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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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Thai Duck Curry with Pineapple

by Anne Maxfield on January 8, 2018

Accidental Locavore Thai Duck CurryDuck curry is one of the things we always order in a Thai restaurant, so it seemed like the perfect use for our leftover slow-roast duck. This feeds about 4-6 and comes together in the time it takes to make a pot of jasmine rice (hint, hint).

Thai Duck Curry with Pineapple:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red or massaman curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half, or zest of 1 lime (optional)
  • 8 ounces roast duck in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Asian eggplant, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced crosswise into wedges
  • ¼ cup bamboo shoots (optional)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 8 small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 tablespoons fresh mint leaves

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium and add the curry paste, stirring to break it up, about 1 minute. Stir in the fish sauce, brown sugar, and kaffir lime leaves, if using, and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the duck, eggplant, coconut milk, and chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the pineapple and cherry tomatoes, simmer for 2 more minutes.

Finish with the basil, fresh coriander leaves, and mint leaves; cook for 30 seconds or until basil is wilted. Serve with jasmine rice and enjoy! 

My verdict: Really good! I used a combination of red and massaman curries because I ran out of the massaman curry paste. Surprisingly, we couldn’t find any Japanese eggplants in the stores, so threw in the bamboo shoots (yes, I know, it’s hardly the same). Mushrooms are also a nice addition.

The great thing about curries like this is that they’re easy and forgiving. You can substitute any meat or fish for the duck and add whatever vegetables you have on hand. And with the leftover pineapple, you can make pineapple upside-down cake.

What’s your favorite curry combo?

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Lamb Tagine with Apricots

by Anne Maxfield on December 4, 2017

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.

 

 

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