One Dish Chicken, Tomatoes, and Rice

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I’m trying to eat more rice these days, and it’s been easy so far with delicious and simple dishes like this one. I then froze a chunk of this and it was oh-so-good, even leftover!

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I had picked up some pre-seasoned chicken thighs from Farm Boy a while back and that was my base of things to go with. You can use unseasoned skinless chicken thighs, if you want: this is just what I had. I also had a litre of chicken broth, a 14oz can diced tomatoes, a 244g package of wild rice, a large sweet onion, and some pearl barley.

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Photography tip: never photograph food in the full harsh light of the afternoon sun.

 

I also grabbed a healthy handful of pre-mixed Italian seasoning. While I was grabbing these things I preheated my oven to 350°F.

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Clearly I am not very good at photography.

 

So I cut the onion in half and because it was so huge I only diced up half of it.

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Or in following my own instructions.

 

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More’s the pity.

 

On to my grains.

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I wanted about two cups of the grains so that I could use all 4 cups of my chicken broth.

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There was some math that needed to be done – I only hoped the juice from the tomatoes didn’t make things mushy.

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So first I softened the onions in my big skillet with some butter and olive oil.

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Then I tipped in the tomatoes and the broth.

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Then the uncooked grains.

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I added a tablespoon or two of the Italian seasoning. Then I gave it a good stir.

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Then I slid in the chicken thighs so they were as on the top as possible. I could definitely have doubled the amount of chicken I used, considering how much leftover rice I had.

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Then I hucked the whole thing in the oven for about an hour. You don’t even need to stir it.

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And then this gorgeousness was born. Holy moly is it good!

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Sizzling Summer Skewers

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Skewers are fun to eat and simple to construct; however, if you make a large number of them, then you will probably get annoyed with both the assembly and cooking, because it will take forever.  If you’re making skewers in large numbers I suggest making it a team activity.

Start with a marinade.  I had chicken and pork, so I decided on two different marinades.

For the pork: I peeled the membrane off this pork tenderloin and cut it into bite-sized cubes.

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Then I assembled the marinade: buttermilk as a base (and tenderizer), sriracha, teriyaki, pineapple juice, fish sauce, and garlic.

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Mix that sucker up and shove it in the fridge overnight.

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For the chicken: I trimmed the fat off several boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cheaper than breasts) and cut them into chunks.

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This one I cheated and used a store-bought teriyaki marinade that I got from Farm Boy.  It was worth it.

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Pour that over the chicken, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

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I also set a package of bamboo skewers in water and left those to soak overnight as well. This is so they don’t catch fire on the grill.

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Assembly time!  For the pork I used onion chunks, fresh pineapple and some red pepper.

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I always use two skewers to prevent the food from rolling around when I’m trying to rotate the suckers. It’s a bit trickier to put together (I did stab myself with one of the skewers) but worth it in the long run.

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For the chicken I had onion chunks, button mushrooms, and cocktail tomatoes.

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The button mushrooms turned out to be too small and kept breaking off, so I would use a bigger mushroom next time.

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Grill!  I made so many skewers I had to do about four batches.  It took FOREVER.  Make sure to check that the meat is fully cooked before serving.

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Tada!  All lovely and crispy!

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Spicy Chicken Salad (Sandwich)

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Now, while nothing can really top my chicken salad that can change your opinions on chicken salad, some other versions come close (especially when I make them).  I had defrosted three chicken thighs with the intention of doing something else with them, and then I didn’t. So I had three pieces of raw chicken in my fridge that needed cooking — and soon.

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I roasted the thighs (45 minutes at 350°F) the night before with some cajun spices sprinkled over top.

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Then I dismantled them by removing the bones and chopped them into small pieces.

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I grabbed a knob of fresh ginger and cut off a bit about the size of a loonie.

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Peeled it and sliced off paper-thin slices.

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Which I then minced.

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Sliced up some green onions.

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Tossed the ginger and the onions in a bowl with some cajun seasoning, curry powder, cinnamon, and lemon juice.

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Added the chicken.

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Then a generous helping of mayonnaise (everyone’s preference for how much is different so I’ll leave that to you) and a vigorous stirring.

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I decided to put some in a sandwich, so I made a nice cucumber base …

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… and topped the salad with some chopped tomato and grated cheese left over from a taco night in recent history.  Waste not …

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It was a GOOD sandwich.  Hit the spot perfectly.

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Pollo in Chianti

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My mother and I used to make this for fancy dinner parties all the time when I was a kid.  I DO have the recipe written down somewhere, but that somewhere is likely in the bottom of a sealed box in my storage unit.  Fortunately for me, this recipe is pretty easy to remember, as it only has five ingredients (including the string).

As recipes go, it is a little time-consuming to make, but it’s totally worth it.  Think of it as sort of a fancy chicken tournedo — in reverse.

Start with some boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  As many as you want — I used 24 thighs for this.

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You’ll need a corresponding amount of prosciutto, which is a thinly sliced ham-like substance.  I usually use half a slice for each piece of chicken, though it’s so thinly sliced it tends to fall to pieces when I pull it apart so it’s hard to say how much I really use.

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Gren thinks he needs prosciutto.  Gren is wrong.

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And you’ll need a big bunch of fresh thyme.

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Then you’re going to need some butcher’s twine or kitchen string.  It’s helpful if you’ve already got it pre-cut into the number of pieces you need.  You’ll need about 8″-10″ pieces to wrap around each piece of chicken.

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First you’re going to need to strip all the wee leaves off your thyme.  This is annoying and takes a while.

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Then you’ll need to cut off all the excess fat on your chicken thighs.

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Open up the thigh so the cut side is up (this is where the bone used to be).  Line this side with a piece or two of prosciutto.

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Sprinkle on some of your thyme (yes, I know that I didn’t succeed in getting it all off the stem).  I like to also garnish it with some pepper.  These pink peppercorns make a nice contrast.

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Then roll the thigh back up and hold it closed.  Get your string ready.  The reason you want your string to be pre-cut is you don’t want to have chicken fingers all over your ball of twine.  That is gross.

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Wrap the string around the thigh two or three times and tie the ends into a simple but loose knot.

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I showed you the steps for one thigh but usually I approach this with a Fordist mentality and do it all in an assembly line.  Doing all of each step at once helps me to budget my use of thyme — otherwise I end up running out at the end.

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I actually prepped these the day before I cooked them and kept them in a sealed container in the fridge.  It saved me precious time during the day of the dinner party.

Your final ingredient will be a nice bottle of Chianti, an Italian red wine.  Any red wine will do, but Chianti is in the name of the recipe so it makes sense to use it.  I picked up the cheapest bottle I could find at the LCBO and I think it was about $13.  You’re going to be cooking with it, so it doesn’t have to be excellent or anything.  For 24 thighs I used the whole bottle, so you’ll probably only use half that if you’re making less.

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I also purchased especially for this day a new electric skillet.  We’d always used an electric skillet before to make this dish, simply because it was large and we could put it elsewhere and save room on the stovetop.  I got a good deal on this Hamilton Beach one from Home Outfitters.  You can easily make this in one or two skillets on your stove top.  Don’t feel you need to buy a new appliance if you’re not going to use it often. I am going to use this a bunch, which is why I bought it, and I made sure to read many reviews before I did!

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Anyway, heat your skillet to medium-high and plop in your chicken.  This skillet fits EXACTLY 24 rolled chicken thighs, which is an added bonus.

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Let those cook, rotating occasionally with a pair of tongs, until they are nicely browned on all sides, about 8-10 minutes.

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Lower the heat to medium and pour in the Chianti.

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The liquid level should come to about 1/2 to 2/3 the height of the chicken.

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Cover and let that simmer for about 20 minutes, until the wine is reduced somewhat.  Rotate the thighs halfway through so that the colouring will be even (the wine will dye the chicken purple).

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I used an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thighs, which will be done when they read at 165°F.

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Use a pair of scissors to cut the string on all the thighs and serve them on rice or noodles.  So decadently simple!

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Soy-Dijon Roasted Chicken Thighs

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I found this recipe online and halved it for a quick fall dinner to showcase a home-grown squash given to us by our neighbours.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Set 6 chicken thighs (with bones and skin still on) in a baking dish.

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Mix together 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl.

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Pour that over the chicken, turning the thighs to coat them completely.

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Mix together 2 tablespoons fines herbes (or an acceptable substitute — I used half Newfoundland savoury and half herbes de provence) and 2 teaspoons fennel leaves.  Add in some salt and pepper as well.

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Sprinkle that evenly over your chicken and cover it with foil. Bake the chicken like that for 45 minutes.

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Remove the foil and baste your lovely thighs in the juices they’re producing.  Scrape the bottom of the dish a bit to make sure nothing is getting stuck there.

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Pour 1 cup chicken stock into the dish so the tops of the chicken thighs are still exposed but they are otherwise happily bathing in broth.  Bake that for a further hour, and let the tops caramelize.

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When they’re ready, drain the juices into a gravy boat to serve separately, and have some lovely fall vegetables (like this roasted squash) as a hearty side.

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Wingin’ it Wednesday: Oliver’s Stew

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Sometimes things don’t always work out exactly how you want them to.  But that’s okay, because you can learn from what you’ve done and move on.  So while this recipe was a little bland for my liking, I’m sure with the right combination of spices it would make a great mid-winter slow-cooker bowl of comfort.  I called it “Oliver’s Stew” because it has a gruel-like consistency that reminded me so much of the musical based on Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, specifically, this song. Nonetheless, I know some of you out there like your stews to be on the mushy side, so maybe this one is for you.

I started with some chicken thighs, and pulled the skin off them. There are only a few people in the world I will handle raw chicken for. The Pie is lucky to be one of them.

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Then I quickly browned them in a cast iron skillet.

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Cut up an onion and some garlic.

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And gathered some herbs: mustard, rosemary, and savoury.

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A red pepper.

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Some chick peas.

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Some rice.

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And some chicken broth.

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I hucked that all in the slow cooker with some salt and pepper and let ‘er rip. I ended up adding more liquid later on as it all got sucked into the rice.

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Shortly before serving I added some frozen corn and peas for colour.

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And there you have it — the chicken has fallen off the bone and lays in these lovely strips and the peas and corn and pepper add a nice pop of colour.

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Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore

Canadian Living always seems to have the best freezer-friendly recipes.  I haven’t tried this, but the stuff smelled great and when I licked my fingers to catch some spills I was quite happy.

I doubled the recipe, but the single batch makes 8 chicken thighs and a bunch of red delicious sauce.

Start with your vegetables.  Chop up an onion and a pepper.  I had some roasted red peppers in a jar so I used those as well to boost my quantities.

Chicken Cacciatore

Take 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  You can use bone-in ones to save money, but they will need to cook for twice as long.

Chicken Cacciatore

Toss them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons flour and some salt and pepper for seasoning.

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In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat some olive oil and, working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides.  You don’t need to cook it all the way through — you just want a nice crispy edge.  That’s why I like the skillet.

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Transfer the chicken to a plate and drain any fat out of the pan (if you used skinless chicken this shouldn’t be a problem).

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Add a bit more oil to the skillet and fry up your onion and pepper, with a little bit of minced garlic and some Italian seasoning (or basil and oregano if you don’t have it).

Chicken Cacciatore

Pour in 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can tomato paste and bring it to a boil. Because I doubled the recipe, I ran out of room in the skillet and had to move to a pot, alas.

Chicken Cacciatore

Add your chicken back in and simmer for about 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Chicken Cacciatore

Serve over rice or pasta and sprinkled with parsley, or freeze for later, which is what I did.

Chicken Cacciatore