Tag Archives: chicken

Shish Taouk (spiced chicken kebab)

I imagine I’m sitting outside a tiny restaurant, white-washed stucco walls under a bleached umbrella, on a chair that wobbles on the uneven tile.  I’m in a cotton  maxi dress with tanned skinned under dappled sunlight, wavy salt-blown hair, looking great. (Hey, it’s my daydream-  and in daydreams, everything is clingy but flattering in a way that maxi dresses are NEVER really flattering on me. Just go with it.)

The sky is bright royal blue; the water, striking teal; flawless beaches stretch below rocky cliffs, and seagulls that never crap or chase after you or try to grab your food are calling from high above on the wind.

I know next to nothing about the Mediterranean, but that’s definitely how it appears in my daydreams.  This song always plays in my head when I think of anything coastal Mediterranean.  Ugh.  I’m a stereotype.


Please, don’t let that embarrassing little daydream confessional steer you clear of this chicken.  Are these Turkish? Lebanese? Vaguely Middle Eastern? I’m not quite sure, but the marinade… it’s got a lotta stuff going on.  It’s complex.  Herby from the thyme, the mint, with some warmth from the aleppo and red pepper flakes. The tomato paste brings a savory-sweet backbone.

I know, the list of ingredients call for a lot of “things,” which is slightly daunting.  Don’t be daunted.  Put your leftover tomato paste in the freezer, save the rest of the bell pepper for easy fajitas, pick off some of that mint that’s taking over… the neighbor’s garden.  She won’t mind.   Breathe.  Marinate.  Open an adult beverage and hit the grill.  You can even put on a maxi dress.


*Please, if you have time and you like garlic: make some of this two-minute toum to dip your chicken in.  You’ll be eating it on everything for the rest of the week, I promise.

You can start your prep the night before by mixing together all of the marinade ingredients except the fresh mint and refrigerating; then stirring in the chopped mint and chicken to marinate for an hour or so before firing up the grill.

Shish Taouk
Inspired by Saveur
Serves 2-3

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (white or dark meat- I like a mix of breasts and thighs (!))
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely diced red pepper
1/2 to 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint (to taste)
1 tsp. each aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and dried thyme
1/2 tsp. each oregano and black pepper
1 clove garlic crushed (I use 1/2 tsp. fermented garlic paste)

skewers or a grill pan

Mix together all of the ingredients but the chicken.  Cube the chicken into bite-sized pieces; stir into the marinade and refrigerate, allowing to sit for at least an hour and up to 8 hours.   If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in warm water.  Before grilling, brush the grates with peanut oil or another high-heat oil to prevent sticking.  Skewer up the chicken and grill on medium high for 5-6 minutes, then flip and continue grilling for another 4-5 minutes, until both sides are nicely charred.  Serve with kachumbar, rice, on top of a salad, or in a pita.  Or however you want.  Leftovers are delicious!

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Filed under Chicken, Clean Eating, Gluten-Free, Main dishes, Summer

Chicken tikka masala with gluten-free naan


I married a man who doesn’t like flavorful food.

That’s maybe a little harsh.  He doesn’t like what he calls “ethnic food.”  What he’s referring to is any food that has specific/bold flavors.  No Chinese, no Thai, no Indian.  He likes American fare: burgers, meatloaf, potatoes and chips and cheese.  Basic tacos or enchiladas on flour tortillas and some stereotypical German foods make up the cultural boundaries of his palate.  He doesn’t even like wine.


The woman behind the checkout counter at the grocery store last night couldn’t imagine.  She had identified the spice blend in the little self-serve baggie on sight- “Is this garam masala? I can tell just by looking at it, I cook with it that much!”  I told her it was for this chicken tikka masala that I was making this weekend, as my husband didn’t like it but he was gone.  “You married somebody who doesn’t like chicken tikka masala?!” she asked incredulously.  I sighed.



I spent the last week in D.C., and without making a conscious effort, I ate things he wouldn’t have almost every night.  Lamb boti kabob and kachumbar, clam pizza, authentic Mexican, spicy kim chi, oysters on the half shell.  I drank way too much wine.

And as I waited in the airport on Friday afternoon, I had a serious hankering for butter chicken.  My blog feed included this chicken tikka masala recipe though, and despite it’s long list of ingredients and long marinating time, I decided that fate wanted me to tackle it on Saturday.  I didn’t go with the typical rice as a side; instead I had a small but flavorful mound of fresh fava beans, and I also experimented (barely) with gluten-free naan— and much to my surprise, it worked just fine.  My old stand-by naan recipe is AP flour + plain yogurt + a bit of salt and baking powder in a hot cast iron skillet, so I subbed in Trader Joe’s gluten-free all purpose flour.  While it probably won’t win any awards for World’s Best Naan, it was hot and chewy and good for soaking up the rich sauce.


Chicken Tikka Masala
Serves 4
Adapted from Bon Appetit via The Bitten Word

This isn’t a particularly spicy chicken tikka masala.  If you like more heat, add additional pepper flakes, or use dried chiles de arbol instead. I also realize the addition of raisins is out of the ordinary, but I love the extra sweetness and chew.

6 garlic cloves, finely grated
3-4 inches of finely grated peeled ginger, about 4 teaspoons
4 teaspoons ground turmeric
4 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt (not Greek)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons ghee
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
6 cardamom pods, opened up and seeds crushed, or approximately 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup raisins

Combine garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, and cumin in a small bowl. Whisk together yogurt, salt, and half of spice mixture in a medium container with a lid; add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and chill 4-6 hours. Cover and chill remaining spice mixture.

An hour before you plan to eat, melt the ghee in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add onion, tomato paste, cardamom, and chiles and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste has darkened and onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining half of spice mixture and cook, stirring often, until bottom of pot begins to brown, about 4 minutes.  Add tomatoes with juices, crushing them with your hands as you add them. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot.  Then add cream, water, raisins, and chopped cilantro. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 30-40 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, preheat your grill or broiler. If using the broiler, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside sheet.   Arrange chicken on rack in a single layer. Broil until chicken starts to blacken in spots (it may not be cooked through), about 10 minutes.  Flip and broil on the other side for 5 minutes.  If using a grill, preheat to medium high, between 400 and 500 degrees and grill for 6-8 minutes on each side, until it begins to blacken.  Again, it may not be cooked through, but that’s okay.  (I used the broiler method.)

Allow the chicken to cool for a few minutes.  Cut chicken into bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Serve with rice and sprinkle with cilantro (both are optional).


Gluten-free Naan
Adapted from Food.com

2 cups Trader Joe’s Gluten-free all purpose flour blend, or your favorite gluten-free flour blend
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)
Coconut oil for frying

Whisk together flour blend, salt, and baking powder.  Stir in yogurt, and then use hands to kneed together a bit.  The dough will be sticky and even paste-like, but don’t fret yet.  Heat 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil in a cast iron skillet on medium-high.  Preheat the pan for at least 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, split the dough into 8 equal pieces, and then roll or press each piece out between saran wrap.  Fry each piece for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Add additional coconut oil to the fan as frying.  Set each piece on a towel or paper towel to rest, and serve warm.

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Filed under Breads, Chicken, Gluten-Free, Main dishes

Lighter General Tso’s Chicken

In keeping with a desire for lighter, non-traditional-Thanksgiving food, I made this wonderful version of General Tso’s chicken.  I’m sure it’s not quite the same as your favorite Amer-Chinese restaurant’s, but it is delicious, and cheaper– both in dollars and calories.

This was way faster than take-out as well- about 15 minutes from start to finish!  Coincidentally, that’s about the same amount of time as cooking a cup or two of rice in a microwave rice cooker, or steaming a small pot of frozen stir-fry veggies.  I used dark brown sugar, which really emphasized the sweetness. If you’re watching your sugar intake, try reducing the sugar to 1-1/2 tablespoons.

Lighter General Tso’s Chicken
from Everyday Food, as seen on Good Things Catered (it seems her blog has been deleted?)

1 T. cornstarch
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 t. fresh grated ginger
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. amino acids (it’s gluten free!) or soy sauce
1 t. red pepper flakes
kosher salt
~1.5 lbs. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 t. sesame oil
2 t. vegetable oil

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 1/2 c. cold water. Add in the garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes; whisk to combine.

Heat sesame and vegetable oils in a wok or heavy skillet until almost smoking, about 5 minutes on medium-high.  Swirl pan to coat bottom with oil, then add the seasoned chicken pieces.  Allow to cook without moving for 3 minutes, then sprinkle with kosher salt and flip chicken pieces to the other side to brown, up to 5 minutes.

Increase heat to high.  Stir sauce and add to the chicken.  Stir almost constantly until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.  Delicious and nutritious served with rice and stir-fry vegetables.

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Chicken, Main dishes

Chicken stew with homemade noodles

Now that I’ve got homemade noodles and I’ve thrown together some chicken stock, there’s only one thing to do:  make chicken stew with noodles.

Which isn’t quite the same as chicken noodle soup. To me, chicken noodle soup implies something lighter, more delicate; small shreds of chicken, petite noodles, a golden broth with little bits here and there floating around.

Chicken noodle soup is to ballerinas as chicken stew with noodles is to lumberjacks.

Big chunks ‘o meat, hunks of unavoidable veggies, thick noodles, and a touch of cream just to pull it all together.

Chicken stew with homemade noodles
Adapted from Cooking Light and Stolen Moments

One batch of homemade noodles
~1 lb. chicken meat
2 T. butter
4 carrots (about 1 c. chopped)
1/2 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
3 c. chicken stock
4 ribs of celery (about 3/4 c. chopped)
1 1/2 t. thyme 
1 t. sage
salt and pepper
1 T. flour
1 t. cornstarch
1/4 c. half-and-half or cream

Cut chicken into about 6 large pieces; set aside. Chop veggies, mince garlic. In a large skillet, melt butter on medium-high; add onion and carrots and saute, stirring ocassionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to saute and stir for another 3-4 minutes. Put a pot of water on to boil for the noodles.

Add the chicken stock to skillet and bring up to a simmer. Add in chicken pieces and herbs and cover, turning chicken after 5 minutes.

Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken pieces from the skillet and set on a cutting board to cool. Add the celery and continue to simmer uncovered, stirring frequently.

This is where you should be boiling your homemade noodles, which can take anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness.

Meanwhile, mix together the flour and cornstarch. Add the cream and shake or whisk well, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk the cream mixture into the broth and veggies over medium-high. While that reduces, cut chicken pieces into bite-size and add back to skillet.

Once noodles are tender, scoop them out of the water and add them to the skillet, stirring to incorporate. Serve hot in bowls.

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Filed under Chicken, Main dishes, Soups

Stock of the chicken persuasion

Have you ever made a chicken in the crockpot? If not, you should do so immediately. It is soooo goooood.  It falls apart and is juicy and tender and very enjoyable in general. This lady will give you some tips for delicious chicken a la crockpot.

I made ours on Sunday, separated leftover chicken into one container and put the bones and skin in another container, then threw out all the unidentifiable bits.

Then, on Monday, take the leftovers and make stock with them.

Mmmmm…. I can almost smell the stocky goodness radiating from that picture.

Okay, here’s what you need:

chicken carcass- bones, skin, leftover chicken meat if you want
celery: leafy parts and 2 ribs
carrots: 3-5
onion: 1 medium, any variety
garlic: 4-5 cloves
dried mushrooms: 6-8 (optional)
lots of water
some herbs (dried are fine)
a big pot or two

I took my chicken bones and skin and divided it betwen two large pots, covered the bits with cold water, and put on the stovetop to boil. While it’s getting hot, chop up some onions, celery, and carrots, and roughly smash your garlic.

* Here’s a tip– the leafy green parts of the celery are SO GOOD in chicken stock. They are super flavorful and fragrant, and you don’t have to use as many actual ribs if you chop up all the leaves. I also don’t bother cleaning the carrots- just chop everything into rough mismatched-sized bits, and once you’re boiling, throw it all in. 

I also like adding 3-4 dried shitaake mushrooms into each pot. They add sort of a dark, earthy flavor to the stock.

Once you’ve got your veggies in and everything’s rolling in a nice, tight boil, it’s time to add some herbage.  Depending on your favorite flavors, you can pretty much add anything and any amount. Here’s what I use, from most to least:
kosher salt
black pepper
sage (rubbed)
oregano (leaves, not ground)
2 bay leaves

Now comes the tricky part-:  boil, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, stirring ocassionally. This part is tricky because your house is going to smell sooooo goooood that you will be salivating all over.  

If your stock gets some foamy white stuff on top, you can carefully spoon it out periodically and toss it down the drain.

I don’t really pay attention to time, honestly, but I try to reduce the amount of liquid in half. So if you’ve got one full pot of water when you start, you’re going to boil until it’s about half full. Since I used two pots (8 qt and 6.5 qt), I reduced both pots down, combined them into the larger pot, and reduced a little more to end up with 7 qts of stock.

It’s very scientific, as you can tell.

Once you’ve boiled and reduced, it’s time to strain and store.

Some people will tell you to use a fine mesh strainer; others suggest using cheesecloth to get a clear, attractive stock. That’s cool. I just used my big-holed collander because I’m going for flavor, not looks. Some teeny bits of onion and herbs floated through, and I’m okay with that.

I store my chicken stock in large canning jars in the back of my fridge. I also filled two clean icecube trays with stock and froze it, then broke the cubes into a plastic bag. Just another storing option that doesn’t take up all your fridge space.

Ta-Da! Homemade, low-sodium, delicious and nutritious chicken broth.  Almost makes me want to be sick, so I have an excuse to make chicken noodle soup.


Filed under Chicken, Soups