Chicken with Turnip and Apple

I found the basis for this recipe while poking around the Interwebs looking for something to do with chicken thighs and turnips. The original recipe, from Bon Appétit online, introduced the dish with the following, “Finishing chicken thighs in a quick pear and turnip compote creates a rich, sweet and savory sauce.” I’m not sure I’d call this quick however the results of my modified dish were tasty to me.

The skin on the chicken thighs I had was anemic at best so I pulled it off. Apple replaces pear and vermouth subs in for white white because that’s what I had on hand. Enjoy!

Chicken with Turnip and Apple
Servings: 3-4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed and excess fat trimmed
  • 1 onion, 1/4″ dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 Gala apples, peeled, cored, 1/4″ dice (about 1 cup)
  • 2 small turnips, peeled, 1/4″ dice (about 2 cups)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine

Directions:

  1. Pat chicken dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Heat half the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, skin side down, until skin is well browned, 4-5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and continue to cook until the second side is also nicely browned. You may want to lower the heat to medium after flipping to reduce the risk of burning the fond. When the chicken is well browned on both sides transfer it to a plate.
  3. Evaluate the fat left in the pan; if you have less than a tablespoon then make up the difference with more vegetable oil. Return the pan to medium heat. Add onion, pear, turnip, and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Toss to coat in the oil, distribute in the pan and ignore for 5 minutes. Toss and distribute again and ignore for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and thyme. Stir to combine and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the vermouth. Stir into the other ingredients and return the pan to medium heat. Nestle the chicken into the apple/turnip/onions; add any juices the leaked onto the plate.
  6. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Check the check temperature; if it is 165° or above then remove the cover and allow the liquid to evaporate; about 5 minutes. Otherwise recover and cook for an additional 5 minutes for every 10° short of 165.
  7. Taste the apple/turnip/onions and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve with braised greens or a green salad.

Notes:
You can toss the apple and turnip with 1/2 teaspoon of cider vinegar to help prevent browning while you prep your other ingredients. Really any vinegar or even lemon juice will work here.

Butternut Squash/Apple Cake with Tangerine-Ginger Streusel

Last weekend I roasted some cubed butternut squash, tossed it with finely chopped red peppers, and served it as a side dish. I had a fair amount left over and got it in my head that I wanted to make dessert with it for some reason or another. If I’m being honest squash pie isn’t my favorite pie. It falls well behind apple, chocolate cream and chicken.

Butternut Squash/Apple Cake with Tangerine-Ginger Streusel

Butternut Squash/Apple Cake with Tangerine-Ginger Streusel

Google found me 12 Perfect Fall Desserts Made with Winter Squash, one of which seemed to fit what was in my head. Crystallized ginger was not to be found at my local mega mart though so I used some homemade candied tangerine peel that Ted made back when tangerines were in season. The result was surprisingly moist with the squash basically disappearing into the cake.

Slice of Butternut Squash/Apple Cake with Tangerine-Ginger Streusel

The last slice of cake.

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Homemade Applesauce

A month or so back I bought a 10 pound bag of assorted apples at the winter farmer’s market. The seller told me there were “seconds” so they were cheaper than the perfect shiny ones sitting on the table next to the these. Seconds are fine for baking (or eating for that matter) so away I went.

We used about half of them in a tasty apple crisp. A few went into a salad. Today I noticed that a couple in the bag were slowly (or not so slowly) turning to mush inside the peel. When life gives you half a bag of slowly decaying apples it is time to make applesauce.

Applesauce in the making
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Roasted Pepper and Lentil Soup

The farm stand near where I work has had some great peppers this year. In addition to the usual green and red ones there are this yellow-purple variety of bell pepper that has been fantastic. As the growing season winds down I wanted something to celebrate the taste of the pepper.

The resulting soup as quite thick and surprisingly creamy. My husband looked at me and said it was the lentils. Whatever it was I’m happy with the result.

Roasted Pepper and Lentil Soup
Servings: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large bell peppers (preferably not green)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Fuji apple, peeled, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground paprika
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Rinse and pat dry the peppers. Roast them over the flame of a gas stove, on the grill or in your oven under the broiler until the skin is thoroughly blackened. Transfer charred peppers to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove the charred skin, remove the top and seeds and roughly chop the peppers.
  2. Add the oil to a sauce pan and heat over medium. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, toss to combine. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the onions begin to turn translucent.
  3. Add the apples, garlic, spices and several grinds of pepper. Stir to distribute the spices. Add the lentils and the water. Stir again, scraping any lentils that try to climb up the side of the pan back into the water.
  4. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes. Check the lentils after 15 minutes. If they are soft to the tooth then continue to the next step; if not cook at bit longer until soft.
  5. Transfer about 1/2 of the soup into a blender and puree on high for about 2 minutes (see note). Place the pureed soup in a bowl and repeat the process with the remaining soup.
  6. Taste the pureed soup for salt and pepper; adjust as necessary. Serve up with toasted bread or some crackers.

Notes:
When using the blender on hot food it is important to provide the steam and pressure a way out of the carafe. If you don’t the top is likely to pop off your blender and your soup will decorate your walls. Our blender has a clear knob in the center of the cover that can be removed to pour liquid into the running blender. I remove the knob whenever I’m going to blend soup or other hot food. To keep the soup in the blender I fold a clean towel into a square and hold it over the hole in the cover.

My husband thought that the soup could have used a bit of texture. Some chopped green tomatoes would have been a nice addition; I didn’t think of it until after we were eating.

Looking back I noticed I made a red pepper soup last year. This one was more savory than the previous one. This one also has no dairy.