Chicken tends to taste, well, like chicken. Actually, there are chicken options that I hope you can explore. If you can get a real, honest, free range chicken that was carefully managed and cultivated, then you are in for a flavor treat. You can find those chickens in Paris. Everywhere in Paris. Or sometimes at some upstate farmers markets in New York state.
The “typical” grocery store chicken will taste just as familiar as the last one. It’s okay. It’s not exceptional.
It’s time to think of chicken as a platform for flavor, something with an underlying basic taste that needs boosting for a satisfying meal. Where else to turn for inspiration but North Africa in a recipe crafted in an historic restaurant in Rhinebeck, New York?
The sauce that you see in the picture does cloak the chicken but it is not gooey. Nor overpoweringly spicy. True, there is the underlying fragrance from the garam masala et all, now amplified by the sweetness of the jelly and orange zest.
Just barely showing the chicken above, you will see accompaniments of couscous and cucumbers. This combo provides flavor and texture contrasts to the chicken that you will relish. Recipes for both these additions will appear in the coming days!
The chicken flavor? Well, it’s chicken. But, really good chicken.
Moroccan Spiced Chicken
Yield: serves 4
- 2 ¼ teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3 pounds)
- ½ cup tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup finely chopped shallots or red onion
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup red currant jelly
- 4 tablespoons orange juice
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Zest of 1 orange – removed in wide strips
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, combine the salt, garam masala, sugar, ginger, cardamom, and pepper. Use 1 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil to form a runny paste. Add the chicken and rub the spice mixture onto the skin and under it as well. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess.
In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add the dredged chicken to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate covered with foil.
Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the broth, jelly, orange juice, red pepper flakes, and orange zest and bring to a boil. Return to the chicken to the pan, cover, and place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked to 165° F.
Sources: The 1802 Beekman Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/25th second at ISO-3200
We have simply fallen in love with Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner? The range of recipes here, from simple to elegant, is impressive. Even more impressive is this: these recipes work. They have been tested and honed. Pick one, follow the directions and, voila, you will seem to be culinary guru.
Well, maybe that’s what a guru is: someone who has found the path and shares it. What’s for Dinner is organized by day of the week and Wednesday is devoted to one-pot meals. As the picture shows, one pot does not necessarily meal “everything kinda thrown together.” This roasted chicken with tomatillos is beautiful to behold, you’ll have smelled it for an hour, and everyone will be thrilled when, finally, this dish arrives at the table.
The nose and eyes eat first and Curtis is so thorough in meeting those sensory needs. There is professional care in every recipe here from Monday to Sunday.
This dish is a snap to prepare and may give you a new experience: as they cook the tomatillos soften, sweeten, but pass their inherent tang into the chicken. You find that you do not need salt here at all. This one-pot dish is superbly self-contained.
Roasted Butterflied Chicken and Tomatillos
Yield: serves 4
- One four-pound chicken
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds tomatillos, husked, rinsed and halved
- 1 white onion, halved and cut into ½ inch thick wedges
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped [keep the seeds for heat]
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, cut into wedges for serving
- 8 whole wheat flour or corn tortillas, warmed for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Using poultry shears, split the chicken open by cutting down one side of the backbone, then cut out and remove the backbone. Place the chicken skin side up on a chopping board. Put your hand on the breastbone and press hard to flatten the chicken.
Heat a very large cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the paprika, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub the mixture all over the chicken. Place the chicken skin side down in the hot skillet and cook for about 4 minutes, or just until the skin side is golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a large plate. Set the skillet aside.
In a large bowl, toss the tomatillos, onions, garlic, and jalapenos with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange half of the tomatillo mixture in the skillet and nestle the chicken on top, skin side up. Scatter the remaining tomatillo mixture around the chicken.
Roast for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced in the thickest part with the tip of a small sharp knife and the tomatillos are falling apart into the sauce. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
Season the tomatillo salsa to taste with salt. Sprinkle the cilantro over the chicken and salsa and serve with the lime wedges and tortillas.
Source: What’s for Dinner by Curtis Stone
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/2.8 for 1/60th second at ISO-3200