before you start to flip; then stir until the pink disappears. Add chicken to bowl with vegetables.
  • Pour reserved black bean sauce into wok, when hot dump all of the bowl ingredients into wok and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  • Serve steamed rice on each dinner plate topped with stir-fry. Garnish with chopped basil and scallion greens.