Main Course Recipes

Lamb Tagine with Apricots

Accidental Locavore Lamb TagineThis lamb tagine came about because a recent special from Barb’s Butchery landed us with a nice package of lamb stew. Turned out to be beautiful meat–tender and flavorful and made this a terrific dish.

  • 4 pounds bone-in lamb-shoulder or neck, or 2 1/4 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 large Spanish onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, each 2 inches long
  • Large pinch crumbled saffron
  • 1 ¼ cups dried apricots, sliced
  • 1 cup cracked green olives, pitted and sliced if desired
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • Cooked couscous, for serving
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 325°.

Trim excess fat from lamb. Put meat in a deep Dutch oven with the garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika, ginger and cumin. Rub spices and garlic evenly all over meat.

Thinly slice onions, then mince enough of them to yield 1/2 cup. Add minced onion to pot with lamb; reserve onion slices.

Accidental Locavore Lamb for TaginePlace pot over high heat and let cook, turning meat on all sides, until spices release their scent, about 3 minutes. Meat does not need to be browned. Add 3 cups water to pot (it should come 3/4 of the way up lamb), along with cinnamon and saffron. Bring to a simmer, then cover pot and transfer to oven. Let braise for 45 minutes.

Turn meat, then top with onion slices. Cover pot and braise for another 45 minutes to an hour, or until lamb is very tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl, leaving broth and onions in pot.

Place pot on stove over high heat and add 3/4 cup apricots and the olives. Simmer broth until it reduces by a third and thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return lamb to pot and keep warm until serving.

To serve, chop remaining 1/2 cup apricot slices. In a small skillet, melt butter. Add almonds and cook until well browned and toasted, about 2 minutes. Put couscous in a serving bowl and top with almonds and butter and chopped apricots. Pile tagine in center of couscous and garnish with herbs. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb TagineMy verdict: Well Frank’s actually, “this is one of the best tagines you’ve ever made”. The lamb made this dish—tender and flavorful, it melted in your mouth. I swapped pine nuts for the almonds and that was fine. Next time, maybe fewer apricots and some preserved lemon, sliced into slivers.

I used Castelvetrano olives and they might have been a little too subtle for the dish. The green olives looked good, but any combo of black and green would work fine. This is probably a way of saying that the dish needed salt, or in Frank’s case, harissa.

You can make this ahead of time and just finish it while the couscous is cooking.

 

 

Sheet Pan Chicken, Chickpeas and Fennel

Accidental Locavore Chicken and Chickpeas RoastedChicken sheet pan dinners always look like a great idea.

Can we all agree on a few things?

  1. Sheet pan dinners are trendy.
  2. They look good in photos.
  3. It’s a good way to get food on the table simply and easily.
  4. And you’ll spend the rest of the night trying to scrub all that baked-on stuff off the sheet pan!

I’m as easily conned as the next person and have been crazy busy lately, so this chicken recipe on the NY Times Cooking site, looked like a winner. Give yourself some time to let it marinate. Serves 4.

Chicken, chickpeas and fennel recipe

  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, such as breasts, thighs and legs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½cups full-fat Greek yogurt, divided
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric, divided
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½cup mint or cilantro leaves, torn

Season chicken parts with salt and pepper.

Combine 3/4 cup yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon turmeric and 2 tablespoons water in a large bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. (It should be on the salty side, as this is a marinade.) Add chicken and toss to coat evenly. Let sit at least 30 minutes at room temperature, and up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Place oven rack on the top third of the oven and heat to 425°.

Accidental Locavore Chicken and Chickpeas TossedCombine chickpeas, fennel seed, cumin, remaining teaspoon of turmeric and half the red onion slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.

Move chickpeas to the outer edges of the baking sheet. Scrape any excess marinade off the chicken, and place the chicken parts in the center. Place baking sheet in oven and bake, tossing chickpeas occasionally, until the skin of the chicken is evenly browned and the chickpeas are golden and starting to crisp, 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss remaining onion slices with 2 tablespoons lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Combine remaining yogurt with remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Once chicken is ready, scatter with lemony onions and mint or cilantro. Serve with seasoned yogurt alongside as a sauce and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Chicken and Chickpeas PlatedMy verdict: Winner, winner, sheet pan dinner!

Since I didn’t feel like cleaning for days, as you can see by the photos, a simple piece of parchment paper, lining the pan, made the clean-up a snap.

I tossed some fennel with the chickpeas and roasted it—it was wonderful, tender and silky.

The chickpeas were a bit of a disappointment. They were chickpeas I had soaked, cooked and frozen. Rather than get crispy like the original recipe said, they were a little tough. I don’t know if canned chickpeas would work better in this case, but it would be worth a try. What might be even better would be to cube up some potatoes and roast them instead of the chickpeas.

We also really liked the contrast the “lemony onions” gave to the dish. I used up all the Greek yogurt I had on the marinade and forgot to buy more, but a few tablespoons of labne, worked just as well and made a good sauce.

 

Barbecued Pork Skewers Filipino Style

Accidental Locavore Pork Skewers on GrillWhile it’s still warm enough out to keep the grill going, you owe it to yourself to make these pork skewers. They’re easy to toss together and just require a little marinating time.

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder cut into 1” cubes

For the marinade and glaze: 

  • 1 garlic clove finely minced
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup lime or lemon juice
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 cup ginger ale (divided use)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

In a large bowl, mix the garlic, soy sauce lime juice, ketchup, ½ cup ginger ale, salt and pepper.

Set aside ½ cup of the marinade and refrigerate.

Add the pork to the bowl with the marinade, toss to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight (in the refrigerator).

When you’re ready to cook, remove the pork and preheat your grill to medium-high.

Take the extra ½ cup marinade from the refrigerator add the ½ cup ginger ale and the brown sugar. Mix well and set aside to glaze the skewers.

If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them for about 20 minutes.

Skewer the pork and grill for about 12 minutes a side or about 30 minutes total.

Baste the pork every few minutes with the reserved marinade.

Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Pork SkewersMy verdict:

My friend Jasmine gave me the recipe, telling me it was like pork candy and she was right! We served it over some rice (jasmine or basmati) and it was delicious!

Originally, I didn’t know what we were going to do with the pork, so I ended up buying a big piece of pork shoulder and we had tons of skewers (but not for long).
I used some of the More Good ginger ale syrup, mixed with some seltzer, because it’s a little healthier and we didn’t have any ginger ale on hand. You could probably substitute some grated ginger and a little sugar or simple syrup.

If you want to add heat to it, a shot of sriracha or some finely minced chiles would be good.

Butter Chicken

Accidental Locavore Butter Chicken PlatedChicken Tikka Masala is a big favorite in our house and lately I’ve come across a couple of recipes for Butter Chicken, a close relative (or the same dish depending on who to believe).

I think the big difference is that Tikka Massala is marinated in yogurt, while Butter Chicken can be made on the fly.

The two recipes I was looking at were from both ends of the time spectrum—one was ready in about 30 minutes, the other was in a slow cooker and took 5-6 hours. I opted for speed.

Butter Chicken

  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime and cilantro for garnish

Accidental Locavore Butter Chicken CookingIn a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of butter. Working in batches, add the chicken and brown on all sides. It doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through. Set the browned chicken aside as it’s done.

Reduce the heat to medium and add another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften—about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, garam masala, ginger, chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Stir to combine and cook for about 45 seconds.

Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and add the cream.

Bring back to a simmer and add the chicken. Cook for 10-15 minutes on a low simmer.

Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Garnish with lime and cilantro, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Easy and delicious! Frank liked this so much, he requested that I make it again the other night.

Both times I’ve used boneless skinless chicken thighs since I’m not a white meat fan and served it over basmati rice. If you soak the rice before you start prepping everything, and start cooking it after the chicken has browned, your timing should be perfect.

We’ll have to start stocking cans of tomato sauce and pints of cream and soon I’ll have to figure out what a good veg would be to serve with it. Any ideas?

Short Ribs With Thai Chili Sauce

I wanted to take my Insta-Pot through some of its paces and short ribs seemed like the way to go.

This time, I was looking for something different than my usual short ribs with bacon and Guinness.

I had my Thai Chili Sauce from booYah and some ribs, so went to work.

This feeds about 4:

Short Ribs With Thai Chili Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds small bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 small fresh hot red chiles, such as Thai bird, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, quartered
  • 1 3” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 Thai chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart stovetop-safe slow cooker insert (or in a 12-inch skillet) over medium heat. Add half of the short ribs and brown really well about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining short ribs.

Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chiles, garlic, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the Thai chili sauce.

Fit the insert into the slow cooker, or if using a skillet put its contents into the slow cooker.

Stir in the broth and soy sauce. Nestle the short ribs into the sauce, pouring in any juice from the bowl.

Cover and cook until very tender, 5 to 6 hours on high or 9 hours on low.

Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: This recipe is for a regular slow-cooker. If you use an Insta-Pot, check the directions for searing and slow cooking.

These were really good! The Insta-pot made searing the short ribs easy and there was no grease-spattered stove to clean up. We had them with some jasmine rice and broccoli. While, I’m not sure they’ll replace the beer-braised ribs, it’s good to switch things up now and then.

I used the booYah Thai sauce and then remembered how easy it was to make your own. Either would be great. The chili sauce is also great tossed into some sautéed shrimp (with or without some asparagus).

What would you use it on?

 

 

Zuni Café Roast Chicken Recipe

Accidental Locavore Zuni Roast Chicken The roast chicken from Zuni Café in San Francisco is legendary.

The Accidental Locavore has never had it, and funnily enough, my friend in SF who has eaten there many times hasn’t either.

It’s on her list now.

I’ve been making this recipe for a while and it just keeps getting better and better! The skin is amazingly crispy and the white meat stays juicy.

You need time – at least overnight, a couple of days is better – and space in your fridge.  It’s worth it.

Zuni Roast Chicken

  • 1 chicken (small and a really good chicken is best here)
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, rosemary, or sage about 1/2” long
  • Salt and pepper

Seasoning the chicken:

1-3 days before roasting, rinse the chicken and pat it really dry, inside and out. Be thorough, you need the chicken really dry to get the crispiest skin.

Gently slide your finger under the skin on each breast, loosen and make a little pocket on each side. Using your finger, push an herb sprig into each pocket.

Turn the chicken over and do the same on the outside skin on each thigh.

Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Put on a paper towel-lined plate, cover loosely and refrigerate.

Accidental Locavore Zuni Roast Chicken PrepRoasting the chicken:

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 450-475° (see below).

Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or a 10” skillet with a metal handle (I use my cast iron pan). Preheat the pan over medium heat.

Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. It will start to sizzle.

Place it in the center of the oven. It should start to brown and sizzle within 20 minutes. If it doesn’t, gradually raise the temperature until it does.

The skin should start to blister, but if it begins to char or there’s a lot of smoke, drop the temperature by 25°.

After 30 minutes (total time), turn the chicken over and roast for 10-20 minutes, depending on the size. It should be golden brown and the skin should look crispy.

Turn the bird over again and recrisp the skin—about another 5-10 minutes. Total cooking time 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove from the pan and let rest. Carve, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: The instructions sound a little difficult and intimidating at first, but if you make it more than once (and you will), it’s actually pretty easy. It makes such a great roast chicken, it’s really worth it!

Accidentally, I left the chicken drying last week, a day longer than anticipated, and the skin was the crispiest it’s ever been, so if you can give it 3 days, do.

The size and quality of the bird really matter here. It’s so good, you’ll be tempted to do a bigger bird, but if you can keep it to about 3 pounds, that’s ideal.

When you’re seasoning it, use more salt and pepper than you think, it just enhances the flavor!

Be very careful pulling the chicken out of the oven to turn it–I’ve melted more oven mitts with this dish! There are very few oven mitts or pot holders that are safe after 400°. Even using two together, while I didn’t get burnt, there was the smell of neoprene starting to melt. So far, the best one is a monster mitt my brother sent me.

When I flip it over the first time, I often add some partially cooked chunks of potato and/or some Brussels sprouts (also partially cooked) to roast under the chicken. While you don’t always get enough “stuff” to deglaze the pan after, the potatoes roasted in the chicken fat, really make up for that!

Oven temp: Depending on your oven and the size of your bird, you may need to adjust the oven temp as high as 500 or as low as 450 to get it to brown properly. I’ve been doing it at 450° convection roast and have been getting great results. With a bigger chicken, you might have to kick it up a bit and/or give it a little more time.

 

Steak au Poivre Recipe

Accidental Locavore Peppercorns for Steak au PoivreUntil fairly recently, steak au poivre was one of those dishes I never understood.

Too many peppercorns, disguising one of my favorite flavors – steak.

Then in Nice, I had an attitude-changing steak au poivre.

A perfect amount of peppercorns, cognac and cream.

Enhancing, rather than masking the essential steak flavor.

Accidental Locavore French Steak au PoivreIn the mood to recreate it I tried to find a simple recipe. Since Alton Brown is usually unbelievably obsessive, his recipe looked like what I was longing for. Serves 4:

Steak au Poivre Recipe

  • 4 tenderloin steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each and no more than 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Cognac plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Accidental Locavore Peppercorns on Steak au PoivreRemove the steaks from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Sprinkle all sides with salt.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or the bottom of a cast iron skillet.

Spread the peppercorns evenly onto a plate. Press the steaks into the pepper until it coats all the surfaces. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, place the steaks in the pan. For medium-rare, cook for 4 minutes on each side. Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with foil and set aside. Pour off the excess fat but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean.

Remove the pan from the heat, add 1/3 cup Cognac to the pan and very carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match or firestick. Gently shake pan until the flames die.

Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tablespoon of Cognac, taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the steaks back to the pan, spoon the sauce over, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore My Steak au PoivreMy verdict: First of all, be very careful when you’re setting any alcohol on fire (and always hold the pan away from yourself)!! Even though I was really paying attention, the height of the flames was a little scary.

We had a mystery steak in the freezer that I used for this. Something local and not Skittle-fed. I’m not terribly fond of tenderloin and the French generally use entrecôte which is sort of similar to a strip steak. In other word, while it wasn’t the best steak, it wasn’t the steak’s fault.

Because I wasn’t sure what it was, I coated it with the crushed peppercorns—some good ones I had brought back from France and cooked it sous-vide (125° for 90 minutes if you’re interested). Perfectly cooked.

The sauce was another story. I’m not sure what the problem was. I used good ingredients (and followed the recipe) but it was pretty ho-hum. Certainly nowhere near life-changing!

Do you have a good recipe for steak au poivre, or any suggestions?

 

 

 

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells used to be the Wednesday special at the pizza place near my office.

Shells and two sides for $6.50. Couldn’t beat that.

It was a family-run place that was there for years.

No more.

And I don’t think I’ve had stuffed shells since then.

These were in the NY Times recently and it seemed like the right time to give it a try.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells

  • 1 pound baby spinach, rinsed, or 2 pounds bunch spinach, stemmed and washed thoroughly
  • Salt
  • 12 ounces giant pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 10 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated, about 1/2 cup
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups marinara sauce

Accidental Locavore Stuffing for Shells

Bring a large pot of well-salted (“it should taste like the sea”) water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cook the spinach until just wilted (about 30 seconds) and transfer to the ice water, then drain. Squeeze out excess water.

Bring the water in the pot back to a boil and add the pasta shells. Cook about 10 minutes, until al dente, drain and toss with the olive oil. Set aside.

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade chop the garlic. Add the spinach and pulse to chop finely. Add the ricotta and the egg and process until well blended.

Add 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, the chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until well blended.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Oil a large baking dish (or two 2-quart dishes), big enough to fit the shells in one layer.

Fill each shell with a scant tablespoon of the filling.

Arrange in a single layer in the baking dish.

Accidental Locavore Stuffed Shells and Sausage

Top with the tomato sauce and cover the dish with foil.

Bake 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Sauce for Shells

My verdict: Delicious! On Frank’s request, I added some hot Italian sausage that I’d removed from the casing, chunked up and browned.

Because making and stuffing the shells was enough work on a weeknight, I used a Tomato and Italian Olive sauce I was given to try. It’s made in Barcelona by Delicious & Sons, but packed and shipped from Poughkeepsie (more about that and them at a later date). It was well named as it was delicious – a good tomato taste and a nice bite of olive here and there (and once I recycled the jar, no one would know it wasn’t homemade)! All the ingredients are organic and there’s nothing your nonna wouldn’t use. My thanks to Ricky for that and an assortment of other goodies I haven’t had time to enjoy!

Back to the shells. I didn’t have quite a pound of spinach, but I did have a lot of ricotta.

Even with that, I had a ton more shells than stuffing. They’re now in a bag in the freezer, waiting for another batch of stuffing.

 

Indian Spiced Lamb Shanks

The Accidental Locavore came across these Indian lamb shanks searching for something else on the Internet.

Has that ever happened to you?

They looked like a nice switch from my usual way of doing lamb shanks and I had some nice ones from a local farm. Serves 2 or more depending on the size of your shanks. The lamb needs to marinate, so plan accordingly.

Indian Spiced Lamb Shanks

For the lamb:

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1” ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • Salt

Spices for lamb shanksFor the sauce:

  • 2” piece of cinnamon
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 2 green chilies (serrano or jalapeno) slit lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • A small can of tomato sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 sprigs of fresh cilantro, finely chopped for garnish

Blend garlic, ginger, curry and ground coriander with a bit of water into a paste.

Season the lamb shanks with salt and cover with the spice paste. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.

Bring the lamb to room temperature.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and ghee on medium heat.

Coarsely crush the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns and add to the oil. Allow to sizzle on low heat for a few seconds before adding the sliced onions.
Sauté the onion till light brown and then add the slit chilies. Stir and continue to sauté till the onions turn dark brown.

Onions for lamb shanksAdd all the spices and the tomato puree. Sauté for another 2 minutes taking care that the spice mixture does not stick to the bottom.
Add the lamb shanks and the marinade to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes turning occasionally, Take care that the spice mixture does not burn.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the yogurt a little at a time to make a thick sauce.

Place the pan back on the heat and add 2 cups of water. Season with salt, mix well and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid, add the grated nutmeg, stir and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes until the meat becomes really tender. The sauce will also thicken and develop a deep rich color.

Stir in the lemon juice, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

My verdict: This was really good! We served it with basmati rice to soak up the sauce. The only issue we both had with it was that you kept biting down on bits of cinnamon, etc. which wasn’t terribly pleasant. Next time, I think I’ll make a little bundle with cheesecloth that I can remove at the end.

If you don’t have ghee floating around your kitchen, microwave some butter until it’s all melted, skim off the white stuff on the top and what’s left is clarified butter.

I just used one large jalapeno and it was a little spicy but probably could have been spicier.

There was lots of sauce left because our shanks were a little small, so I got some lamb for stew, browned it well, added it to the leftover sauce and it made dinner for another night later in the week. If you’re not a fan of lamb shanks (congrats for reading this far), a couple of pounds of lamb or beef stew meat would work well.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Thighs With the Crispiest Skin Ever!

I know that saying this recipe gives you the crispiest chicken skin ever is going to be controversial.

Wait until you try it!

The Accidental Locavore cooked this recipe for Golden Chicken Thighs with Charred-Lemon Salsa Verde from Food and Wine last week for dinner. Feeds 6-8.

You need a little time for it to marinate, so plan ahead.

Chicken Thighs With the Crispiest Skin Ever!

Chicken:

  • 12 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 24 sage leaves
  • 16 garlic cloves—6 cut into 4 slices each, the rest gently smashed and peeled
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 slices
  • Strips of zest from 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 fresh bay leaves (optional) 

Salsa Verde: 

  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/2-inch slices and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Run your fingers under the skin of each chicken thigh to create a pocket. Stuff each pocket with 2 sage leaves, 2 slices of garlic and 1 slice of butter. Transfer the stuffed thighs to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir the lemon zest strips with the smashed garlic, olive oil, chopped herbs and crushed red pepper. Pour the mixture over the thighs and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a small baking sheet or oven proof dish, toss the lemon slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread the lemon slices in an even layer and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until charred on the bottom. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Chop the slices into 1/4“ pieces and set aside.

Leave the oven on.

In a mortar, or mini-chopper, mash the oregano and mint with the chopped garlic, anchovy, capers and 1 teaspoon of salt until a smooth paste forms. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Stir in the chopped lemon a little at a time, to taste.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet, big enough to put the chicken in a single layer (or do it in batches) over medium heat. Season the thighs evenly with salt; remove the lemon zest and smashed garlic from the marinade and set aside. Arrange the chicken thighs skin-side down in the skillet. Cover it with another large pan or pot weighted down with a few heavy cans. Cook over moderate heat until the skin is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Remove the weight and turn the chicken. Scatter the chicken with the reserved lemon zest, garlic and the bay leaves, if using. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the chicken to a platter, serve with the salsa verde and enjoy!

 

My verdict: As I said in the intro, we were shocked by how crispy the chicken skin was! I’m definitely going to try this the next time I make a roast chicken.

I used half the chicken (6 thighs), half the sage, garlic, butter and lemon zest but made the whole recipe for the marinade and salsa. Rosemary would work well under the chicken skin too.

I left out the parsley and the bay leaves and don’t think either of them was missed (not sure what would happen with dried bay leaves).  I also left out the thyme because I forgot to buy it – that would have been a nice addition. And I zested the lemon on my microplane rather than zesting it into strips.

In three months, all of these herbs will be growing in my garden, so this will definitely get made again (maybe on the grill).

Because the chicken was so good on its own, the salsa verde was a nice but unnecessary addition and might actually be better on some lamb or fish. I’d slice the lemons thinner next time and if I was doing it on the grill would definitely grill them.

 

 

 

View the Archives

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment