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Posts Tagged ‘chicken thighs’

With the weather getting really cold here in Chicago already, my mind starts to go towards stews, braises, and soups. Being Jewish, a good chicken soup with matza balls is always a winner (at least the way I make it), but I wanted to do something different. Since my mom lives in Mexico I thought I’d make a Mexican-Jewish soup. I made a relatively classic chicken pozole verde but dropped some matza balls in the soup instead of tortilla chips. 

Most of the recipes I found online used a combination of store-bought chicken broth and water with chicken breasts. Making a simple chicken broth is really easy so I opted to use plain water and chicken thighs. Dark meat has much more flavor than white meat and I never use breasts when making a soup. What I did was bring 10 cups of water to a boil and then put 2 pounds of skin-on bone-in chicken thighs in. Once it came back up to a boil I turned the heat down to medium and let it simmer for about an hour. Every 10 minutes or so I skimmed the surface to remove the muck and some of the excess fat. Once I had gotten all of the chicken flavor into the broth I removed the chicken, took off the skin and bones, and shredded the meat. I set the meat aside while I prepared the verde part of the soup.

The verde part is really just a simple salsa verde, much like you’d be served at a taqueria with chips. I used 1 pound of tomatillos, 2 poblanos, 2 jalapenos, 5 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of cilantro, 1 small onion, and 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. I gave everything a rough chop and tossed it into my processor. I processed it into a smooth salsa and added a ladle of the broth to make sure everything mixed nicely.

I heated up a soup pan and poured in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and then added the verde. As you can see from this picture it started off a nice bright green. About 10-15 minutes later with occasional stirring…

…you can see it took on a much more drab color. That’s what you want in order to get rid of the raw flavors of the garlic and jalapeno and whatnot. Then I poured it into the broth and made the matza balls.

The last time I made matza balls my mom called me out for using matza ball mix. So, this time I did it from scratch. Honestly, there really isn’t much difference. I used 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of matza meal, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and some cracked black pepper to taste. I mixed everything thoroughly in a glass bowl, added about 4 tablespoons of cold water and mixed that in, then covered the bowl and threw it in the fridge for about 45 minutes.

Then I got the accoutrements ready for the soup. I got out the shredded chicken, 3 radishes thinly sliced, 1 avocado, a 28 ounce can of hominy drained and rinsed, and a large handful of watercress chopped. I added the chicken and hominy to the soup and slowly brought it back up to a low boil while the rest of the ingredients stood aside and waited their turn.

When the soup was at a low boil I got the matza ball mix out and turned it into matza balls. With moist hands I rolled out balls about the size of silver dollars and dropped them in the soup. A lot of people cook theirs in plain boiling water and then add them to the soup. I’ll never understand why as that prevents them from absorbing the broth’s flavor. I want tasty balls! Once my balls were all swimming in the soup I covered it up and let them cook for about 30 minutes.

For a side I just made a simple tomato and watercress salad. I quartered a bunch of cherry tomatoes, laid them on a bed of watercress, and drizzled some sesame dressing on top.

To garnish the soup I added the sliced radish, the watercress, I diced the avocado, and squeezed some lime juice in.

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It felt great to get back on the grill last night after all this rain we’ve gotten. I kept it real simple with some grilled chicken thighs and vegetables along with some white rice.

The first thing I did was get the vegetables prepped. I cleaned some yellow string beans (which I wrapped in foil with some olive oil, salt, and pepper for the grill), sliced up an orange bell pepper, and trimmed a bunch of green onions. Before grilling I drizzled everything with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

About 15 minutes before grilling I tossed 1.5 pounds of skinless-boneless chicken thighs. The marinade consisted of the juice of one lime, 2 tablespoons of sriracha, and a half cup of olive oil (I used about 2/3rds for marinating and reserved the rest). I didn’t want to marinate for too long because the lime juice will make the chicken tough, much like a ceviche. 15 minutes or so is just long enough for some flavor to penetrate the meat without the lime cooking it.

I sprinkled the chicken with salt just prior to grilling everything. With the reserved marinade, I mixed in a tablespoon of honey and brushed the chicken a few times while it grilled.

Besides white rice, I also served everything with a sliced avocado and a sliced heirloom tomato. Some gin and juice washed it all down.

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Alright, back in the kitchen. The one thing about traveling in the Grand Circle area is the lack of quality Asian food. We did find one really good Thai place near Zion Canyon, but Yuki was craving Japanese flavors and simple white rice. So, being the absolutely wonderful husband that I am, I made some chicken teriyaki with vegetables and white rice.

First thing I had to do was make the teriyaki sauce. In a small sauce pan I put in 1 tablespoon of sugar with 7 tablespoons each of soy sauce, mirin, and sake. I also added a few fresh rosemary needles just to add one more element. I let that come to a slow boil for just a few minutes until the sugar was dissolved. Then I set it aside and let it cool to room temperature.

Once the sauce was cooled I marinated some bone-in skin-on chicken breasts in it for about an hour at room temperature.

Then I cut up all the vegetables. Half of a sweet onion was sliced, one carrot into matchsticks, 7 good-sized shiitake mushrooms sliced, a handful of green beans cut in half, and half of a small napa cabbage head sliced.

I turned the oven on to 400 degrees. I took my baking pan and lined it with foil and then laid a rack inside it. I laid the chicken thighs on the rack, sprinkled them with some pepper and a few rosemary needles, and threw them in the oven. I strained the reserved marinade back into the small sauce pan and boiled it for about 15 minutes until it reduced into a BBQ sauce consistency. Then I took the chicken out and glazed it with the thickened teriyaki and threw it back into the over for another 15 minutes.

While the sauce reduced I sautéed the vegetables. I started by throwing a couple of diced garlic cloves into some hot olive oil. After a minute I added the onion. A few minutes later the carrot. Then I added the green beans followed by the shiitake. I let it all come together for about 5 minutes and then seasoned with very little salt, some pepper, and about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. I covered the pot and turned the heat way down to low. The vegetables at this point were mostly cooked, I just wanted them to finish off by steaming a little in the soy sauce.

I steamed the napa cabbage. That only takes about 4-5 minutes, so I waited until the chicken was just about done.

That’s it. A pretty simple meal to make but full of flavor and very healthy.

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I was flipping through a Jewish cookbook that I have trying to find recipes for Passover when I came across a recipe for Doro Wat, the national dish of Ethiopia. At first, I was surprised to see this. As I thought about it though, there has been a Jewish community in Ethiopia for thousands of years, untouched by the Romans or Crusaders. This allowed a more traditional interpretation of the Torah to exist, along with strict dietary Kashrut laws. I’m not saying that Doro Wat was created by the Jewish community, I don’t think anyone knows where its origins are, but it is consistent with a style of cooking prevalent throughout the Jewish diaspora during the Sabbath. Since it’s not permitted to do any work, cooking included, during the Sabbath, food is simmered on low heat for long periods of time. That way, when families get home from synagogue, a warm and filling meal is ready to go without further cooking.

I felt compelled to give it a whirl since Yuki and I both thoroughly enjoyed the two Ethiopian food experiences we’ve had. The recipe calls for a mix of spices, but I prefered to make a berbere to use instead. To make the berbere I mixed the following spices together all at a 1/2 teaspoon measurement: chili powder, paprika, ground ginger, cinnamon, ground cardamom seeds, ground cloves, and dried basil. Like any spice mix, you can make much more and store in a tight container for a few months.

To make the Doro Wat I first sautéed a diced large onion in some vegetable oil until it was soft but not burned, about 7 or 8 minutes. Then I grated in 6 garlic cloves and a 1/2 inch of fresh ginger and let those cook for a couple of minutes. After that, I added one cup of chicken stock and one 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and brought to a boil. I let it boil for about 10 minutes to reduce some of the liquid. Next, I salted and peppered to taste.

I was making 4 servings, so I picked up 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. You can get a whole bird and break it down, purchase 4 complete leg sections, whatever you want to make 4 portions. Just make sure to use skin-on, bone-in chicken. The skin and bones will add depth to the dish. So, just before putting the thighs in the sauce I mixed in 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of the berbere that I made. Once the chicken was added I covered it with the sauce, turned the heat down, and let it simmer for an hour covered.

While the chicken was simmering I hard-boiled 4 eggs, one per portion. The egg is what really sets this dish apart from other chicken stews, so make sure every plate gets one. When the chicken only had about 10 minutes left I peeled the eggs, pricked them all over with a fork making sure not to break them, and then added them to the stew.

To serve with the Doro Wat I made another traditional Ethiopian dish of stewed greens. Typically collard greens are used, but Stanley’s had some beautiful chard, so I used that instead. It’s a real simple recipe. Fry a diced red onion in some olive oil for a few minutes, then add a couple of crushed garlic cloves and 1/2 inch grated ginger. After that, add 2 green chilis that have been seeded and sliced. Add about 1/3 cup of water and let come to a boil for a couple of minutes. Then, add one red pepper that’s been seeded and sliced as well as 1 pound of whatever green you use (collard, chard, kale, cabbage, etc.) thinly sliced. Season with salt and pepper, mix it all up and cook over a med-low heat for about 25 minutes partially covered. That’s all there is too it.

As much as I wanted to make some Injera, I have absolutely no idea where to find teff, the grain used to make it. I found a bunch of recipes, but no teff. So, I just made some basmati rice.

I have to say, this is one of the best tasting dishes I’ve ever made! The sauce is so friggin delicious, I am definitely keeping it in my regular rotation. It would be equally good with lamb instead of chicken. I would even give shrimp a try in this sauce.

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