Potato, Chicken and Paprika Bake

The addition of one ingredient doesn’t make a dish Ethnic with a capital letter. I came across this recipe in a copy of Food Network Magazine with the title “Spanish Chicken and Potato Roast”. That seemed like an overstatement so I’ve rebranded it and rewritten the recipe a bit to follow how I prepared it.

Potato, Chicken and Paprika Bake
Servings: 3-4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 fist sized yellow-fleshed potatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cut into 1″ pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (or other fat)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 5 or 6 pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. chopped chives
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled and cut into thin half-moons
  • 1 red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips

Directions:

  1. Set oven to 450°F. Place a heavy casserole dish on the middle rack and allow the oven to preheat.
  2. Combine potatoes, garlic, olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave at full-power for 8 minutes.
  3. When oven is preheated transfer the partially cooked potatoes to the baking dish. Spread into an even layer and bake for 10 minutes. Be warned, you may get a bit of oil splatter or smoke when you add the potatoes to the dish.
  4. While the potatoes bake combine the paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper with the lemon juice and chives in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat.
  5. When potato baking time has elapsed use a spatula to toss the potatoes to allow another side to brown. Scatter the onions and peppers over the potatoes. Top with the chicken and any remaining paprika-lemon-chive-spice mixture. Return to the oven.
  6. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, rotating the dish half way through the cooking time. Temp the chicken; it should reach 160-165°F before removing. Allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note:
When I followed Food Networks recipe, which used the juice of a whole lemon, all other flavors were lost to the lemon. So I cut it back and adjusted a few other amounts to suit my tastes.

Any oil that can stand a high heat should work fine. We used some goose fat that we were given in place of the olive oil.

Chorizo, Chickpeas and Rice

When after work energy is low and we want to stay in I reach for staples always have on hand plus whatever is sitting in the produce drawer. Tonight the produce drawer of wonder yielded a poblano pepper.

Chorizo, Chickpeas and Rice
Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chorizo, quartered lengthwise, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 sm. yellow onion, 1/4″ dice
  • 1 poblano pepper, cut lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4″ strips
  • 1 lg. clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 15.5 oz. can low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups white rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • kosher salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat a heavy bottomed dutch oven over high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the pan and heat until it shimmers. Add the chopped chorizo. Stir to coat with oil and cook for about 5 minutes to render a bit of the delicious red fat. Transfer chorizo to a dish and cover with foil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Check how much fat you have in the pan; if it is less than 1 Tbsp. then add a bit. Add the onions and poblano along with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and cook until the onions become a bit translucent; about 3 minutes. Add the garlic; stir until aromatic. Add the paprika and stir into the onion, peppers and garlic.
  3. Add another tablespoon of oil and the rice. Stir the rice into the mixture in the pot. Allow the rice to toast for about 1 minute, give it a good stir and toast the rice again for 1 minute. Do this a couple of more times until the rice starts to turn from white to slightly brown.
  4. Add the chickpeas and chicken broth. Stir, scrape rice from the sides of the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Check the rice for tenderness. It should be soft and not at all chewy. Cook it a minute or two longer if necessary.
  6. Return the cooked chorizo to the pan. Stir to combine; season with additional salt and black pepper to taste.

Note:
Chorizo is a Portuguese sausage made with paprika. It goes by a variety of spellings – chorizo, chourico, chourizo and variations there of. It can range from mild to hot to blow your ears off. I grew up eating the stuff at my grandmother’s house.

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.