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Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken

caramelized black pepper chickenSo I am kinda on an Asian food kick. Ok, that’s an understatement…if left to my own devices, I would be experiementing in the kitchen with Asian food every single day! I adapted this recipe from a recipe I found in Food and Wine magazine. It has Vietnamese flavors, and has a yummy balance of sweet, spicy, salty that is pretty addictive! I served it with steamed jasmine rice and some sauteed spinach with garlic, ginger, and a dash of sesame oil.

½ c dark brown sugar

3 T Asian Fish Sauce

¼ c water

3 T rice vinegar

1 t minced garlic

T 1 finely grated fresh ginger

1 t coarsely ground pepper

2 fresh Thai chiles, halved

1 T peanut oil

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 cilantro sprigs

 

  1. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, fish sauce, water, rice vinegar and half of the ginger.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the shallot, ginger, and chiles and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fish sauce mixture to the chicken and simmer over high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with the cilantro.

Roast Chicken with Garlic, Ginger and Lemon

roast chickenMy husband and I love “big chicken” night.  “Big chicken” is essentially a roasted whole chicken (usually 4-5 pounds, hence the “big” part) with crispy, golden skin and a juicy breast. The seasonings change for “big chicken” depending on my mood. This is one version that is quite tasty, the crispy chicken skin is so addictive. The citrus salt I used is a recipe from Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen (another food blog I love!), so big thanks to Jaden for that recipe! You can see it here: http://steamykitchen.com/blog/2008/06/06/asian-flavored-sea-salts/.

1 lemon, sliced

1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, ½ t minced, the rest peeled and cut into small slices

12-14 cloves garlic, 2 cloves minced, the rest peeled

1 4 lb whole chicken

Citrus salt (see Citrus salt recipe)

Freshly ground black pepper

½ t chili paste, such as Sambal Oelek

Olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 450°F.Remove the giblet pack and neck from the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck wings under body.
Season the inside cavity with salt and pepper. Fill the cavity with the lemon, ginger slices, and whole garlic. Fold the skin over to close the opening, and then tie the legs together with a piece of kitchen twine. Put the chicken into a roasting pan. Coat the skin all over with olive oil, rub the minced garlic, minced ginger, sambal oelek, and then season with citrus salt and pepper.

Roast for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 375°F. Roast for an additional 60-65 minutes, until the juices run clear. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before you carve it.
 

 

Chicken Enchiladas Verde

chicken-enchiladas-verde1Tonight I decided chicken enchiladas with the salsa verde was a yummy idea. Thank you, Elise of Simply Recipes  http://www.elise.com/recipes/ (I love the blog, by the way!!!) for inspiring that great idea! Your recipe and pictures made me salivate! Good thing I had lots of leftover salsa! These can be made with bottled salsa verde if you don’t want to make your own.

1 qt chicken broth

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 garlic cloves, crushed

½ small onion, peeled

1 T cumin

½ T coriander

½ of a beer (6 oz)

Oil, preferably vegetable or peanut

12 corn tortillas

2 cups salsa verde (see my post on salsa verde, or you can use bottled)

4 oz cream cheese

3 T sour cream

Chili powder

4 oz Cotija or Queso Fresco cheese, crumbled

Sprigs of cilantro for garnsh

½ lime for garnish

 

Simmer chicken in the chicken broth, garlic cloves, onion, cumin, coriander, and beer for 15-20 minutes or until just cooked through. (Add water if the broth does not cover the chicken.) Shred chicken once it has cooled. Discard the liquids and vegetables.

Meanwhile, heat a few drops of oil in frying pan over medium heat, and warm each tortilla by placing in the pan for a few seconds, turn, add another tortilla on top, and flip. Place these tortillas on a paper towel to drain excess oil, and repeat with remaining tortillas.

Place the salsa verde in a saucepan and turn the heat on low to warm.

Mix the shredded chicken with ½ cup or so of the salsa verde and the cream cheese over low heat until cream cheese melts. Salt if necessary. Dip each tortilla in salsa verde and place a little chicken mix in each tortilla, roll, and place seam side down in a 13X9 inch baking dish.

Stir the remaining salsa verde with the sour cream until the sour cream melts,  and pour over enchiladas. Top with crumbled cheese and chili powder. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until the enchiladas are bubbly. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Thai Curry Chicken Stir-fry

Here I am again, experimenting with asian food. This is not an authentic Thai recipe, but the flavors used are common in a lot of Thai cooking. Don’t be overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients, once you get started, everything cooks fairly quickly.  Once served, Sriracha (an asian hot chili sauce) is a great condiment if you like extra heat.

2 c chicken broth

1 T coarsely chopped cilantro stems

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 T minced ginger

2-3 star anise

 

1 jasmine rice

1 ½ c water

½ t salt

 

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin slices

1 t thai red curry paste (you can find this in the asian section of many supermarkets)

1 T peanut oil

1 T minced shallots

1 T minced garlic (1-2 cloves)

1 T minced ginger

3-4 thai bird chiles or 1 serrano chile, minced

4-5 shitake mushrooms, sliced

4 heads baby bok choy, chopped

1 t cornstarch

1 t soy sauce

1 T fish sauce

½ t brown sugar

1 lime

½ c chopped cilantro

6-8 basil leaves, chopped (preferably thai basil)

 

In a small saucepan, heat broth, cilantro stems, garlic, ginger, and star anise to boil, reduce to simmer. Let simmer 15-20 minutes, and strain using a fine-meshed sieve. Keep warm.

 

Heat water and salt in a medium saucepan to boiling, add rice. Stir, reduce heat to low and cover, cook for 15 minutes.

 

Mix thai red curry paste with chicken, set aside.

 

Heat a large skillet or wok to medium high heat. Add peanut oil, heat until shimmering. Add shallot, garlic, ginger, and thai chiles to skillet, cook for 2-3 minutes or until beginning to color and soften. Add chicken, and cook until chicken is just opaque, 3-4 minutes more. Add mushrooms and bok choy, stir to ensure even cooking. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. In a small bowl, whisk 1 c chicken broth with cornstarch. Add chicken broth mixture, soy sauce, fish sauce, and brown sugar to skillet and stir. Turn temperature to low, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding chicken broth if sauce is too thick. Squeeze lime juice into sauce.

 

Serve rice with stir-fry, and sprinkle cilantro and basil on top.

Serves 4.