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Chicken Carnitas

January 16, 2015 Print this page

Braising anything is delicious, but when you braise something and THEN pan-fry it? HEAVEN. This dish is so easy to make and tastes phenomenal every time, so get some ripe avocados for guac and get cooking!

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 8 hr 30 min
Total Time 8 hr 30 min
Yield 6-8 servings

3 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

A good crack of black pepper

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of dried oregano

2 teaspoons of thyme

1 1/2 tablespoons of cumin

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons of garlic powder

1 medium onion, sliced thinly

The juice of 1 large lemon

6 juniper berries (optional but recommended)

3-4 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil

Romaine lettuce, guacamole, salsa, and roasted vegetables, for serving

Directions

In a slow cooker, combine the chicken with all of the remaining ingredients with the exception of the cooking oil and the accompaniments. Cover tightly with the lid and let cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove the chicken from the accumulated liquid (you can let this sit in the fridge overnight and use it for stock) and pat it dry with paper towels.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil or coconut oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add 1/4 of the chicken pieces, breaking them up slightly with a pair of tongs. Let cook until golden brown on the bottom side, about 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another few minutes.

Remove to a plate, cover with foil, and repeat with the remaining chicken, adding more 1 tablespoon of oil for each batch to keep the chicken crispy.

Serve on a big plate with raw and roasted vegetables, guacamole, salsa, and a squeeze of lime juice. Slow-cooked black beans would also be delicious here. 🙂


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Fesenjan (Persian Chicken and Pomegranate Stew)

July 30, 2014 Print this page

This may be one of the best chicken dishes I have ever made. Maybe I’m just a sucker for pomegranate and Persian spices, but seriously…YUM. I recommend serving with Persian Rice.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 2 hr
Total Time 2 hr 15 min
Yield 6-8 servings

2 cups of raw almonds

2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination

1 tablespoon of ghee (or coconut oil)

Salt, to taste

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 large onion, diced into small pieces

2 cups of chicken stock

2 tablespoons of unrefined cane sugar (or coconut sugar)

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

A pinch of nutmeg

A pinch of cloves

Directions

Toast the raw walnuts in a skillet over medium heat until just on the verge of charring, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer to a food processor and process until finely ground. Set aside for later.

Next, chop up the boneless, skinless chicken into bite-sized chunks.

Meanwhile, heat up the ghee in a large, deep pot over medium heat. When hot, add 1/4 of the chicken pieces and sprinkle generously with salt. Once slightly brown on that side (about 4 minutes), flip over and cook on the other side until it slightly browns (about 3 minutes). Remove the chicken pieces from the pot and place on a plate lined with paper towels, and repeat with the remaining chicken until you have none left.

Add the olive oil to the ghee/chicken fat and, when hot, pour in the diced onion. Saute until translucent and beginning to turn golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Return the cooked chicken pieces to the pan and pour in the chicken stock. Increase the heat slightly, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Once the 30 minutes have elapsed, add in the unrefined cane sugar, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, nutmeg, cloves, and the walnuts you ground up earlier.

Re-cover and continue cooking on low heat until the chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Stir every 20 minutes or so to prevent the walnut pieces from sticking to the bottom.

Serve hot with some Persian Rice and either steamed or roasted carrots.


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Crispy Apricot-Glazed Chicken

May 24, 2014 Print this page

Have you ever had the experience of biting into a piece of chicken, only to discover that the skin is rubbery, flabby, and frankly inedible? I have. And it’s not pleasant. I can also promise you that it WON’T happen with this chicken.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 20 min
Total Time 25 min
Yield 6 servings

1 whole chicken, cut into eight pieces (or bone-in thighs, drumsticks, or breasts)

Salt, plus a pinch more

1/4 cup of all-fruit apricot jam

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon of paprika

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and throw a heavy cast iron skillet in there while the oven heats up. 

Take the chicken and bring it to room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes. Season all of the pieces well with salt, then take out the cast iron skillet and put it on the stove top over medium-high heat.

Place the pieces skin-side down and sear for 14 minutes. Don’t move the pieces at all: just let them do their thing.

Meanwhile, warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan until significantly more liquid-y or in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup, paprika, and a pinch of salt.

At about the 12 minute mark, brush half of the apricot mixture on the side of the chicken pieces facing up.

When the 14 minutes are up, flip the chicken over (so skin side up) and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for five minutes, then brush the chicken skin with the remaining apricot mixture and cook until golden-brown and firm to the touch, about five minutes longer. (A thermometer inserted in one of the breast pieces should read at least 160, while the thigh/leg pieces should be at least 175.)

Remove from the skillet and eat immediately with your favorite side dishes.


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General Tso’s Chicken

April 10, 2014 Print this page

I think I’d go into sensory overload if I ate Chinese takeout food now. Despite that fact, I still thought it would be fun to recreate General Tso’s chicken with healthier ingredients, and I do believe I’ve succeeded. Crispy, juicy, and bursting with unami flavor, this dish is a lot like the takeout original, only better. It’s also fairly easy to make, so if a sudden craving comes along, this can come together quickly to satisfy it.

Ingredients

Prep Time 2 hr
Cooking Time 30 min
Total Time 2 hr 30 min
Yield 4-6 servings

FOR THE BRINE:

4 cups of water

1 tablespoon of salt

1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

FOR THE MARINADE:

2 large egg whites

1 tablespoon of coconut aminos (can be substituted with organic tamari)

1 tablespoon of mirin

1 cup of arrowroot powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

Neutral oil, for frying (preferably coconut oil)

FOR THE SAUCE:

1 cup of chicken stock (preferably homemade)

1/4 cup of coconut aminos (can be substituted with organic tamari)

1/4 cup of rice vinegar

2 tablespoons of coconut nectar (or preferred liquid sweetener)

1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 tablespoon of mirin

1 tablespoon of tahini

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of ground ginger

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 heaping tablespoon of arrowroot powder

1 small dried red chili pepper

Directions

You’ll first need the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Normally, I prefer chicken thighs for their superior flavor and juiciness, but sometimes, life calls for white meat.

The trick to making the chicken moist in your final dish is to brine it–but not for too long, or you’ll go into sodium shock when you take a bite. I recommend placing the chicken breasts in 4 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 2-4 hours, which is just long enough to tenderize and season the meat but not long enough to make it a pure block of sodium chloride.

When the brining time has elapsed, remove the chicken breasts from their salty bath and pat them dry with paper towels. Cut each piece into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the egg whites with 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos (or organic tamari, if you prefer) and 1 tablespoon of mirin.

Add the chicken pieces to the egg mixture, toss to coat, and let marinate for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix 1 cup of arrowroot powder with the baking soda in a large bowl. When the chicken is done marinating, transfer the pieces–1/4 of the chicken at a time–into the arrowroot mixture, tossing well to coat. Transfer the coated chicken to a plate, and repeat the same process with the remaining meat. If necessary, add more arrowroot powder.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat with enough oil to cover the bottom with about 1/2 inch of oil.

When the oil is shimmering, add in 1/4 of the chicken pieces, making sure to spread them out and not overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown on one side, about 2-3 minutes, then flip over and cook on the other side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes longer.

Once done frying, transfer the chicken to a plate lined with paper towels and blot them a bit to remove the excess oil.

Repeat the same with the remaining chicken, working in batches to give the chicken pieces enough space.

When all of the chicken is done cooking, make the sauce.

In the bowl of a blender, combine the chicken stock, 1/4 cup of coconut aminos (or organic tamari, if you prefer), rice vinegar, coconut nectar, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of mirin, tahini, garlic powder, ground ginger, sesame oil, 1 heaping tablespoon of arrowroot powder, and the red chili pepper. The sauce should be thin and clump-less after blending; make sure you taste it and adjust it for proper sweetness/saltiness/sourness.

Once you’ve made the sauce, transfer it to a small saucepan and whisk over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.

After thickening the sauce, lightly grease a large wok and heat over medium, then add the chicken, followed by the sauce. Toss to coat the chicken completely in the sauce and serve immediately over rice (purple sticky rice is my favorite) or cauliflower rice.


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Oven-Fried Chicken

March 22, 2014 Print this page

We need fried chicken. And we need it NOW. So let’s make it–with a crunchy almond flour and flax meal crust, of course!

Ingredients

Prep Time 20 min
Cooking Time 40 min
Total Time 1 hr
Yield 6-8 servings

1 cup of arrowroot powder

2 1/2 teaspoons of salt, divided

2 large eggs

2 cups of almond flour

1/2 cup of ground flax meal

1 tablespoon of paprika

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of thyme

2.5 – 3 lb of chicken drumsticks, thighs, or a combination of the two

4 tablespoons of ghee or cooking fat of choice, divided

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet with coconut oil or your fat of choice. Don’t skimp! You don’t want the chicken to stick, because that would kinda suck.

Take out three bowls to set up your assembly line for coating the chicken.

In the first bowl, combine thr arrowroot powder with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  In the second bowl, beat together the eggs. In the third bowl, stir together the almond flour with the ground flax meal, paprika, garlic powder, thyme, and 2 teaspoons of salt, making sure to break up any clumps in the almond flour.

You’re now ready to make finger-lickin’ oven-fried chicken! Take out the chicken drumsticks and dunk each one first in arrowroot, then in egg, then finally in the almond flour/flax meal mixture. Put on the wire rack and let dry at room temperature for 10-15 minutes, then dunk once more in JUST the almond flour/flax meal mixture. This will help create a crust that both sticks to the chicken and is actually crunchy.

Bake for 10 minutes on the top rack of the oven, or until the crust is just firm to the touch. Remove the chicken from the oven, brush with 2 tablespoons of melted ghee, then put back in the oven on the middle rack for another 10 minutes.

Flip the chicken over and repeat the same on the other side, starting on the top rack, brushing with ghee, then moving to the middle to finish cooking.

Serve immediately to the hungry army that will likely be awaiting you when you present them with this dish. It’s to die for. Leftovers are also delicious, if there are any.


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