Skillet Chicken, Veggies and Rice

[Chicken, veggies and rice]I wanted something simple for dinner and had chicken thighs thawing in the fridge. A trip to the grocery store yield mushrooms and a bit of inspiration from the canned soup aisle.

I have a fond memory for a baked chicken and rice dish that involved condensed cream of something soup. The strongest memory I have of it is from a youth retreat program from my late teens that had a strong influence on me. In the intervening years I’ve learned more than I want about how not-great-for-me condensed soup is and so I decided to try to make something similar with just chicken broth and water. The result was pretty good without the I’m eating what self-shame.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Puttanesca-style Chicken

This came out pretty well with a nicely browned chicken thigh surrounded by a flavorful sauce of tomatoes, olives and capers. It had a minimum of prep work and, despite the number of ingredients, came together in less time than it takes for the pizza guy to get here.

Other recipes like this I’ve seen used chicken breast. I like the flavor of chicken thighs and that they are more forgiving when overcooked.

Puttanesca-style Chicken
Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, perhaps a bit more
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1 bell pepper (red or yellow, not green), medium dice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. Penzey’s Mural of Flavor spice blend (or see note)
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. anchovy paste
  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/4 c Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 tbs capers, drained, rinsed, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. green peppercorns, drained, rinsed, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. basil paste (or 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Pat dry the chicken thighs and trim any excess fat. Sprinkle the skin side with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place thighs skin side down in the skillet. Cook for ~5 minutes until evenly browned. Sprinkle upward facing side with salt and pepper, flip thighs and cook another 5 minutes. Remove to a plate.
  3. If less than a tablespoon of oil remains in the pan supplement with additional oil. Add the onions and pepper, sprinkle with salt and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken broth and scrap up any brown bits created by browning the chicken. Cook until the broth is mostly evaporated.
  4. Add garlic, spice blend, red pepper and anchovy paste. Stir to incorporate. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes and juice, olives, capers and peppercorns. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan and settle it into the sauce. Reduce temp to low and cook at a simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Add basil and parsley to the sauce and taste. Adjust salt & pepper accordingly. Serve with white rice or pasta.

Notes:
If you don’t have the Mural of Flavors spice blend you can mix together 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, 1/2 tsp. ground coriander and the zest from a lemon or orange. Use 1 teaspoon of that and save the rest.

Once the farm stands shutdown and our kitchen garden succumbs to frost it is difficult to find decent fresh basil. The grocery store will sell you a plastic box of it for $2.99 with half wilted leaves lacking aroma. I found basil paste in a tube and gave it a try. It’s OK, though certainly not the same as just picked fresh basil. I’d use it again.

This recipe was inspired by several sources including Home Sweet Jones, Epicurious and Cooking Light.

Chicken Thighs with Baked Onions

I’ve always preferred the dark meat of poultry, the drumsticks and thighs, over the breast. They have more flavor to start with and will survive a bit of mistreatment. Braise them, fry them, grill them, bake them, and they’ll usually stand up to whatever flavor you throw at them.

For this recipe I simply seasoned them with salt & pepper, seared them and baked them with some onions to finish them off. They went great with the cauliflower and shells that was the real “star” of the meal. Enjoy.

Chicken Thighs with Baked Onions
Servings: 10-12
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lg. onions, halved and cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 12 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom of 13″x9″ glass baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange onions in the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Pat dry both sides of the chicken and then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Place 4 thighs into the pan and cook for 3 minutes, then flip over and cook and additional 3 minutes. Transfer browned thighs to the baking dish (see note). Repeat for remaining thighs.
  3. When all the chicken is cooked add chicken broth to the pan and scrap up any brown bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the butter; as it melts swirl it into the broth. Allow to simmer for 3-4 minutes to reduce. Scatter sliced onions over the chicken thighs. Pour reduced broth over the chicken and onions.
  4. Cover the baking dish with foil and move dish to the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes; thighs are done when they have an internal temp of 165°.
  5. Transfer chicken to a platter and scatter onions over/around the chicken. The accumulated juices can be served on the side, if you wish.

Notes:
I laid the chicken into the baking dish in a sort of shingle manner. The first thigh leaned on the edge of the dish, the second thigh leaned on the first thigh and so on. I fit two rows of thighs in the pan.

One comment/complaint was that the onions were still fairly raw. When I make this again I’ll try microwaving the onions with a big pinch of kosher salt for a 2-3 minutes to start the cooking process before adding the chicken.

Chicken with Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Everyone, if I generalize very broadly, wants an easily prepared weeknight meal. Often times, for me at least, that means buying some random things during a recent shopping trip and then trying to figure out what to do with them. Tonight’s rendition of weeknight roulette included some aged leeks (as in I bought them a couple of weeks ago and should have used them earlier), mushroom, cherry tomatoes from the garden and some frozen chicken thighs that I left to thaw earlier in the day.

Chicken with Mushrooms and Tomatoes
Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 4 strips of bacon, roughly chopped
  • 4 boneless/skinless chicken thighs
  • 12 oz. cremini mushrooms, stems removed, tops quartered
  • 3 leeks, quartered, cleaned and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 onion, 1/2″ dice
  • 1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the bacon, toss in the oil and cook under crispy (about 5 minutes). Remove the bacon bits to a paper towel lined bowl, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible.
  2. While the bacon cooks put the mushrooms in a microwave safe bowl and cook, uncovered, in the microwave on high for 4 minutes. Drain mushrooms and hold.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Transfer to the hot skillet, seasoned side down. Cook, undisturbed for 5 minutes. Sprinkle second side with salt and pepper and flip the thighs over. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes; you want the internal temp of the thighs to reach 170°F. Transfer to a cutting board and cover while you finish the dish.
  4. Add the onions & pepper to the skillet along with about 1/2 cup of water. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to incorporate any fond that may have collected on the bottom of the pan. Add the leek, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and a dozen grinds of pepper. Stir to combine, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Chop chicken into 1/2″ pieces and return to the skillet. Stir chicken into the vegetable mixture. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to you liking. Serve with the reserved crispy bacon bits.

Notes:
Frozen chicken thighs from the big box warehouse store are a convenience not to be overlooked. The ones I pick up come boneless & skinless in a 4-pack. When I remember I take them out of the freezer a couple of days in advance so they can thaw in the fridge. When I don’t remember I use a trick from Cook’s Illustrated (which picked it up from Harold McGee) where you place the well wrapped frozen item in hot water for 10-12 minutes. According to the article, and various research, the quick thaw time isn’t enough time for bacteria to grow. It works for me in a pinch.

As I was cooking this I also prepared some basic white rice (Bring 2 cups water, 1 tsp. kosher salt, 1 Tbsp. oil to a boil. Add 1 cup white rice, stir. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.) At the last moment I decided to add the rice into the chicken and vegetable mixture. I minute of careful stirring and it was done. Plus all of the rice will be eaten. 🙂

Salsa Baked Chicken

This is a quick and easy variation on the standard baked boneless, skinless chicken breast. The salsa adds a bit of additional flavor to what is often a bland hunk of meat. The leftovers make excellent chicken salad as well.

Salsa Baked Chicken
Servings: 8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Rest time: 30 minutes
Total time: 75 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 jar prepared salas
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Trim excess fat and odd bits of meat from the chicken breasts. Give the thick bit a whack with the palm of your hand to flatten it a bit.
  2. Toss the chicken breasts and about 1 cup of salsa in a large ziptop bag. Seal the bag and squish the chicken in the salsa to thoroughly coat. Stash it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Pile the chicken rests preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Lightly oil the bottom of two (2) 13″x9″ glass baking dishes. Transfer 4 chicken breast to each dish leaving space around each breast. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt over the breasts along with a few grinds of black pepper.
  4. Place both dishs on the same oven rack and bake for 25-30 minutes. The chicken should have reached 160°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  5. Transfer to a warmed platter. Serve with the remaining salsa as a sauce.

Notes:
To convert cooked salsa chicken into chicken salad, finely dish a cooked chicken breast and toss it in a bowl. Add a finely diced shallot, about 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard and about a 1/4 cup of mayonnaise. Stir well to combine. Eat as is or on buttered toast in sandwich form.

Baked Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomatoes

I don’t know about you but I find supermarket tomatoes to be flavorless during the best of times. And for the tomato, mid-winter in New England isn’t the best of times. So when the little bins of grape and cherry tomatoes call to me, like they do, I have to figure out a way to give them a flavor boost. Baking the tomatoes can be that boost.

Roast Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes

Baked Chicken Thighs with Cherry Tomatoes
Servings: 2-4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • zest from one lemon
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Toss the tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Transfer to a 13″x9″ glass baking dish.
  3. In a bowl combine the remaining olive oil and all other ingredients except the chicken. Mix well.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat. Place the thighs on top of the tomatoes.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees after 20 minutes. The chicken should reach at least 170°F on a thermometer before serving.

I used a combination of red grape and yellow cherry tomatoes. I like the color combination in the finished dish.

Adjust the amount of crushed red pepper to suit your taste. I found it a little spicy but not overwhelming. I could still taste the other ingredients. If you have sensitive taste buds add a little less. If you like all things hot and fiery then add more.

The finished dish produces a fair amount of flavorful liquid. We ate ours with some leftover dirty rice which absorbed the juice nicely.

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.