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Slow-Cooker Chicken Mole with Cilantro-Lime Rice

13 Jun

I have long been intrigued by chicken mole, that Mexican dish with the secret ingredients of cocoa and/or chocolate. But since I keep kosher, I have never been able to enjoy it at a restaurant. Not too long ago I saw this recipe in the Detroit Free Press, which seemed easy enough, despite the long list of ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.

A can of chipotle peppers contains about two-and-a-half or three peppers. I didn’t know what I would do with the rest so I threw in the whole can. Don’t do this unless you really like spice, which luckily I do! It tasted great, but it was up there on the heat level.

I went out and bought a great big bar of Trader Joe’s 70% cacao dark chocolate, which I love, only to realize at the last minute that it was certified as “dairy” for kashrut purposes, even though it didn’t contain milk other than possible “traces” (I’m guessing it was made on the same equipment as milk chocolate). So I substituted an ounce of parve (non-milk) semi-sweet chocolate chips, and that seemed to work fine.

Aside from having to measure lots of ingredients, this dish was easy to make, and it was a hit at the company dinner where I served it, in spite of the heat.

I was also serving brisket, so I made regular rice instead of the cilantro-lime rice. I’ll have to try that another time!

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped onion
½ cup raisins
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tbs. peanut butter, divided
1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cumin
3 Tbs. cocoa powder
20 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 Tbs, cider vinegar
1 oz. dark chocolate (70-85% cacao)
½ tsp. salt
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tsp. lime zest
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
6 lime wedges

Directions:

Place onion, raisins, chipotle pepper, garlic, 2 Tbs. peanut butter, crushed tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin and cocoa powder in slow cooker.

Add chicken breasts. Cover and cook on low setting for 7 hours. Turn off slow cooker.

Using two forks, pull chicken apart into shreds, then stir the chicken back into the sauce.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 Tbs. peanut butter and vinegar and pour over the chicken. Add the chocolate and salt. Cover and allow chocolate to melt, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir to combine.

Prepare rice according to package directions, omitting salt. When rice is cooked, stir in cilantro and lime zest.

Put ½ cup of rice and ¾ cup of chicken on each plate, and garnish with a lime wedge.

Serves 6

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Chicken Cacciatore

11 May

For many years, The Joy of Cooking was my go-to cooking Bible. It was the first real cookbook I owned. Nowadays, I don’t refer to it too often but it’s where I go when I want to make chicken cacciatore, a real Italian comfort dish. It’s a lovely stew of chicken with tomatoes, wine and mushrooms. Serve it with fresh pasta. It’s great left over too. I’ve edited the recipe only slightly. True confession: I forgot to take a photo the last time I made it. This one, by Dan Gritzer via Flickr Creative Commons, looks pretty close to my version.

Ingredients:

4 lb. chicken pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbs. chopped shallots (or onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. salt (less if using kosher chicken)
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 bay leaf
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/8 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 to 1 cup sliced mushrooms

Directions:

Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, and shake off excess.

In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the chicken with the shallots or onions until golden brown.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, covered, for about an hour or until tender.

Serves 6 

 

Miso chicken

7 Feb

chicken-miso

Here’s a nice and easy recipe that’s been in my “gotta try this” folder forever. I had a container of miso in my fridge forever as well, so it seemed like a good idea. I had yellow miso, not white, but I don’t think it makes a big difference. If you don’t have it, you can find it at an Asian grocery or online.

The recipe calls for chicken thighs, but I used a whole cut-up chicken. (Actually, I used only half a cut-up chicken, because there are only two of us, and halved the rest of the ingredients.)

These particular chicken pieces didn’t have a lot of fat, so I had to add a little water to the pan after about 20 or 30 minutes because the miso-margarine mixture was starting to burn.

The finished dish was very tasty. The miso and honey produced a an interesting and pleasant flavor — but it wasn’t too strong, so don’t be put off by the idea.

Ingredients:

4 Tbs. margarine, softened
½ cup white miso
2 Tbs. honey
1Tbs. rice vinegar (not seasoned)
Black pepper to taste
8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, approx.. 2½ to 3 lb., or a whole chicken cut in eighths

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine margarine, honey, rice vinegar and black pepper in a large bowl and mix with a spatula or spoon until well combined.

Add the chicken to the bowl and massage the miso mixture all over it.

Place the chicken in a single layer in a roasting pan. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, turning the chicken pieces over once or twice until the skin in golden brown and crisp. (You may need to add a little water to the pan if necessary part way through.)

Serves 4

 

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

29 Nov

img_3951

This is modified slightly from a very old recipe from the Detroit Free Press, created by the Heart Smart people at Henry Ford Health System, which I finally pulled out of my manila folder of recipes I’m waiting to try. The cinnamon, sherry and raisins combine with the Indian spices to create a more complex flavor. I bet this would work well with leftover Thanksgiving turkey too. Instead of the chicken, add 12 to 16 oz. of cooked, cubed turkey meat at the same time you add the sweet potato cubes.

Ingredients:

3 cups hot cooked brown rice
1 Tbs. canola oil
2 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbs. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin
2 cups vertically sliced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potato
1½ cups chicken broth
½ cup dry sherry
½ cup golden raisins
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
1½ Tbs. cornstarch
2½ Tbs. cold water
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare rice according to package directions.

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the curry powder, turmeric and cumin and heat for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.

Add the garlic and onion and continue to cook 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until it is no longer pink.

Add the sweet potato, broth, sherry, raising, cinnamon and ginger and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook about 20 minutes until sweet potato is tender.

In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and water and stir until smool. Add the mixture to the saucepan and cook 1 minute until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat, add salt and pepper to taste and serve over hot rice.

Serves 6

Tahini Grilled Chicken

30 Aug

Tahini chicken

I like to keep tahini, the Middle Eastern sesame paste, on hand, but it’s not something I use often. My last jar sat in the fridge for years before I used it up (and no, it didn’t spoil!). Now I have a new jar, so I’m on the lookout for interesting new recipes. This one was very tasty. We ate it fresh off the grill one night and then enjoyed the leftovers sliced on top of a green salad a few days later. The taste is intriguing and I liked it a lot even though my husband said it reminded him of Marmite, the awful English “yeast extract.” If you can find tahini, give this a try!

(This recipe is adapted from one I clipped from the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia.)

Ingredients:

¼ cup tahini
¼ cup soy sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
2 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
2 Tbs. honey
2 lb. boneless chicken breasts
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients except the chicken and place in a sealable Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and move it around a bit so all the chicken is coated. Place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

An hour before cooking, remove from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.

Heat a grill to high and sear the chicken for one to two minutes per side. Turn off the heat on one area of the grill and move the chicken to the unheated side. If you are using charcoal, push the chicken to the edges of the grill where there is the least amount of heat.

(We have an electric grill, and so I heated it up almost as high as it would go, cooked the chicken for a short time on each side, then turned the heat down to medium.)

Cover and allow the chicken to “roast” on the grill, about six minutes per side, until done.  Total cooking time should be about 15 minutes.

Remove to a platter, cover with foil and allow to sit for five minutes before serving, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if you like.

Serves 4 to 6

Almond and Mushroom Chicken

5 Aug

almond chickenHere’s a recipe that’s been in my collection forever — the newspaper clipping is yellowed — but I never made it until last week. It originally came from the Detroit Free Press as part of their Heart Smart collection in conjunction with Henry Ford Health System. Another way I know it’s old is it says it was “tested in the Free Press Tower Kitchen,” and the Freep has been gone from their tower office building for many years. The dish low-cal, low-fat and low-sodium. I modified the original just a bit, because cooking it as long as the recipe suggested resulted in slightly dry chicken.

It’s easier if you buy dry toasted slivered almonds, which are available at Trader Joe and other stores. If you have raw slivered almonds, toast them in a 325-degree oven for about 10 minutes; after five minutes, shake the pan every minute or so and check to make sure the nuts aren’t getting too brown. They should be slightly brown and fragrant.

This is good served with rice, which helps sop up the extra juices.

Ingredients:

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Black pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 oz. fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup sherry
Parsley for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breasts in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and sprinkle with black pepper and paprika.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onion and mushrooms for 3 minutes.

Add the lemon juice, sherry and almonds and stir well.Spoon the mixture over the chicken pieces.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.

Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired, and serve.

Serves 6

Apricot-Ginger Chicken

15 Jun

chicken apricot ginger

This is a nice recipe that will impress guests at a dinner party. It’s similar to Chicken Marbella but with different flavors. It can easily be halved if you want to make just one chicken. It takes a bit of planning, because it’s best if the chicken marinates overnight — but it’s worth it!

Ingredients:

2 chickens, cut in eight pieces each
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup dry white wine

Marinade:

12 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (or use 1 Tbs. bottled crushed garlic)
½-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated (or 1 tsp. from a jar)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbs. dried thyme leaves
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbs. oil
3 bay leaves
1 cup dried apricots, plumped in ½ cup orange juice
Ground pepper to taste

Directions:

Mix ingredients for marinade, and marinate chicken overnight in the refrigerator (gallon size freezer bags are good for this).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain the chicken and reserve the marinade. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on 2 large, foil-covered pans. Spoon the reserved marinade over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with the brown sugar and pour the white wine over it.

Bake for 45 minutes, basting a few times. The chicken should be nicely browned. Remove from the oven and drain the juices. Skim off the fat. Serve the sauce on the side, if you like.

Serves 8