Monday, January 16, 2012


My cute nephew and his girlfriend gave me Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything app for my iPad (which also transferred to my iPhone) and I love it.  So, as I sat in the parking lot after spin class scrolling through recipes, I quickly came across this one and lo and behold I had every single ingredient on hand (yes, every one of those spices, thank you Penzey's) and did not have to go to the grocery store--hooray!

I am a fan of Bittman's app--it is super easy and I think I'm going to love trying his recipes. I also made his Rice Pilaf, Seven Ways which was delicious.

Back to the chicken, I subbed chicken thighs for a whole chicken and used more chicken than the recipe called for, so it wasn't quite as saucy as I would have liked.  But the flavor was still excellent.  It is spicy but the adventurous eight year old twins who live next door gobbled it down, so if you have kids give it a try.  Perfect meal for a cold night in front of the fireplace (below 50 degrees here in AZ!) waiting for Downton Abbey.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 45 minutes
1/4 cup peanut or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 8 pieces, or any combination of parts
1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped or grated fresh ginger or
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups yogurt
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
1. Put the oil in a deep skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken, skin side down, and brown it well, rotating and turning the pieces as necessary; the process will take 10 to 15 minutes. (You can skip this step if you like; heat a tablespoon of oil and go directly to cooking the onions.)
2. When the chicken is nicely browned, remove it from the skillet and turn the heat down to medium. Pour or spoon off all but a tablespoon of the oil. Stir in the onions, along with some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and spices, along with 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook with the onions, stirring, until very aromatic, 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in the yogurt, then return the chicken pieces to the pan.
3. Cover and cook over medium-low heat so that the mixture doesn’t boil, turning the pieces every 5 minutes or so, until the chicken is cooked through,10 to 20 minutes (longer if you skipped the browning step); it’s okay if the mixture curdles a bit. The bird is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 155–165°F. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with cilantro, and serve.

Rice Pilaf, Seven Ways

Makes 4 servings
Time: About 30 minutes, plus a little time to rest
Easy, fast, and reliable, pilaf has another bonus: Cooking it in advance (slightly) is not just possible but desirable.
2 to 4 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups rice, preferably basmati
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups stock
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish
1. Put 2 tablespoons of the butter or oil in a large, deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the rice all at once, turn the heat down to medium, and stir until the rice is glossy, completely coated with butter or oil, and starting to color lightly, about 5 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper, then turn the heat down to low and add the stock all at once. Stir once or twice, then cover the pan.
3. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat to the absolute minimum (if you have an electric stove, turn the heat off and let the pan sit on the burner) and let rest for another 15 to 30 minutes. Add the remaining butter or oil if you like and fluff with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning, fluff again, garnish, and serve.

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