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Lemon Chicken Thighs

by Anne Maxfield on May 14, 2018

Accidental Locavore Chicken Thighs With LemonI love chicken thighs and this recipe from bon appétit looked easy and delicious. Serves 2-4 depending on appetite and size of thighs.

• 4 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
• Salt & pepper
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 2 lemons, halved
• 1 ½ teaspoons honey
• ½ teaspoon Aleppo style pepper
• 3 tablespoons olive oil

Pat chicken thighs dry and season well with salt and black pepper. Place in a large resealable plastic bag and add vinegar. Seal bag and gently massage chicken to ensure all thighs are coated in vinegar. Chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°. Remove chicken thighs from bag and pat dry with paper towels; the drier the skin, the crispier it will be when cooked.
Place chicken thighs, skin side down, in a dry large cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook undisturbed until they easily release from the pan, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook, moving chicken around occasionally to ensure the skin is cooking evenly, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and transfer skillet to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, 10–12 minutes. Transfer chicken and garlic to a plate.
Set skillet over medium-high heat and cook lemons, cut side down, until edges are deeply charred (they should be almost black), about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate with chicken and garlic and let cool slightly.
Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl; add garlic, honey, and Aleppo-style pepper and whisk to combine. Whisk in oil and any accumulated juices on plate with chicken. Season vinaigrette with salt and black pepper.
Drizzle half of vinaigrette on a platter and set chicken on top. Serve with remaining vinaigrette alongside and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lemons for Chicken ThighsMy verdict: This was good, tasty, but not one of the best (or easiest) chicken thigh recipes I’ve made. One of the major issues I had was that you’ve got a pan full of great browned chicken bits (fond, if you want to get technical) and there’s no call to do anything with them.
I couldn’t let all that great flavor go to waste so after cooking the lemons, I deglazed the pan with a little white wine (chicken stock or water would work fine), scraping up the browned bits. Once that was done, I added the vinaigrette, let it cook down a bit (smashing up the garlic as it cooked) and served that as a sauce over the chicken.
The other problem came juicing the lemons. They were slippery from being in a greasy pan and I ended up picking countless pits out of the bowl, so using a juicer or reamer might be a better idea than just juicing them into a bowl.
I’m thinking this might be just as good (and easier) done on a sheet pan in a 400° oven and roasting the lemons and garlic along with the chicken. What do you think?

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Lamb Larb

by Anne Maxfield on April 9, 2018

Accidental Locavore Lamb LarbAs part of our lamb CSA share this year we got a lot of ground lamb, so I’ve been trying to think of interesting new ways to use it. This recipe from bon apétite seemed similar to a pork recipe we’ve loved.

It was quick and easy and served 2 greedy people with a smidge leftover.

  • ½ cup peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or pork, or beef)
  • Salt
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 red or green Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bottom third only, tough outer layers removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup torn mint leaves
  • Cooked jasmine rice and lime wedges (for serving)

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until nuts are golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop or crush into small pieces.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, smashing down on cloves to break into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until some parts are golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Push garlic to one side of pan, then add ground meat and a pinch of salt to the other side. Cook, smashing and stirring meat and garlic together, until no clumps remain and meat is no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Be careful not to overcook; as soon as you can’t see any pink, remove from heat.

Mix in shallot, scallions, chiles, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce, and half of peanuts. Let larb cool slightly, then stir in mint. Taste and season with more salt and fish sauce if needed.

Serve over rice, garnish with remaining peanuts and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb LarbMy verdict: Now I know where the rest of the ground lamb is going! This was really good and easier than the pork recipe we’ve loved. I started a pot of rice and by the time the larb was finished the rice was done.

The original recipe called for serving it with cabbage leaves, which we might have switched out for some bibb or Boston lettuce cups, but no one wanted to go to the store, so we just did it over rice and were perfectly happy.

I roasted the peanuts on a plate in the microwave, for about 3 minutes in 30 second bursts. The oven, or even a dry frying pan would probably work just as well.

I have some ground lemongrass that I keep in the freezer and used about a heaping tablespoon of it for the larb and probably a scant tablespoon of fish sauce. Both worked out perfectly. We were low on limes and I thought the larb could have used a little more lime juice, and possibly another Thai chili or a squirt of Sriracha for a little more kick.

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Accidental Locavore Sheet Pan ChickenThis sheet pan chicken dinner came about because I was stuck in the house on a snowy day, and come across a recipe (this from the NY Times Cooking) for something that sounds perfect for dinner and…

I had all the ingredients!!

Bonus points because it all got prepped in the time it took to thaw out the chicken thighs and clean off a car.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 ¼ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ½ tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt (do not use Greek yogurt)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 ounces baby arugula
  • Chopped fresh dill, as needed
  • Lemon juice, as needed

Accidental Locavore Chicken Sheet Pan MakingsCombine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together harissa, cumin and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.

Heat oven to 425°. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.

While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon yogurt over chicken and vegetables in the pan. Scatter arugula and dill over mixture. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Sheet Pan ChickenMy verdict: Like I said in the intro, miraculously all the ingredients were in the house! I did all the prep and made the yogurt sauce (adding about ½ teaspoon of lemon juice) while the thighs were thawing. Then, all I needed to do was pop it on a sheet pan (which I’ve taken to lining with parchment to make cleaning up easier) and bake it.

It was delicious! The potatoes were amazing, and the chicken was great! We’ll definitely be having this again.

A few comments from readers who had made it, taught me to keep the potatoes on the outside perimeter to help them crisp and try to put the leeks under the chicken and potatoes so they wouldn’t singe. Both worked well. The next time, I might slice the leeks a little thicker, it wouldn’t hurt the cooking time, and there would be less chance of singeing them.

The third helpful comment was to put the arugula on the plates and then plate the chicken and potatoes on top, so the arugula doesn’t get too warm and wilted. Also, a good idea.

If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you might want to go easy on the harissa. My favorite brand is spicy and flavorful, but not killer.

The dill is probably optional, if you have it great, if not cilantro might even be better. I added lemon juice to the yogurt, so went a little easy with it on the chicken.

You’ve got lots of options here and any of them will make an easy, tasty dinner.

 

 

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Braised Lamb Shanks with Lots of Herbs

by Anne Maxfield on February 5, 2018

Accidental Locavore Lamb Shank With HerbsThis is one of those recipes that you struggle with seasonality-wise. While it’s most likely a winter recipe—braising lamb shanks until tender, the handfuls of herbs get a little costly when you can’t run out and grab them from your garden.

However, I had a few beautiful shanks from some local lamb that were crying out to be used, so I splurged and bought all (well, almost all) the herbs for this. This needs time, but it’s an easy recipe. From the NY Times Cooking this feeds 6-8.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lots of Herbs

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 pounds lamb shanks (5 to 6 shanks)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion (white or red), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 2 bunches scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped spicy greens such as mustard greens or arugula
  • 1 ½ cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped mint or dill or a combination
  • ½ cup chopped tarragon
  • ½ cup chopped chives
  • About 1 cup chicken or lamb stock, or water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed (optional)

Accidental Locavore Herbs for Lamb ShankIn a large bowl (or Ziploc bag) large enough to hold the lamb, mix together salt, paprika and pepper. Add shanks and rub all over with spice mix. Cover and marinate for at least 4 hours (or up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 325°. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat, heat a splash of olive oil. Sear the lamb in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, adding more oil as needed. Take your time with this, making sure to brown the lamb all over. Transfer browned lamb to a plate.

When all the lamb is cooked, add onion to empty skillet and cook it in the lamb drippings (adding a more oil if pan looks dry) until limp and lightly browned at the edges, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, coriander, cayenne and allspice and cook until the garlic is very fragrant and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Pour in wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan. Let mixture simmer until thickened and reduced by about a third (about 5 minutes). Add lamb back to pan and coat with the mixture.

In a bowl, toss together scallions, spicy greens, and herbs. Sprinkle lamb with half the herb mixture and set remaining half aside for serving. Cover pan and bake until meat is falling off the bones, 3 to 3 1/2 hours total, turning shanks every hour so they cook evenly. If the bottom of the pan starts to dry out before lamb is done, add a few tablespoons of the stock or water to moisten it.

When shanks are tender, transfer to a heated serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. If you like, at this point you can tear the meat off the bones; or, serve the shanks bone-in.

On top of the stove, heat roasting pan over medium-low heat. If pan is dry, add remaining stock or water and bring to a simmer. (If drippings in pan seem very fatty, spoon off some of the fat.) Bring drippings to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan.

Once the liquid is reduced to a thin glaze, add butter to pan along with all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining herbs (save those for garnish). Whisk sauce until smooth, then taste and add lemon juice as needed. Pour sauce over the lamb and garnish with chopped herbs. Serve and enjoy!

 

Accidental Locavore Lamb Shanks in PotMy verdict: This might be my new favorite way to do lamb shanks! The shanks were so tender and the combination of cooked down and fresh herbs was delicious.

I halved the recipe because I only had a couple of shanks. Didn’t buy parsley or chives, and just added more arugula and chopped some of the green parts of the scallions finer. Would probably not bother with the tarragon either if I wasn’t doing the whole recipe.

This could easily be done in a slow cooker or Insta-Pot (and that might be my summer choice when the herbs are all in the garden), but it was pretty easy in a Dutch oven. The only issue I had was that it kept drying out, so I added more wine and when that bottle was empty, went to water.

I served it over orzo, but couscous, polenta or rice would work well.

Since it was such a success, I did it a couple of weeks later with a leg of lamb. Everyone loved it and Frank said it was the best leg of lamb he’d ever had!

 

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