Tag Archives: garlic

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

Ingredients:

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
salt
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!

 

Braised Leeks with Garlic and White Wine

29 Oct

As B heads in to cooler weather, with a hearty and healthy soup in hand, we are heading in to spring and warmer days. I am saying that out loud, willing it to happen faster.

You may have noticed already that I love onions, but have I mentioned my love of leeks before? I have been using them as an mellow alternative to onions for years, but never before as a side dish on their own. Braised leeks sounded good, and then I saw the other ingredients… I am not sure you could ever go wrong with a combination of butter, garlic, lemon and white wine. This is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe.

So if you are looking for a slow cooked side dish to go with pretty much any simple meat, for something to load on top of pasta, or even risotto, this is great. What brings this one to life for me, is the lemon. And I loved it when I had it again the next day and the lemon rind had infused even further.

What you will need…

Leeks, garlic, lemon, butter, wine, chicken stock, salt and pepper.

I cut the white part of the leek from the green, and sliced down to the centre of the green section, and rinsed it well in running water to clean it of any grit. The green part I sliced finely, along with the garlic.

Add them to the melted butter in a pan on the stove on low heat, and cook until the garlic is transparent, but not brown. This will flavour the butter nicely.

I then stripped two or three layers from the white section of the leek, and cut them in to pieces of around half an inch long. I added them to the rest of the leek, and mixed it through.

At this stage, if your stove top pan is not able to go in to the oven, you could transfer it all to a baking dish. I gave the lemon a squeeze over the pot before plonking it in skin and all, then added the stock, wine, a grind of pepper and a pinch of salt.

I put the pot in to the oven, uncovered, at 175C/340F and gave it a stir every 30 minutes or so. I cooked it for 90 minutes. I think it is quite forgiving and you could even cook it longer if you wanted.

It is both rich and vibrant to taste. Also kind of pretty. I love the way the hearts look amongst the green slices.

I served it with some chicken breast cooked in a pan with some olive oil and pepper, and steamed some Kipfler potatoes. But honestly, I think these leeks would go with so many things as a side dish, or topping.

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Braised Leeks with Garlic and White Wine

ingredients

4 large leeks
8 cloves garlic, finely sliced
120g butter (6Tbs)
1 cup chicken stock (homemade would be ideal)
1.5 cups dry white wine
2 lemon quarters
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Prepare the leeks by cutting the white bulb from the green leaves. Slice down in to the green leaves, so they open up flat, and rinse well under running water. Slice these leaves up finely. Peel the top two or thee layers from the white bulb sections, and slice in to pieces, mine were around half an inch long.

In a pan, melt the butter and add the green sliced leeks, and the garlic, and cook slowly over a low heat. When the garlic is transparent and aromatic, add the remaining leek and mix well through the butter.

If you are using a pan that cannot be placed in an oven, at this stage transfer the mix in to a baking dish. Add the the remaining ingredients, stir and then bake in a 175C/340F oven for around 90 minutes, stirring every half hour. Turn down the heat if the leeks are browning too much.

Serve with your choice of meats, pasta or risotto.

What a treat. I ate this with a friend before we went out to a comedy show the other night, and the whole drive there she kept punctuating the conversation with “Those leeks were so good. Leeks. Oh… those leeks!” I think she liked them.

It’s over to you Autumn bound B!

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!

Beans

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.

Rice

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?

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