Tag Archives: chicken

The Only Marinade You’ll Ever Need


The official start of summer in the US – Memorial Day – is upon us this weekend.  In the UK it’s a holiday weekend as well, though it’s a generic “bank” holiday…don’t exactly know the significance, but I’ll take the holiday nonetheless.  Plus kids are off school next week for half-term break.  Yeah!!!!


To kick-off the summer, I’m sharing with you my absolute favorite marinade.  It’s comprised of super fresh, Mediterranean flavors: lemon, olive oil and fresh herbs.  You can use it on chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, fish or veggies – pretty much anything.


I use about half of it to marinade and then use the other half as a sauce.  You can marinade for as little as an hour, or if you want more flavor (and have superior planning skills to me) then marinade in the refrigerator overnight.


Incorporate whatever fresh herbs might be growing like gangbusters in your garden this summer, or what looks particularly nice at the farmer’s market….or whatever bits and bobs you have in your refrigerator.


1 year ago:  Mini Roast Beef Sandwiches with Horseradish Mayo

The Only Marinade You’ll Ever Need (makes 1 cup)

Note:  You can use this marinade on chicken, pork, steaks, chops, prawns/shrimp, salmon, vegetables – pretty much anything.  I like to use half of it to marinade the aforementioned items and save the other half to serve alongside as a sauce.

1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 strips lemon zest

3 garlic cloves, minced then crushed with the side of a large knife (see picture above)

1/4 cup chopped parsley (about a handful)

1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs (about a handful – dill, basil, cilantro/coriander, tarragon, oregano…use whatever combo you like)

1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, red pepper flakes, pepper and salt.  Stir until salt has dissolved.  Add the lemon zest, garlic, parsley and herbs and stir.  Slowly add the olive oil in a stream, stirring continuously with a fork or whisk.  Pour over your poultry, meat, fish, seafood or vegetable of choice.  Let sit for at least an hour or overnight.  Grill to desired doneness (or if not grilling, can cook on the stovetop or in the oven).

Adapted from Epicurious


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Filed under Main dishes

Chicken Thighs with Fennel, Orange and Green Olives


I very rarely use my oven’s broiler.  Last time was most likely to brown the cheesy topping on French Onion Soup.  But a few weeks back I came across an article in the New York Times food section that made me give it a second thought.


It’s a great alternative to grilling.  You toss your meat and veg and any other ingredients in the pan and essentially have a one-dish dinner.  Another bonus is the time factor – it cooks relatively quickly (again, similar to grilling).


This broiler recipe starts with chicken thighs.  Many people shy away from thighs in favor of the more popular boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Though convenient, I’ve been going off them in favor of more flavorful parts such as thighs or legs or even using a whole roaster chicken.  Plus thighs are juicier than breasts.


Lots of bold flavors come into play in this recipe – salty green olives, fresh zesty oranges, the licorice taste of fennel and a bit of smoke and spice from paprika and red pepper.  The juices of the chicken and the water released from the onions, fennel and orange create a lovely sauce, which can be mopped up with crusty bread….or serve it over couscous.


So dust off the old broiler (ok, not literally, but you get what I mean) and discover an old kitchen tool that’s new again.


1 year ago: Sautéed Cabbage with Onions, Ginger and Coconut Milk

Chicken Thighs with Fennel, Orange and Green Olives (serves 4-6)

1 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2/3 cup pitted green olives, sliced in half

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons paprika

1/2 – 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons olive oil, separated

Salt and pepper

1 orange, cut into eighths, but not peeled

8 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on preferred), about 2 1/2 pounds or 1 kilogram

Heat the broiler (to high, if you have that option).

Combine the fennel, onion, olives, garlic, paprika, red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss gently.  Spread mixture in a medium roasting pan (e.g. 9 x 13 inch or 23 x 33 cm) and scatter orange sections on top.

Add the chicken and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the now-empty bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Place thighs on top of fennel mixture, skin-side down (if chicken has skin).

Place under broiler with pan about 4 inches (10 cm) from the heat source.  After 4 minutes of cooking, turn chicken skin-side up and rotate pan.  Continue broiling for another 3 minutes and then rotate pan again.  Continue broiling until the chicken is fully cooked, about 7-10 minutes more (rotating individual chicken thighs, if necessary, to ensure even cooking).  Chicken is fully cooked when juices run clear and/or temperature is 165º F (75º C) on an instant-read thermometer.

Serve with couscous or crusty bread.

Adapted from The New York Times


Filed under Main dishes

Sticky Glazed Chicken Wings


I would be remiss if this week’s entry didn’t involve Super Bowl-appropriate nibbles for the big game this Sunday.  So here it is, America’s favorite bar food:  chicken wings.


Though I’ve partaken of my fair share of wings, I’d never attempted fixing them myself.  I looked through recipe after recipe with endless variations – baked, fried, slow cooker, buffalo, Korean, etc. – but all had a common denominator, of which I was completely unaware.  Wings are comprised of three parts: tip, wingette and drumette.  When you eat them at Buffalo Wild Wings you’re eating the wingettes and drumettes.  However most supermarkets sell the wing whole requiring a carving job by the home cook.  I’ll admit I was a bit put off.  Hacking up a chicken wing seemed like a bit of an ordeal.


YouTube to the rescue!  Thanks to YouTube I was able to watch several videos, some of which made cutting up a chicken wing appear ridiculously easy – akin to a knife through butter.  It isn’t quite that easy, but it’s not exactly difficult either.  Watch a few videos and I assure you, you’ll figure it out too.  The whole watching and cutting process took maybe 10 minutes max.


Now for flavorings, I knew I didn’t want buffalo wings as they’re too spicy for the entire family, so I was thinking more Asian style.  This was the first recipe I tried and it couldn’t have been simpler with amazing results.


I am not waiting another 40+ years before making my next batch of wings.  In fact, I’ll be fixing them up for Sunday’s Super Bowl – it’ll be a good midnight snack while we’re watching the big game here in London.

1 year ago:  Frittata

Sticky Glazed Chicken Wings (makes 4 dozen wings)

Note:  This was my first attempt at making chicken wings at home which means it was also my first attempt at cutting a whole chicken wing into sections (tip, wingette and drumette).  If you have never sectioned a chicken wing, I suggest watching a tutorial on YouTube.  Search “cut chicken wings” and you should find quite a few.

24 chicken wings (about 4-5 lbs or 2 kgs)

1 cup (250 ml) soy sauce

1/2 cup (125 ml) dry red wine

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (135 grams) granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.  Cut off wing tips and halve the wings at the joint, so that you have a wingette and drumette.  Discard the tips or save them to make chicken stock (which you can use in Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup).  Arrange the wingettes and drumettes (you should have 48 pieces total) in a large roasting pan or rimmed baking tray in a single layer.  If all the pieces don’t fit, put excess in another pan/tray.

In a small saucepan heat the remaining ingredients over medium-low heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes).  Pour liquid evenly over the wings and then using tongs or your fingers, gently roll the wings in the sauce so they are coated on all sides.  Bake for 45 minutes. Turn wings and continue baking until the liquid becomes thick and sticky and wings become dark brown (a few burnt bits are ok), another 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Let wings cool for about 5 minutes, transfer to a platter and serve….with lots of napkins.

Adapted from Gourmet (La Brea Tar Pit Chicken Wings)


Filed under Appetizers and snacks

Chicken Dijonnaise


Recently a friend requested my go-to, weeknight chicken recipe.  I told her about Slow-Roasted Chicken in Sweet Soy Braising Sauce, but she wanted to use chicken “pieces”, preferably boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not a whole roaster chicken).  Like most of you home cooks, I’ve prepared my share of dinners with chicken breasts, drumsticks, thighs, etc. but haven’t latched onto that one that’s made me want to keep fixing it over and over again, week after week.  So I sought out that go-to recipe…and I found it and it’s called Chicken Dijonnaise.


For any of you cooks (or eaters) from the 80’s who were fans of The Silver Palate Cookbook, you’ll probably remember this.


I didn’t cook in the 80’s, I left that to my mom.  She did an excellent job of providing nutritious, home-cooked meals on the table every night.  But she didn’t love cooking.  I don’t know how much I’d love cooking if I was working full-time then cooking for six people in the evening.


She wasn’t a recipe junkie or cookbook hoarder (like her daughter), but she did own The Silver Palate Cookbook.


My dinner memories of childhood are 7-deep (does anyone else know what that is?), chop suey, chicken ala king (for fancy nights), spaghetti and meatloaf. My mom may have fixed Chicken Dijonnaise for dinner, but probably not because I’m sure I would have remembered it.


I re-discovered Chicken Dijonnaise in some internet top 10 chicken recipe list (one of the many articles, lists, etc. that continue to suck away my time).  Everyone raved about the delicious sauce.  But the true beauty of Chicken Dijonnaise?  It’s only four ingredients!!!  That’s right, four, 4, IV, 1111 (if you are tick marking).


So give Chicken Dijonnaise a try and see if it becomes your go-to, all-around, workhorse, weeknight, family favorite chicken dish.

1 year ago: Spinach Bars

Chicken Dijonnaise (serves 4)

Note:  Rice and broccoli go nicely with this dish and soak up extra sauce.  If you have one type of mustard, by all means use that.  But if you have a few types, feel free to combine.  Whole-grain mustard is really nice in this dish.  Creme fraiche is similar to sour cream but it’s less sour and has a higher fat content, making it an excellent choice for sauces as it won’t curdle.

2-3 lbs (1-1.4 kg) chicken pieces, bone-in (I used half drumsticks, half thighs)

1/3 cup (80 ml) mustard (I used half Dijon and half whole-grain mustard)

Salt and pepper

1/3 cup (80 ml) vermouth or dry white wine or dry sherry

½ cup (120 grams) crème fraiche or heavy cream

Place the chicken in a medium-sized bowl and coat with mustard.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.  Arrange the chicken in a large baking dish (9″ x 13” or 23cm x 33cm). Scrape out any mustard remaining in the bowl and spread it evenly over the chicken. Season lightly with salt and pepper and pour the vermouth or wine around the chicken.

Bake the chicken, basting occasionally, until the chicken is done, about 1 hour.  Chicken is done when juices run clear or when white meat is at 165°F / 75°C and dark meat is at 175°F / 80°C.  If you are using a mixture of white and dark meat, remove the white meat once it’s fully cooked and continue cooking the dark meat 5-10 minutes longer, until it’s fully cooked.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter and pour the cooking juices accumulated in the baking dish into a small saucepan.  Scrape the mustard off the chicken and add it to the saucepan.  Cover the chicken to keep warm.

Cook the small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisk in the crème fraiche or heavy cream, and lower the heat. Simmer the sauce until it is reduced by about one-third, 5 to 10 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Taste, correct the seasoning, and spoon the sauce over the chicken.

Adapted from “The Silver Palate Cookbook” by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso

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Filed under Main dishes

Avgolemono Soup


Just got back into town from a wonderful holiday in Prague and Vienna.  A post about what/where I ate will soon follow, but first things first.  I have hungry (actually hangry….you know when hungry becomes angry) people in the house and the pantry is pretty bare bones.  Despite not having cooked in over a week, I don’t have an overwhelming urge to create in the kitchen.  Blame it on the pantry situation.

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That’s when this weeknight dinner winner saves the day.  It’s a hearty, flavorful, extremely easy soup and ready in about 15 minutes.  But the best part is that the ingredients are probably all residing in your kitchen.  Even after a week away.  Except for possibly the dill.  But let me tell you about the dill…..  I quickly cleaned out the fridge before we left (and it was definitely quick because as of an hour before the cab was picking us up, I had yet to pack) but failed to throw out a bag of dill.  It was still good last night!  Over a week later!  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.  Definitely good for the soup.

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Avgolemono is a classic Greek soup.  A bit of a twist on ye ole chicken noodle.  The lemon and dill add fresh, lively flavor and the eggs make it a bit more substantial.  After feasting on sausage and schnitzel for a week, this hit the spot.  I’ll admit, it’s not the prettiest soup.  But dang, it’s delicious!!  Sorry Donna, to steal your tagline:)


Avgolemono Soup (serves 4)

Note:  This is a great way to use up leftover chicken:  either put an extra breast or two on the grill or use leftovers from a whole roasted chicken.  Also, chicken is listed as an optional ingredient so the soup can be made for vegetarians; otherwise I’d definitely throw it in.  Recipe can easily be doubled for heartier portions and/or leftovers.

4 cups (950 ml) chicken broth

1/3 cup (60 grams) uncooked orzo pasta

3 eggs

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 cup (125 grams) cooked, shredded chicken – optional

Salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook until tender but still al dente, about 7 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Slowly ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth/orzo mix into the egg/lemon mix, whisking to combine.  Add back to the broth/orzo mix in the saucepan.  Stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens as the eggs cook, 1-2 minutes.  Add dill, chicken (optional) and salt and pepper, to taste

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Filed under Soup

Slow-Roasted Chicken in Sweet-Soy Braising Sauce


“I love that I’m the girl that shares recipes now!”

That’s the subject of an email I received back in November 2008 from my dear friend Maureen.  Maureen and I go way back.  Prior to this the only recipe I’d probably ever received and/or discussed with her was for mojitos that she learned to make in Cuba.  But back in 2008 Maureen was settling into domestic bliss with her fiancé Rob and dabbling in the cooking arena.


She always appreciated good food – organic, local – and especially loved her breakfast.

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Sadly Maureen was taken from us last week way too soon after a long struggle with breast cancer.  “Mama Sunflower” had a light and a spark that most of us only dream of having.  Everyone remembered Maureen!  So many were touched by her and are struggling to understand her loss and grieving in their own ways.


So I’m going to honor Maureen in the way I know best: with food.  This was the first (and only) recipe that Maureen sent me, in that email titled “I love that I’m the girl that shares recipes now!”.  I made it today and felt closer to her.  It’s a simple chicken dish, slowly cooked with a sweet-spicy sauce – much like Maureen’s vibrant personality.  Her heart was filled with so much love, usually so patient and tolerant, but she also had a side-dish of sass.

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Make this comforting dish and be that girl (or boy) that shares their recipes and food with their loved ones.  Because I do believe that food is a way of showing love.  And as Maureen and her family always remind us, love is the answer!!


Slow-Roasted Chicken in Sweet-Soy Braising Sauce (serves 4-6)

Note:  I prefer to buy my chickens from our local butcher as they taste so much better than the mass-produced chickens from the supermarket.  As an added bonus, your butcher will probably butterfly the chicken for you (as mine does!).  If you are butterflying the chicken yourself, check out this tutorial.  There are also lots of videos on Youtube.  Basically you just remove the spine and flatten it, so that as much of the chicken as possible is in the braising sauce.  Another sidenote: I”m seriously dreaming of pouring the sweet-soy sauce over some chicken wings and baking them for seriously delicious sticky wings!!  Let me know if you try that.

4 lb (about 2 kg) whole chicken, butterflied

1 onion, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 red peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/3 cup (75 ml) soy sauce

1/3 cup (70 grams) brown sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup (60 ml) cider vinegar

1/4 cup (60 ml) dry sherry

10 garlic cloves, minced (I recommend using a food processor or mini-prep for mincing…definitely speeds things up)

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1-3 tablespoons siracha, or other hot sauce, to taste (I used 1 tablespoon and it wasn’t too spicy for my spice-averse kids)

Rice, grain or small pasta – for serving

Preheat the oven to 400º F (200º C).  Spread chicken as flat as possible in a shallow pan.  I use a deep-dish pizza pan but a large sheet pan would work well too.  A 9″ x 13” (23cm x 33cm) baking pan is an option, but a shallower pan works better.  Scatter onions and red peppers around the chicken.

In a medium bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients (soy sauce through siracha).  Pour sauce over the chicken and vegetables, tossing vegetables to coat.  Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven to 325º F (160º C) and roast for about another hour, basting chicken with sauce every 10-15 minutes.  You can tell that the chicken is fully cooked when either (1) a thermometer inserted into the middle of a breast registers 165º F (75º C) or (2)the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Remove pan from the oven.  Using a spatula, carefully transfer chicken to a serving platter (you can carve it into individual pieces or present it whole).  Using a slotted spoon, place vegetables around chicken. Skim as much fat as you can off the top of the sauce or use a fat separator (as I do in the pics above).  Pour sauce from roasting pan into a 12″ skillet over medium heat and cook until reduced slightly, about 5-7 minutes.

Serve chicken with rice, grain (bulgur is our favorite) or a small pasta (couscous is nice).  Spoon sauce over chicken, vegetables and rice.

Adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper


Filed under Main dishes, Uncategorized