Tag Archives: chicken

Sheet pan chicken

22 Jan

Cooking seems to be equal parts high art and necessary chore. Sometimes I would be perfectly content to putter around the kitchen all day long. Other times, I just want to toss something in the oven and just forget about it.

dinner is served

This dish would be perfect for those easy dinner days. You literally toss together whatever sounds good or whatever you have in your fridge, put some chicken thighs on top of it all and toss it in the oven. And you pull out the most delicious, nutritious dinner you could imagine!

nutritious dinner

This is not so much a recipe, but more of a guideline for a delicious meal. This is how I make mine…you can use other vegetables that you prefer, making sure to choose ones that roast well like root vegetables. You can also swap out the protein; to keep it simple, select something that roasts in the same time as the vegetables, such as pork chops or sausages. Fish would also work here, but you’d have to roast the vegetables for a while on their own before adding the fish for a shorter amount of roasting time. Half the fun is experimenting and making this dish your own – let your imagination run wild!!

So first, I cut up the vegetables I’m going to use.

raw vegetables

Some of my favorites are onions, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower and broccoli. So let’s start with those, cut up into bite sized pieces. And since I still have some rutabaga left over from the pasties, I’ll chop that up and add it to the mix. Along with a buttercup squash that I’ve had around for quite a while.

vegetables in bag

I cut them all up and place them into a plastic bag, drizzle with olive oil, add crushed garlic, salt and pepper and any other seasonings that you like and toss together to coat all the vegetables completely and evenly with the oil and seasonings. If you have any fresh rosemary or fresh thyme, add them to this mix. They add quite a nice flavor to the dish.

Then pour all the vegetables onto a heavy baking sheet pan.

vegetables on pan

Go ahead and dry the chicken thighs. I love to use chicken thighs with the skin on and bone in because the meat is so tender and flavorful and never dries out. And the skin crisps up so nicely!

You could season the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder or go nuts and use jerk seasoning or garam masala or curry powder. Other seasonings that are fantastic are anything by Chef Earl, a local fixture at the St Paul farmers market. Every time I make this dish, I use something different to season the chicken and I have yet to find a seasoning that I don’t like here. Today, I used a little Arisco, some paprika that my brother brought me from his trip to Hungary and some fresh cracked pepper.

Place the chicken thighs atop the vegetables and place into preheated oven for 45 minutes.

chicken ready for oven

Check the vegetables at 45 minutes and if they don’t seem done, leave them in another 15 minutes. Sometimes, I like to have the vegetables nice and browned, other times just having them be soft and cooked all the way through is good. You can check the potatoes and carrots for doneness by sticking a fork in them. If they are soft enough, the fork will  slide right in. If they are still hard, roast them for longer.

I’ve never had any issues with the chicken not being cooked all the way through, but if that’s a concern for  you, put a meat thermometer into the largest piece of the chicken and make sure it measures at least 165F/74C.

Look at the crispy skin on this piece!

crispy skin

Sheet pan chicken


6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 bunch of broccoli, broken into florets
1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
1 8oz package of mushrooms, halved
1 pound of baby red potatoes, chopped in large pieces
4-6 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped in large pieces
1 onion, chopped in large pieces
1/2 rutabaga, peeled and chopped in large pieces
1/2 buttercup squash, peeled and chopped in large pieces
4 garlic cloves, pressed
2-3 tablespoons of seasoning
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
cracked pepper
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 425F/220C.

Peel and chop the vegetables. Make the harder, longer cooking vegetables slightly smaller and make the softer, faster cooking vegetables larger. Place in large plastic bag or large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add seasoning, pressed garlic and salt and pepper to taste and toss well to coat all the vegetables evenly. Add fresh rosemary or thyme sprigs.

Pour onto heavy baking sheet pan.

Dry chicken thighs well with paper towels. Rub the thighs really well with seasoning of  choice. Place atop the vegetables on the sheet pan.

Roast for 45 minutes, then check vegetables and chicken for doneness. If not done, return to oven for another 15 minutes or until done.

You can easily double the quantity of ingredients and make two pans at the same time. That way you’ll have lunches for the rest of the week. You’re welcome!

There are lots of variations on this dish here and here and here. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Hash

16 Apr

I was fortunate enough to be at Alice’s house for the last post – that quinoa and sweet potato combination was really quite tasty. It was so fun to be cooking in Alice’s kitchen on the other side of the world from my house, working together on a dish for the blog that we usually co-author from so far away.

I enjoyed her sweet potato dish so much that I decided to make a sweet potato  hash

1-Sweet Potato Hash 022

Hash is one of my favorite weekend dishes, I usually use leftover potatoes, vegetables and whatever meat I may have left over (see the Carnitas Hash). Topped with a poached egg, it makes for a delicious meal and is never the same dish twice. This time, I used some baked sweet potatoes that I had in my fridge, poached a chicken breast and topped with avocado, as well as the all important poached egg.

1-Sweet Potato Hash 002

First I started by bringing a pot of water to a boil and poached the chicken.

poached chicken

I chopped up some onions and sauteed them in butter in a large skillet


…and promptly forgot to keep an eye on them, so they got a bit brown – but those bits taste really good!

onions, browned

Then I peeled and chopped up the sweet potatoes and tossed them into the skillet to brown as well

Sweet Potatos

After the chicken was done, I chopped that up and added it to the skillet

chicken in the hash

After everything was appropriately heated and crisped, then it was time to serve it up. I topped it with a poached egg for a special treat and because I love poached eggs. (see here how to easily poach an egg)

The slices of avocado added a creaminess that was a good balance to this hash.

avocado and egg

If you make the egg soft, then the delicious runny yolk will create a sort of sauce for the rest of the dish.

1-Sweet Potato Hash 026

Add a latte made with Australian coffee beans and voila! You have a delicious breakfast that’s good enough for company, but is just as good served on your coffee table while you and two cats watch the snow fall outdoors.

1-Sweet Potato Hash 030

Sweet Potato Hash

1/2 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 small sweet potatoes, baked, peeled and chopped
1 chicken breast, poached (see this easy method)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter in the pan. When the butter is all melted, add the onions and saute, stirring regularly until they are softened and lightly browned. Then add the chopped baked sweet potato and toss while allowing to brown. Add the chicken at the end, just long enough to combine and heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with avocado slices and a poached egg.

This is just a general starting point for hash. The beauty of this dish is you can add whatever you like or have in your fridge at that moment. I’ve made it with leftover baked potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, onions, spinach, bell peppers, cauliflower – the sky’s the limit. I like to add meat for an extra protein punch – steak, corned beef, pork, carnitas, roasted chicken, chorizo, roast beef…the list goes on and on. You can just as easily make it vegetarian by leaving out the meat and adding broad beans, cannellini, garbanzo beans, lentils or whatever your favorite bean might be. It’s great for using up leftovers without it tasting like you’re using up leftovers.

Try it, you’ll like it!

Alice, where can you go with this??

Ginger Chicken Jook

2 Dec

Wow, Alice. That ginger rum drink was quite refreshing and will definitely be one of my go-to summer drinks.

Ginger is such a great flavor to add to both sweet and savory dishes. In this case, it’s a comforting chicken soup/porridge with an Asian bent.

Ginger Chicken Jook

A friend shared this recipe with me when I was feeling a bit under the weather last year. It’s tasty, easy and one of the best things to eat when your tummy is not quite right, sort of like the old standard chicken noodle soup.

It’s also good for cool, damp winter nights, when you’re chilled all the way through and you just need something to warm you up, something you can pour into a bowl or a large cup and wrap your hands around to warm you down to your toes. That’s what this does.

Ginger Chicken Jook 010

The ingredients are simple – chicken legs or thighs, chicken broth, water, rice, ginger, salt and pepper – and the flavor is deceptively simple. I blame the ginger.

Chop the ginger into thick slices


No need to peel the ginger, just slice it up.

Then pour everything into a large stock pot and bring to a boil over medium-high.

Ginger Chicken Jook

Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for about an hour.

Ginger Chicken Jook

After an hour, the chicken will be tender, the rice will be softened and the soup will be thickened and porridge-like. Pull the chicken from the pot, cool and remove the meat from the bone.


Return the chicken to the pot, pull out the chunks of ginger and dish up a bowl of the jook. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and scallions, if you have them.

Ginger Chicken Jook


Alice, what sort of adventure in cooking do you have for me?

Ginger Chicken Jook (Rice Porridge)


6 cups water
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken legs or thighs
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, skin on and sliced into 4 pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
Pinch freshly ground white pepper, plus more as needed
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish


Place all ingredients except the cilantro and scallions in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook at a lively simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice has completely broken down and the mixture is creamy, about 1 hour.

Turn off the heat and remove the chicken to a cutting board. When it’s cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the cartilage and bones. Return the chicken shreds to the jook. Stir to combine, taste, and season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro and scallions.

Roast Chicken

5 Nov

Those yummy leeks that Alice made last week made me think about what a great accompaniment they would be to one of my favorite dishes – roasted chicken or roast chook, as we would say in Melbourne.

Our grocery stores do a brisk business selling rotisserie chicken or roast chicken, but it’s so easy to make in your own oven and this way you know exactly what you’re getting. No weird three syllable ingredients, just real natural food without a lot of fuss.

I used Thomas Keller’s method for roasting chicken.

Just preheat your oven to 450° F and while the oven is getting up to temperature, truss your chicken or at least tuck the wings back under themselves and tie the legs together. If you want a good entertaining explanation for why you should truss your chicken and how to do it correctly, please watch the video on the link back there.

Dry your chicken really well inside and out with paper towels. The secret to getting crispy skin is to not have anything that will cause steam.

Place the chicken into a roasting pan and sprinkle it with Kosher salt until it’s well covered, then season with some fresh cracked pepper.

Then pop it into the oven for 50-60 minutes. I got some splattering and smoking, but trust me, it was well worth having the smoke detector beeping at me to achieve this great golden chicken.

When the chicken is done pull it out of the oven, toss some fresh thyme into the pan and mix it around in the juices. Then use those juices to baste the chicken.

Cut the chicken and serve with braised leeks, a lovely crisp salad or anything else your heart desires.

And voila! Delicious roast chicken with crispy skin and tender moist meat.

Simple Roast Chicken

One medium (2-3 pound) chicken
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird.

Salt the chicken in an even manner, using about 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt. Season with pepper to taste.

Place the chicken in a roasting pan and when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven.  Roast it until it’s done without basting or touching it for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes in the pan.

Remove the twine. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is meant to be casual. If you wish, you may spread fresh butter on the chicken and serve with mustard on the side. The butter and mustard are not even necessary, as this chicken is beautifully crispy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside with a lovely fresh simple flavor.

Black Beans and Rice with Oven Fried Chicken

18 Feb

Alice’s last post looked utterly delicious! Black beans have so much flavor and make for such a satisfying meal.

I grew up eating beans every day. They are high in protein and in fiber. In other words, they are good for you. They are also very inexpensive, especially if you buy the dried beans and cook them yourself.

The Brazilian beans I ate every day were a little different from these, but I took inspiration from them. Our beans were brown and not quite as flavorful as black beans. We didn’t typically add vegetables to them either. It was just onions, garlic and maybe the odd bit of meat for flavoring. The black beans were eaten more frequently in Curitiba and areas near the southern coast of Brazil, where we vacationed each year. They were also used for feijoada, the national Brazilian dish of beans and many different sorts of meats cooked together into an amazingly rich goodness. This combination of things meant that to me, black beans were special occasion food. I enjoy eating them all the time now, without having to wait for a special occasion.

To make these every day special occasion beans, first chop up some onion and tomatoes, press garlic through a garlic press and mix it with some salt until it becomes a paste. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, drizzle enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Toss in the onions, let them saute until they are soft, add the garlic paste and let cook for about a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook them until softened and starting to release a little of their juice, about five minutes.

Then toss in a can of rinsed, drained black beans,

stir well to combine, season with salt, fresh ground pepper and some cumin.

Use the empty bean can to fill with hot water and add that to the pan.

Let this cook until thickened, add a dash of hot sauce and serve over rice.

The rice starts off in much the same manner. Saute the onion in a heavy bottomed pan and once it has begun to soften, about five minutes, add the garlic paste and let that cook for a minute or two.

In the meantime, rinse your rice until the water runs clear, then drain it. When the onions and garlic are softened and have sufficiently scented your kitchen (remember to BREATHE in this heavenly aroma)

add the rice and stir it around in the pan. Let it combine with the onion mixture and even fry a bit.

After about five minutes of frying the rice,

pour in the boiling water.

You should use nearly double the amount of water as rice. Stir it well, making sure to scrape the rice off the edges of the pan. Taste the water to check the flavor, adjusting the salt to taste.

Let it boil for a minute or two, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. It should barely simmer for about 20 minutes. DO NOT stir the rice while it is cooking. You will end up with a glob of mush and will incur the wrath of every Brazilian grandmother there ever was! Check the pan after about 15 minutes, looking for little holes in the top of the cooked rice and take a taste to see if the rice is soft. You should poke a spoon down to the bottom of the pan to make sure the water has not all boiled off, as you don’t want to burn your rice. If the bottom of the pan is dry and the rice is still not done, add a little more boiling water and keep covered.

You will end up with a slightly crispier crust of rice at the bottom of the pan when you are done. This is a favorite treat among most rice eaters, at least in my family.

Top the rice with the beans and you’ve got yourself a delicious, satisfying, inexpensive meal.

I decided to add my Mom’s oven “fried” chicken to this meal. It is baked in the oven, but tastes crispy, as if it had been fried. You couldn’t ask for an easier way to prepare chicken.

Sprinkle the chicken with some salt and pepper.

Place a cup of flour in a zip lock bag or any clean plastic bag. Add the seasoning of your choice to the flour. Be generous with your spice.

I used a Cajun spice this time, along with some garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Drop the chicken in the bag of seasoned flour and shake until it’s completely coated.

Place it, skin side down, in a baking pan that has been drizzled with a little bit of oil and a couple of dabs of butter. Repeat for all the pieces. Pop the pan into a 375F degree oven and let it bake for about 20 minutes. Pull the pan out, flip over all the pieces and put it back into the oven for another 20 minutes. If it’s not brown and crispy enough for you yet, let it go another 10 minutes, then check again.

When the chicken is brown and crispy, pull out of the oven and serve. With the beans and rice, of course.

And I’m happy to report that the chicken is just as good eaten cold the next day. Yum!


1 can of black beans
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
A few shakes of Tabasco or other hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Crush garlic, then add to a small bowl with a teaspoon of salt and mix together with a spoon until it becomes a paste. Set aside.

Open can of beans (or cook them from dry), rinse beans and set aside.

In medium saucepan or large skillet, heat enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Saute the onion until soft, about five minutes. Then add the garlic paste and the green pepper, if using. Cook a minute or two longer, then add the tomato. Once the tomatoes have softened and begun to release their juice, about five minutes, pour the drained beans into the pan and mix in the cumin. Then fill the empty bean can with hot water and pour into the mixture. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the water has thickened a bit. Crush some of the beans with the back of your spoon to thicken as well. Add a few shakes of hot sauce and serve.

This is the vegetarian version. You can include bacon to the saute process or add a ham hock for a meaty smoky flavor. Chorizo or other smoked sausages add extra richness to the dish.


1 cup of long grain rice, rinsed and drained
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon of salt
1-2 tablespoons of oil
scant 2 cups of boiling water

Rinse rice until the water runs clear. Drain and set aside.

Chop onion.

Crush garlic, then mix in a small bowl with a teaspoon of salt until it becomes a paste. Set aside.

In a medium heavy bottomed pan, heat enough oil to lightly cover the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and saute until soft, about five minutes, then add the garlic paste and cook a minute or two longer. The rice can be added and fried in the onion and garlic mixture for about five minutes. Pour boiling water in the pan, enough to cover the rice by about 1/2 an inch (2 cm), or a little less than two cups.

Stir it well, making sure to scrape the rice off the edges of the pan. Taste the water for proper seasoning to your taste.

Let it boil for a minute or two, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pan. Let it simmer on low without stirring for about 20 minutes. Check the pan after about 15 minutes, look for little holes in the top of the cooked rice and take a little taste to see if it’s soft. Also, poke a spoon down to the bottom of the pan to make sure the water has not all boiled off, as you don’t want to burn your rice. If the bottom of the pan is dry and the rice is still not done, add more boiling water to the pan and keep covered. Once the rice is softened, turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for about 10 minutes before serving.

Bernice’s* Oven “Fried” Chicken

4 chicken breasts, skin on and bone in, or use whatever pieces you prefer
1 cup white flour
2 tablespoons powdered seasoning. I used Cajun, but you can use Jerk seasoning, a combination of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, Mrs Dash or any other premixed seasoning
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Salt and pepper the chicken. Place the flour and seasonings of your choice in a plastic bag, mix well. Drop the chicken in the bag of seasoned flour and shake to coat.

Place all the chicken pieces skin side down in a baking pan drizzled with some oil and some dabs of butter. Bake for 20 minutes, pull out and turn the chicken pieces over and return to oven for another 20 minutes, or until it is as crispy as you prefer. Eat.

*Bernice is my Mom

Hey Alice. Are you enjoying this tour of South America? What do you have for us now?

Arroz con Pollo (Cuban Chicken with Rice)

4 Feb

That last post of Alice’s was a very heartwarming one for me. My Dad, who just passed away last summer, was a wonderful cook. He could make the simplest dishes taste so amazingly good. The chicken with okra was one dish that he made very well and he taught me how to make it about a year ago. It felt like things were coming full circle to have my dear friend Alice cook a dish for this blog that was my dearly beloved Dad’s. He would have enjoyed that so much!

Thank you Amy for the beautiful photos!

I’m continuing the theme of chicken and rice, which is a staple in Latin America, with my arroz con pollo. Translated from Spanish, it quite simply means “rice with chicken”, but it is ever so much more than simple. The flavors are full, the dish is comforting and it’s a one dish meal. What could be better for a cold winter’s night?

Something I learned from my Dad in the preparation of his delicious Brazilian dishes is to always marinate your meat. Even it if is just for a short time. I marinated my chicken for about 30 minutes, while I was preparing the rest of the ingredients.

It’s a simple marinade of vinegar, garlic, onions, salt, pepper and oregano.

In most Latin cooking, the dish begins with “sofrito“. It is a combination of aromatic ingredients which have been cut into small pieces and slowly sauteed in cooking oil for 15-30 minutes. In Cuban cuisine, sofrito is made up of onions, garlic and green bell pepper.

Sauteing these ingredients adds a rich flavor base to the dish. And the colors are so beautiful together! They look good enough to eat.

First, I heated a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, then I placed the chicken in a single layer in the hot pan. Brown your chicken in more than one batch if you have too much to fit in the pan all at once.

Turn each piece so it browns on all sides, cooking for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and keep warm in a bowl.

Then make the sofrito, adding the onions first for about five minutes until they begin softening. I then added chorizo to add a little more flavor.

After that, the garlic and green pepper can go in. Add your paprika, oregano, bay leaf and cumin, then taste for seasoning. If it tastes a bit bland, feel free to add a few more shakes of cumin, paprika, black pepper or salt. Add just a little at a time, as it is easier to add more seasonings than it is to remove them. Let the green pepper soften a bit before you toss in the tomatoes. Let that all cook together for about 15 minutes, while the sofrito cooks and the tomatoes soften and release some juice, stirring frequently.

Add the uncooked rice along with the chicken broth and beer, mix well.

When your liquid comes to a light boil, add your chicken to the pan, reduce heat to medium-low and cover.

Let it cook, covered, for 20-30 minutes, or until the rice is done. Give it a few minutes to rest, then serve.

Arroz Con Pollo (Cuban Chicken with Rice)
adapted from Gourmet Magazine

3 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
6 chicken drumsticks or pieces of your choice
3 oz Spanish chorizo (cured sausage) cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 bay leaves
1 lb tomatoes, chopped
1 (12-oz) bottle beer (not dark)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups long-grain white rice

Marinate chicken:
Mash garlic to a paste with 2 teaspoons salt, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in vinegar and oregano. Add a handful of chopped onions and chicken, toss to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Cook chicken and rice:
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, add chicken in a single layer in the pan. Brown the chicken in two batches if you cannot fit them all in at the same time. Turn each piece so they brown on all sides, cooking for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and keep warm in a bowl.

Cook onions in the pan for about five minutes, until softened. Feel free to add a little oil to the pan if there isn’t enough after browning the chicken. Add the chorizo to the onions and allow to cook for a few minutes.

After that, the garlic and green pepper can go in. Add the paprika, oregano, bay leaf and cumin, then taste for seasoning. If it tastes a bit bland, feel free to add a few more shakes of cumin, paprika, black pepper or salt. Add just a little at a time, as it is easier to add more seasonings if needed, than it is to remove them. Let the green pepper soften a bit before you toss in the tomatoes. Let that all cook together for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently, while the tomatoes soften and release some juice.

Stir in the rice, chicken broth and beer, return the chicken to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan with a tight fitting lid and let it cook until the rice is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for five minutes before serving.

Ok, Alice. Where are you taking us now?

Frango com Quiabo (Brazilian chicken with okra)

1 Feb

Well, we made it to Brazil. This is B’s home turf of cooking, a world of South American food with a European sensibility. Learning recipes from B is a joy. She is such a natural cook, I know her dad, who by all accounts was a pretty incredible man and cook, had a whole lot to do with that.

I had a look around at traditional Brazilian recipes, and was intrigued by the sound of this chicken which is cooked with vinegar. Okra is a vegetable I have always been afraid of cooking it, given that the texture is dubious to say the least. B allayed my fears by assuring me that with her father Dick’s method, the okra is just lightly steamed, and never stirred, so it does not get slimy at all. She was of course spot on. And the okra that lands in the sauce thickens it perfectly.

You’ll need some chicken thighs still on the bone, garlic, an onion, some small okra, half a green chilli, salt, pepper, olive oil, tomato paste and vinegar… I used super basic white vinegar, it was perfect. Thighs on the bone will give you the best flavour.

The thighs marinate before cooking, for at least an hour, I left them marinating overnight. I’m an overachiever like that.

First step is to make a garlic paste with salt, if you have a mortar and pestle it would be ideal to use that, instead I minced the garlic with a microplane and then mashed the salt in well. This paste is often used as a base of a flavour in Brazilian food.

Then add a couple of grinds of pepper, vinegar and some oil. Mix well.

Chop up the onion, then put the chicken thighs in a container that will sit well in the fridge, and rub well with the paste and the onions. Cover with plastic and leave to marinate refrigerated.

When the chicken has marinated, add enough oil to cover the base of a large heavy bottomed pan, and brown the thighs. I did this in two batches to give the thighs space in the pan. I found I had to keep the heat on medium so as not to over cook the onion while the chicken browned lightly.

When browned, put the chicken in the saucepan together with a generous grind of pepper, and the tomato paste. Then top up with water until just barely covered.

Bring the saucepan to a boil, and allow to simmer turning occasionally until the liquid is reduced by at least half, and the chicken is very tender. Taste for seasoning, and even a little for vinegar if you feel it needs some more acidity. The chilli will add some piquancy.

Chop up the chilli finely, and the okra thinly.

Who would know okra’s ugly exterior would have such a pretty doily like interior when you chop it?

Spread the chilli and okra on the top of the chicken in the saucepan, put the lid on and let the okra steam for about 10 minutes. Don’t stir the okra, this is key.

Then it is ready to serve with some rice.

We loved it. Healthy, flavoursome, and has a delicious rich sauce. Jason commented that it reminded him of a dish he adores, chicken cacciatore. What surprises me about the Brazilian food I have made or eaten so far is the finesse in the flavours, quite different to the other flavours I know of South and Central America.

Thanks for this recipe B, and all of the coaching as I cooked it.

Oh yeah, tag! You’re ‘it’ now.


serves four

6-8 chicken thighs on the bone
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 tablespoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
three tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
half a green chilli, finely chopped
10 small okra

Mash the garlic with the salt to make a paste. Add a grind or two of pepper, the vinegar and a tablespoon of oil. Mix well and then rub on to the chicken. Mix onion through chicken also and allow to marinate for at least an hour.

When chicken has marinated, add two tablespoons of oil to a heavy bottomed pan and brown the thighs and onion, in batches if need be, to allow space around the thighs.

When browned, put all of the chicken back in to the saucepan and grind a generous amount of pepper over them, then add the tomato paste and enough water to just cover the chicken. Cook until very tender and the liquid has reduced somewhat.

Thinly slice okra and scatter over the chicken along with the chilli pepper. Cover and allow the okra to steam for ten minutes or until cooked. Do not stir.

Serve with rice.

Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemon

8 Jan

I was very happy to see that Alice went Moroccan with her last dish. I am fascinated with Morocco, with the fragrant spices and the combination of ingredients that I’ve seen in their recipes. I imagine how amazing the sights and smells would be walking through a spice market there… with the overwhelming scent of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, saffron as well as the intense colors all around.

I’ve also always wanted to cook in a tagine. The traditional tagine pot is formed entirely of a heavy clay, which is sometimes painted or glazed. It consists of two parts: a base unit that is flat and circular with low sides, and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that sits on the base during cooking. The cover is so designed to promote the return of all condensation to the bottom. With the cover removed, the base can be taken to the table for serving.

Well, my friend and fellow foodie, Randy just happens to have a tagine as well as the nicest, best equipped kitchen that I’ve ever had the privilege to cook in. And he was kind enough to offer the use of his kitchen for this meal. And I was quick to take him up on his offer!

We discovered that this recipe can be made in an iron bottom tagine or in a heavy bottomed pot.

Moroccan tagines often combine the meat with fruits and complex spices, so I picked a recipe that paired chicken with olive and preserved lemon. This all sounds crazy and exotic, but I found this recipe was quite a simple one.

It calls for a whole chicken, which we purchased already all cut up. I browned the chicken for a few minutes in the pan over medium heat, with olive oil, a pinch of powdered ginger, turmeric (a bright yellow spice), some salt, pepper, one chopped onion and a few threads of saffron, which is a super expensive spice that is dried crocus flower stamens. I then turned the chicken pieces over and added to the pan a chopped tomato, one chopped handful of both flat leaf parsley and cilantro. Then I poured two cups of water over the whole mixture, added four peeled cloves of garlic and let it simmer for 45 minutes.

When the chicken was fully cooked (full disclosure here… I forgot to time the chicken so we think it had cooked for the full 45 min) we checked it for doneness by cutting into the thickest part and making sure the juices ran clear. Your timing on cooking meat in this case doesn’t have to be precise, as long as you can tell if it is done.

When the chicken was done, we removed one ladle full of the cooking juices, added it along with the chopped preserved lemon and pitted olives to a small saucepan and let it boil over medium/high heat until the liquid thickened a bit and reduced in size.

Next time (and I will definitely make this another time), I will remove most of the liquid from the cooking pan and thicken it in the saucepan and then pour it back over the chicken. That sauce was delicious!

Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemon
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large white or yellow onions, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground dried ginger*
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric*
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 saffron threads, crumbled (optional)*
1 tomato, chopped
one small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
one small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
2 cups of water
6 oz (180g) Kalamata olives, pitted
1 preserved lemon, quartered and seeds removed (can be bought in
specialty food shops, or you can make it yourself – recipe here)


To Cook the Chicken

With the base of the tagine (or heavy bottomed pan) on the stove, over medium heat add enough olive oil coat the bottom of the pan. Add the
spices. Arrange the chicken in the pan
(skin-side down), and distribute the onions all around. Cook for about 7
minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and add the tomato, cilantro,
parsley, garlic and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low
and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes.

When chicken is done cooking, remove most of the liquid to a saucepan,
add the olives and preserved lemon to the liquid and boil for 5-10
minutes, until liquid is thickened and reduced a bit. Pour the thickened
sauce over the chicken to serve.

*Instead of all those spices, you can use this Moroccan Road Spice which was quite delicious and a simpler all-in-one spice mix.

We had a great time cooking this dish and Randy, his wife Sarah and I all agreed that this was a delicious, sophisticated, subtly flavored dish. And the recipe we used did not even call for it to be cooked in the tagine, but we did use the beautiful pot as our serving dish.

We paired this main dish with a side of Rice Pilaf with Golden Raisins and Pinenuts.

I adapted this recipe that I found on Epicurious. I doubled the recipe and used pine nuts instead of the pistachios called for in the original recipe and would definitely make it again. It was very nicely spiced and both echoed and enhanced the spices used in the chicken dish.

Rice Pilaf with Golden Raisins and Pinenuts

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup long-grain rice
2/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted lightly and cooled
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens (or chopped parsley)


In a small heavy saucepan cook the onion with the turmeric and the cardamom in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the rice and cook it, stirring, until it is coated with the butter. Add the broth, bring the liquid to a boil, covered, and simmer the mixture for 17 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat. Stir in the pine nuts, the raisins and add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the sliced scallion greens or chopped parsley

Alice, thanks for the trip to exotic Morocco! Now it’s your turn!


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