Monday, January 11, 2016

Chicken Breasts with Rosemary, Pine Nuts, and Verjuice

This recipe requires a bit of planning ahead, but the extra effort makes for a delicious and easy weeknight dinner. This simple chicken preparation gives the chicken a rich, brown crust and packs in plenty of flavour. The salsa agresto is delicious with the chicken, but I think you could be equally happy without it. Verjuice is easy to find in Australia, but if it's harder to find where you are, I think a white wine would be easier than playing ingredient sleuth. Serve with some olive oil mashed potatoes and an arugula salad.

One year ago: (on hiatus)
Two years ago: Tamarind Crab
Three years ago: Pureed beets with yogurt and za'atar
Four years ago: Grilled Sausages with Celery Root Salad and Hazelnuts
Five years ago: Pad Thai
Six years ago: Spinach Quiche

Chicken Breasts with Rosemary, Pine Nuts, and Verjuice (from Maggie's Harvest)

1/3 cup (55g) raisins
1/4 cup verjuice
2 sprigs rosemary
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 chicken breasts, skin on
1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts
1 tbsp butter
sea salt flakes
salsa agresto

1. Soak the raisins in the verjuice overnight.
2. Strip the rosemary leaves and reserve for another dish. Place stalks in a bowl with 60ml olive oil and a little pepper. Add chicken breasts and marinate for at least an hour (or overnight).
3. Preheat oven to 220C. Moisten pine nuts with a little olive oil and roast for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.
4. Heat butter until golden brown in a frying pan. Add remaining tbsp of olive oil to pan to keep it from burning. Salt chicken breasts and pan-fry skin-side down over medium heat for 6 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Turn and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until cooked through. Set chicken aside.
5. Discard any butter (or olive oil) in the pan and toss in raisins and verjuice. Deglaze over high heat until liquid reduces by half.
6. Remove from heat and stir in pine nuts.
7. Pour sauce over chicken and serve with salsa agresto.

Salsa agresto
1 cup (160g) almonds
1 cup (100g) walnuts
2 cloves garlic
2 3/4 cups parsley leaves
1/2 cup firmly packed basil leaves
1 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup verjuice

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Roast almonds and walnuts for 5 minutes.
2. Blend nuts, garlic, herbs, salt, and 6 grinds of pepper in food processor with a little of the olive oil.
3. With the motor running, add the remaining olive oil and verjuice until a pesto-like consistency.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Porterhouse steak with pan-seared cherry tomatoes

This dish showcases the bounty of summer for a quick and easy dinner that's full of flavour. Even my tomato-averse husband enjoyed the sauce paired with the steak. Be careful when digging in as some of the little tomatoes have a tendency to spray everywhere. I added a sliced chili pepper and a bit of balsamic just to give the sauce even a bit more depth, but I think it would be fine omitted as well.

One year ago: (on hiatus)
Two years ago: Peanut-Crusted Lamb Kebabs in the Style of Burkina Faso
Three years ago: Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za'atar and Lemon
Four years ago: Pork Tenderloin in Creamy Mustard Sauce
Five years ago: Minestrina Tricolore
Six years ago: Corn and Black Bean Tamale pie

Porterhouse steak with pan-seared cherry tomatoes (from The Epicurious Cookbook)

3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 porterhouse steaks (1 3/4 lbs each)
4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 (1/2 pint) containers mixed cherry tomatoes
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 - 2 red chilies, thinly sliced (optional)
1 1/2 cups coarsely torn fresh basil
1 - 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Meanwhile pat steaks dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Sear steaks one at a time, turning once, until well browned, ~10 minutes.
5. Transfer steaks to a shallow baking dish and cook in oven until thermometer reads, 110 - 120F, depending on desired level of doneness, ~6 minutes.
6. Transfer to a platter and let steaks rest for 15 minutes.
7. While steaks rest, pour oil off from skillet and add remaining 2 tbsp. Heat over medium-high heat.
8. Add garlic and saute until golden. Remove with slotted spoon.
9. Add tomatoes, thyme, and chili if using. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes begin to wilt, 2 minutes.
10. Remove from heat and stir in any steak juices from the platter. Scatter basil over tomatoes and add balsamic to taste if using.
11. Spoon tomato sauce over steaks and serve.

Stir-fried Chicken with Lemongrass and Chiles

This was the last dish we made before heading off for vacation in Cambodia and Thailand. I had low expectations for it because it was one of those low effort dishes just to have something to eat before leaving. But quick and easy doesn't mean a dish isn't delicious and the sauce on this dish is outstanding with its pairing of onions, lemongrass, and chilies. I have a vague recollection that we added something green to the mix so I wouldn't have to bother with a side dish and that it worked really well, but I don't recall what it was (maybe bok choy). Happy New Year!

One year ago: (on hiatus)
Two years ago: Loin lamb chops with apricot sauce
Three years ago: Boiled Beef Slices in a Fiery Sauce
Four years ago: Spiced Braised Nyonya Pork
Five years ago: Greek Style Penne with Lamb, Parnsips, Cinnamon and Feta
Six years ago: Spinach and Cheese Strata

Stir-fried Chicken with Lemongrass and Chiles (from Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table)

2 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
2/3 lb boneless, skinless chicken (thigh or breast), cut into thin bite-sized strips
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh chilies or dried flakes
2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, finely chopped (~1/4 cup), divided
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise (1 cup)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp caramel sauce OR 1 tsp light brown sugar
5 sprigs cilantro, cut into 2" lengths

1. Combine cornstarch, water and chicken in bowl. Toss to coat and marinate for 15 minutes.
2. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in skillet over high heat. Add chicken and stir until edges turn white, ~ 3 minutes. Transfer to plate.
3. Wipe pan clean and add remaining 1 1/2 tbsp oil and heat over moderate heat.
4. Add garlic, chiles, and HALF of lemongrass and stir until fragrant, ~10 seconds.
5. Add onion and chicken stock and cook until onion is soft, ~10 minutes.
6. Stir in chicken, remaining lemongrass, fish sauce, sugar, and caramel sauce and cook until chicken is cooked through, ~ 3 to 4 minutes.
7. Transfer to a plate, garnish with cilantro, and serve.