Clementine Roasted Free-Range Chicken

I am slightly obsessed with this cookbook, Jerusalem. Some of the pages are stained from use with various sauces and splatters, a sign of a well-used cookbook . In it I just happened to notice one detail that has literally changed the way I cook free range chicken.

by Yottam Ottolenghi

by Yottam Ottolenghi

 

For the first time in January I cooked a true free range bird we raised here at home on pasture. These birds are large, long-legged, lean and just a little different than the chickens you can buy at the grocery store. Free range birds have more dark meat, making them more flavorful. The legs on our birds are about twice the length of a grocery store bird, but the breasts are smaller.  Contrast that to a typical bird sold in American grocery stores, raised in a warehouse that is pumped with antibiotics, growth hormones, and  grain, so that they grow super fast with zero exercise. This results in near-non-existent leg muscles, more fat, and large breasts. They usually cannot hold heir own weight up on their weak little legs. It’s a sad situation…and a good reason to avoid brands like Tyson and Purdue and support your local farmers. I personally love Savannah River Farms and know they raise birds, but I think more options are showing up at the Forsyth Farmers market every year, too.

I thought I could cook our free range chicken just like any old chicken and decided to roast it in the oven with olive oil, fresh herbs,  root vegetables and salt and pepper. No problem, right?

Well, the chicken came out dry on the outside, tough, and partially raw on the inside.

What did I do wrong?

According to Yottam Ottolenghi, cooking the chicken whole was my first mistake. In his cookbook, he cuts up the chicken and lets it roast in in some sort of delicious marinade and makes a grain side dish cooked in the juices.

I decided try that, cut up the chicken (after watching this Youtube video on how to cut up a whole chicken because I have never actually done that before) and out came this incredibly flavorful, tender, chicken.

Another perk is the roasting takes 35- 45 minutes, so you can make this recipe any night of the week if you prep the marinade the day before.

We have 27 new chicks as of March 9th, a mix of different breeds for egg-laying and meat,and I have been enjoying watching them go from little puffballs to doubling in size in about a week.

 

Meet Mr. Popper, based on the book Mr. Popper’s penguins. Can you tell why!?

 

Mr. Popper

Mr. Popper

 

 

Clementine Roasted Free Range Chicken

Serves 3
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
From book Jerusalem
Try this Clementine Roasted Chicken for an easy and flavorful weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 free range chicken (quartered, skin on)
  • 3 clementines (sliced thinly short-wise)
  • 1 onion chopped into thin rings or slices
  • 3 teaspoons fennel seeds (crushed)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 pink grapefruit, juiced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grain mustard
  • 2 cups basmati rice (cooked)

Directions

Step 1
Combine the grapefruit and lemon juice, olive oil, wine , mustard and fennel in a large bowl and mix with a whisk.
Step 2
Place the chicken in a deep roasting pan and coat the chicken with the marinade. Pour all of the marinade over the chicken.
Step 3
Place the onions around the chicken and the sliced clementines on top of the chicken and in the pan.
Step 4
Cover the pan tightly and let it sit in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight to marinate the chicken.
Step 5
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper .
Step 6
Roast at 475 degrees uncovered for 35-45 minutes. It will get pretty dark and have crispy skin.
Step 7
Serve with basmati rice . This is delicious with sliced cucumbers and yogurt and fresh tomatoes on the side.

In love and light,

Lydia

 

Quinoa Paella

Last weekend was spent with friends and delicious Cajun foods. I was excited to finally throw a Mardi Gras party at the new place and cooked for about 50 people last weekend. Hence, there was very little blogging time and zero photos. I must practice taking photos before friends arrive next time. We served some stuffed ‘shrooms, crawfish- stuffed deviled eggs, crawfish dip, spinach dip, tomato soup, beer bread, chicken and sausage jambalaya, coleslaw, King cake from Keller’s bakery, boudin from Best Stop Grocery in Lafayette Louisiana, brownies, and cupcakes.

I absolutely love having friends over to our place and it just feels like “home” already!

After an exhausting work-week prior to the party, I was planning to go have some fun today in New York City for 3 days. That darn winter storm Nemo is ruining it by cancelling all flights to New York! I got a phone call at 10 p.m. with the bad news. I think I am more sad I won’t be getting to see my friend, Katie, than the visiting the Big Apple ,but we are planning on making up this weekend in the next month or two, sans blizzard. I am bit down today, but I know I will get to New York eventually. Hey, maybe I can get there tomorrow and stay through Monday night! Who knows…

On to my next completely unrelated point, which is that I was thumbing through cookbooks (Whole Grains for Busy People by Lorna Sass) looking for food ideas a month ago, and came across this recipe, a paella made with quinoa instead of rice.

I tweaked this a bit, added more chorizo,  and a new staple in our household has been born:

Chicken and Chorizo Quinoa Paella

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Chorizo is a meat I buy every so often because it just lends  a delicious flavor to dishes: tacos, enchiladas, jambalaya, stuffed mushrooms, and burritos to name a few. I bought a pack of 6 for $5 in the “Mexican” section of the grocery store… note that Mexican chorizo is different than Spanish chorizo. It should be eaten sparingly, no more than a serving a week , because it is a fatty meat. What makes chorizo different from other sausages are the spices and slight sweetness. If you are feeling adventurous and have absolutely nothing else to do, you could get some high quality pork and make your own. Read here for more on that.

Quinoa on the other hand  is a healthy grain, crammed with essential proteins and amino acids and the varieties vary: white, red, or black. I prefer the red and black, but all of them work fine with this recipe. The recipe above is made with red quinoa that I packed in my suitcase straight from Peru. I am reminded of it constantly because the grains have subsequently has found their way into every nook and cranny of my suitcase, clothing, and lingerie because the bag busted while were traveling. Every so often, I reach down into my  shirt, and ” oh’look a piece of quinoa”! Lovely. Sarah B of My New Roots has an interesting and informative blog post on the health benefits of quinoa and explains how to store it and rinse it. Please, please rinse it well!

Enjoy! Folks in New England, make a snowman for me and stay safe in Nemo (since when do we name winter storms?)..

To Your Health,

Lydia

Chicken and Chorizo Quinoa Paella

Serves 8-10
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This deeply flavorful and smoky Chicken and Chorizo Quinoa Paella makes a healthy and fast weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken thighs (chopped into 1 inch pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked spanish parika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups quinoa (rinsed several times)
  • 1lb chorizo (removed from casing)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup roasted red bellpepper (sliced thinly)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note

I used fresh red pepper because I had no roasted bellpepper on hand and it was still delicious. Saute it with the garlic if you decide to use fresh red bellpepper.

Half the amount of chorizo if you are concerned about the fat content.

 

Directions

Step 1
Brown the chorizo in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Spoon out the cooked chorizo and set aside on paper towels to drain. Get rid of most the excess fat in the pan.
Step 2
Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown about 2 minutes each side in the saucepan on medium-high heat. Transfer to a plate.
Step 3
Saute the garlic in the juices for about 1-2 minutes, then add in paprika and red pepper flakes. Then stir in the broth, scraping up any brown bits. Stir in the tomato paste and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa. Cook 12 minutes on medium heat, covered.
Step 4
Season with salt to taste, then add chicken and chorizo. Simmer until quinoa is done(no opaque white dot in center ) and the chicken is cooked through. If the mixture seems too dry or too wet, you can simmer longer or add a bit more broth.
Step 5
Stir in the peas and roasted red pepper. Top with herbs to serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Chicken Stew

Have you jumped on the peanut train yet? Well, clearly I have because I am posting a second peanut recipe , and I still have another jar to use up. Peanut butter protein balls perhaps next?

My husband began calling this Peanut Chicken Stew “crack” stew because neither one of us could walk by the pot without hovering over it, swiping spoonfuls before and after dinner.

It is that good. I have been dreaming about this stew  since we finished it one week ago. This is really special. It makes you feel good, so good, that I made it again today to pair with homemade bread and friends!

peanut chicken stew

When you read the recipe, you are going to jump out of your  chair and proclaim I am crazy for putting together the strange mix of ingredients….I jumped out of my chair the first time I saw peanut butter, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, rotisserie chicken,coconut milk, turmeric, brown rice, fresh herbs and other healing spices mixed together.

The, I tried it because I was curious, and I am  now a peanut-stew-convert.

On another note, I’m sorry I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks.Life over here has looked like this-

work. cook. eat. sand. repeat. paint. cook. eat .repeat.paint. repeat. clean.repeat. think about starting the garden. paint.

Our dining room is now painted, and we are working on the impossible task of the kitchen, which entails removing 50 year old wallpaper, sanding with my purple swimcap on to protect my  hair , balancing on a 15 foot tall ladder at a 60 degree angle, and finding dust bombs from the sanding on every surface. Today we painted trim. Ick.

I am looking forward to the part where I have a glass of wine and marvel at the newly painted  walls.

Until then, I’ll be eating this peanut stew while the weather is still cold, and  enjoying this cream sauce without the cream from Eating Well. I used it to make a killer healthy macaroni and cheese  last week and in homemade tomato soup.  Alas,  the healthy  mac n’ cheese was downed before I could photograph it. Food blogger photography problems….the subject disappears quickly.

 

To Your Health,

Lydia

Peanut Chicken Stew

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Allergy Peanuts
Meal type Main Dish, Soup
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
This peanut chicken stew , filled flavorful ingredients and superfoods, is the perfect cold-weather healthy meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 roasted bell pepper (chopped finely)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1.5 teaspoons grated coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dark chili powder
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 16 oz can plum tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 rib rotiserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Note

You can puree this stew before adding in the coconut milk , peanut butter, and chicken and rice for a smooth and creamy soup.  Then warm it up, stir in the rest of the ingredients, and serve. I prefer the chunky stew though.

Sriracha is a delicious hot sauce, but you can substitute tobasco is you have no sriracha on hand.

 

Directions

Step 1
Saute the onion in the oil on medium-high heat until it is translucent. The add in the spices, garlic,and ginger and saute 2 more minutes.
Step 2
Add the chicken broth, grated carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, sriracha, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium and let it simmer with the top on for at least 45 minutes.
Step 3
Stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter and whisk until combined.
Step 4
Stir in the roasted chicken and cook another 2 -3 minutes on medium high until the chicken is hot. Garnish with fresh chives or cilantro.
Step 5
Serve atop the cooked brown rice in a bowl and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

 

 

 

Carb-Loading Peruvian Style

Besides bringing back a nasty rash on my face and arms from Peru, I brought with me plenty of knowledge about Peruvian food, and items like quinoa, a bag of Lydia-made chocolates, some delicious jam of Andes -mountain wild berries, a tea made of the husks of the cacao bean, and some dried peppers and spices.It was worth the  attention we received from US Customs in the Miami Airport.

I planned on making a few of our favorite dishes when I got home,  and finally after a month, I have a new  recipe for you to try! They call it “cuy”.

I call it a large rat….and someone’s  pet…Just kidding, we are not making cuy on here, people.

Let’s talk about Aji de Gallina now, which is much more pleasant than cuy.

A couple weeks ago, I finally had some time to tinker with this  Peruvian recipe using the Peruvian pepper powder, aji amarillo.

Runners and active peeps, listen up, because this recipe is carb-heavy and low on fiber, which in our case is a good thing the night before a race. Usually, I am enthusiastic about stuffing myself with as much fiber as possible , but the night before a race or long run,   us running-folk stay away from fibrous foods and need to load up on simple carbs .

2BlueEgg’s version of Aji de Gallina

 

This dish is delicious, with a  slightly spicy chicken cream sauce over rice with a side of potatoes, boiled egg, and garnished with black olives.

You can make this with dried chile pepper powder or any dried pepper powder, but it is traditionally made with a ground yellow , fairly mild pepper called aji amarillo.

This recipe is simple and makes a huge amount, so you can eat on it all week if you have a marathon coming up or simply eat it, unbutton your pants and chill on the couch watching Seasons 1 and 2  of Downton Abbey, no marathons required.

I created this version on my own after learning it from both my cousins’ Peruvian cook in Argentina  and from a restaurant in Peru. Mine uses white bread, but I think I prefer it using saltines.

I ate this dish the night before my twenty mile run , and it certainly did its’ magic, because I had  a perfect long run and felt energized all day afterward. Let’s hope it and a pasta diner 2 nights before the race will fuel 26.2 miles !

 

Aji de Gallina

Serves 8-10
Prep time 24 hours
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 25 hours
Allergy Milk, Tree Nuts
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Try this chicken dish for a change from typical chicken and rice. Aji amarillo pepper, eggs, olives, chicken, potatoes, and rice combine to make one flavor-packed Peruvian meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (whole)
  • 4-5 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives
  • 6 cups white rice (cooked)
  • 1lb golden potatoes
  • 4 boiled eggs
  • 7 slices of white bread
  • 1.5 cups fat-free evaporated milk
  • 6T walnuts (chopped finely)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 large onions (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons aji amarillo powder or chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-2 cup chicken broth or stock

Note

A Dairy Free version:You could replace the evaporated milk in this recipe with almond milk, and replace the cheese with nutritional yeast.

If you have no white bread:A couple sleeves of saltines would substitute well.

Directions

Step 1
Bake your chicken in the oven ahead of time or even 1 day before at 375 degrees until the juices run clear.
Step 2
Once chicken is cool, remove all meat from bones and chop it.
Step 3
Meanwhile, saute your onion at high heat, then medium heat until nearly caramelized(should be brown). Boil your potatoes until fork tender and set aside.
Step 4
Toss in the chopped garlic to the onion mixture and saute for 2 minutes. Then deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of chicken broth.
Step 5
Stir in the pepper powder
Step 6
Soak the bread in another dish in the evaporated milk for 5 minutes, then tear it up into small pieces
Step 7
Add the bread and rest of the milk to the onion mixture.
Step 8
Stir for 1 minute, then transfer to a blender or food processor until pureed.
Step 9
Return to the pan on low heat, and add another 1/2 cup of chicken broth or more, depending on how thick you want the sauce.
Step 10
Keep it hot, and add the chicken pieces. Warm on low to medium heat just until chicken is hot.
Step 11
Serve immediately over rice. Garnish with boiled potatoes, sliced boiled egg, and kalamata olives!