Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

Chicken seems to be everyone’s “go-to” protein these days, and while I love the bird just as much as the next person, let’s face it…chicken can be BORING! You know what I’m talking about..overcooked, dry, flavorless–the list goes on. Well, let me tell you, this dish absolutely ROCKS in the flavor department, and the cooking technique produces a bird so moist and tender it practically melts in your mouth! I was amazed!
I’m sure you’re thinking by now, hmmm….spatchcock, confit, preserved lemons…not for me. Hold on–don’t let those words scare you off. Granted, they may not be in your everyday arsenal of kitchen jargon, but fear not! I’m hear to break it down for you, and make it simple.
Spatchcock-this is nothing more than splitting, then flattening a whole bird. You do this by cutting out the backbone (not hard at all with a good pair of poultry shears or serrated knife), then pressing the bird down flat giving it much more surface contact. In our case, that contact is going to be with a scorching hot cast iron skillet…think “very crispy, beautiful” skin! One more advantage to this technique is that it cooks quicker! Fast AND crispy! Win, Win!! Click HERE for a step by step “how-to” on spatchcocking.
Confít-don’t you just love all this learning? What IS confit, you ask? It’s french, and it generally refers to meat that’s been cooked and preserved in it’s own fat. Here, however, instead of meat we have garlic, and the fat of choice is olive oil. Quite simply, the garlic cloves are s..l..o..w..l..y simmered in the olive oil for about 30 minutes or so resulting in tender sweet cloves that just melt in your mouth. The added bonus is that you’re also left with a beautifully infused oil that is both fragrant and delicious!
Preserved Lemons-I can’t say enough about these!! I have jars and jars in my fridge! They are cut lemons rubbed with salt, then packed in a jar with more salt & lemon juice. They sit at room temperature for about a month and pure magic happens. In the end, the peeling has this incredibly intense lemon flavor with no bitterness whatsoever. Click HERE for how to preserve your own lemons and a few options for how to use them once you have! You can also buy them…higher-end grocery stores will carry them, World Market has them for $5.99 a jar or you can get the same jar on Amazon Prime for $10.99. It pays to price compare!
Now, on to the recipe!
Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

adapted from Bon Appétit

Ingredients:

  • 20 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole organic chicken, spatchcocked (backbone removed and bird flattened-see above for instructions)
  • kosher salt & pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 preserved lemons, flesh removed, peel finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup whole cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup mixed tender herbs, chopped (such as parsley, chives, etc.)

Preparation:

Garlic Confit

Heat garlic and oil in small saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around garlic.  Reduce heat and simmer “gently”, stirring occasionally until garlic is light golden brown 10-15 minutes, being careful not to burn.  Let cool in pan.

Chicken

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place a cast-iron skillet on rack and heat oven to 500°.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels, rub with the garlic infused olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  When oven reaches 500°, remove skillet from oven, place chicken breast side down and immediately reduce oven to 450°.  Roast until well browned, about 30 minutes.

With heavy oven mitts, remove skillet from oven, and gently flip chicken breast side up. Add cherry tomatoes, brush chicken and tomatoes with more of the garlic infused olive oil and return skillet to oven for about another 10 minutes or until breast registers 160° and tomatoes start to pop. Transfer chicken to cutting board, cover with foil and let rest 10-15 minutes.  Place tomatoes in small separate bowl until sauce is ready.

Add broth to skillet and bring to boil over medium high heat, scraping up browned bits and cooking until reduced by about two thirds.  Add butter, one piece at a time whisking constantly until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, reserved cherry tomatoes, preserved lemon, half of the herbs and all the cooked garlic cloves.  Taste and season with salt & pepper.

To serve, carve chicken into pieces and spoon sauce over the top, sprinkling remaining herbs on top.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Any oil left from the garlic confit is delicious in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted potatoes

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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One-Skillet Chicken with Summer Peaches

Nothing says summer like a really good peach! Their season doesn’t last long, but when it’s here, I love to take advantage and use them in as many recipes as possible! Today I had the opportunity to snag some great peaches from my local farmstead and decided to pair them with the chicken I had out for dinner. Since I haven’t gotten around to making my big batch of pesto yet, I still have a BIG pot of basil calling to me from our backyard. Yes, I think to myself, basil goes nicely with peaches!

The great thing about this recipe is it’s a one skillet dish! Who doesn’t like just one dish to wash?  Go grab yourself some peaches while they’re still around, and give this dish a try. Try tweaking it to your own taste…maybe try white wine or marsala wine instead of the sherry.  Maybe throw in some other fruit with the peaches like blueberries or blackberries.  Lots of possibilities here!  🙂

Got peaches? Give these other recipes a try, too!

Peach and Blackberry Trifle

Peach Galette

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Cake

One-Skillet Chicken & Summer Peaches

One-Skillet Chicken & Summer Peaches

One-Skillet Chicken & Summer Peaches

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (about a 1-inch knob, peeled)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3-4 peaches, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves chiffonade (or chopped), more for garnish (see how to chiffonade in Liz’s Tidbits)
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Heat the oven to 400°. Pat the chicken dry on both sides with paper towels, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Reduce heat, add the shallot and cook until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan, and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30-45 seconds. Add the sherry and chicken stock, and return the chicken along with its juices to the pan. Transfer to the hot oven, and bake about 10 minutes. Remove and add the peaches and basil, and bake another 5 minutes or until the juices run clear. Remove from oven and garnish with some small whole basil leaves.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • The term Chiffonade means to finely cut or shred.  Click here to see a video on how to Chiffonade basil!

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Spicy Quinoa Cucumber and Tomato Salad

 

Lately, I’ve been determined to make more room in my pantry, so I’m making a concerted effort to use ingredients I already have to plan my meals. It’s kind of like an overcrowded closet…until you start cleaning it out, you really don’t even know what all you’ve got!  Such is the case with my pantry, so when I ran across some organic red quinoa, I decided it was time to make a meal! Hubby had the Traeger Smoker fired up and ready to smoke some chicken breasts, so I thought a nice healthy quinoa salad topped with a bit of protein sounded like perfect way to top of a beautiful day of sunshine!

Spicy Quinoa Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Spicy Quinoa Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Spicy Quinoa Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Quinoa:

  • 1 Cup Organic Red Quinoa (or use any quinoa you like)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (can use vegetable broth or water)

Rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking. Combine broth and quinoa and pinch of salt in medium saucepan.  Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

Salad:

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped (or more to taste)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ – ½ serrano pepper, minced (can use jalepeno for milder spice or omit altogether)
  • 1 lime, zested then juiced
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Combine cucumber, tomatoes, mint, shallot, serrano, lime zest and lime juice.  Toss together, and drizzle with olive oil.  Add cooked quinoa, fold to combine and add salt & pepper to taste.  Add more lime juice if desired.

  • If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 

Roasted Lemon Chicken Breasts

Looking for a delicious dinner recipe for chicken breasts?  I made this dish the other night for a “girls’ night” get-together, and it was a hit.  I love anything with lemon, and this dish didn’t disappoint.  Along with making the house smell heavenly while it was cooking, the chicken came out nice and juicy and the sauce was delicious. I mean, really…how can you go wrong with lemon, garlic and white wine? I will double the recipe next time, because the leftovers were just as good the next day!

This dish is 100% “guy-approved”, so I can now add it to my repertoire of quick, easy and delicious weeknight meals.  🙂

Lemon Chicken Breasts

Lemon Chicken Breasts

Roasted Lemon Chicken Breasts

Slightly adapted from Ina Garten

4 Servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup good olive oil

3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 9 cloves)

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (approx. 2 lemons)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (see Liz’s Tidbits)

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (I just laid the sprigs on top of the chicken instead)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 boneless, chicken breasts, skin on (I used organic “skinless” breasts for a healthier version)

1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges (I used 2 lemons)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute.  Watch carefully as to not let the garlic turn too brown.  Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 teaspoon salt.  Pour this mixture into a 9 x 12 inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place over the sauce.  Brush breasts with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper and tuck lemon wedges among the chicken.  Bake 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts, until done.  Turn broiler to high and broil 2-3 minutes until top of chicken is nicely browned.  Remove from oven, tent with aluminum foil and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.  Serve hot with pan juices.

Liz’s Tidbits: 

  1. There is NO SUBSTITUTION for fresh lemon juice in this recipe.  No bottled stuff! Click here to see my favorite citrus juicer.  It makes juicing lemons (or any citrus, for that matter) a breeze!
  2. Ina’s original recipe calls for “skin-on” breasts, which will crisp up nicely and be beautiful when browned.  It’s all a matter of preference or diet restrictions.  I like to lose the skin for a healthier meal.  Your choice! 🙂
  3. I don’t have time for thyme! Instead of peeling all those tiny thyme leaves off their stems, I merely sprinkle the thyme (stem and all) in and around the juices and over the top of the chicken.
  4. Garlic is a lot easier to mince if you’ll smash the cloves first with the back of a large knife.  This not only helps to release the oils, but also makes it much easier to mince.
  5. I always like to rub dried herbs, especially oregano, in the palm of my hand before adding to the dish.  This helps to release the oils.  Also, check your dried herbs before using.  If they’ve been in your pantry for more than about 6 months, toss them.

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets

I’ve had some recent requests for easy but flavorful weeknight meals with chicken breasts.  I love the fact that boneless, skinless, organic chicken breasts are so readily available to purchase these days.  If you’re looking for high protein, but low in fat and calories, the bird is the word!

I frequently look to “Cooking Light” for weeknight meals since I can count on them being healthy and delicious at the same time.  I look for recipes that have high ratings on the posted “user reviews” and recipes that appear to be quick in their preparation.  What I don’t want to sacrifice, however, is flavor!  We’re all about eating food that tastes good!  I do lots of cooking, but if a finished dish does not measure up to our standard of flavor, it doesn’t make the blog!

This chicken dish has several flavor components…dijon mustard, fresh rosemary, parmesan cheese and walnuts.  The mustard/buttermilk mixture gives the chicken a nice tangy flavor while helping the crumb mixture adhere to the chicken.   I love the idea of using cutlets, because they cook up so quickly!  The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken, but it you pound the breasts out to about 1/4 inch in thickness, they shouldn’t take more than about 13 minutes cooking time.

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets

Fresh Black-Eyed Peas, Southern Style

Fresh Black-Eyed Peas, Southern Style

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 4 (1 cutlet each)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 (6-ounce) chicken cutlets (see Liz’s Tidbits)
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Rosemary leaves for garnish

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine buttermilk and mustard in a shallow dish, stir to combine, and add chicken turning to coat.

Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet, and coat rack with cooking spray. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat, and add panko crumbs.  Cook 2-3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently (watch carefully as the crumbs can burn very quickly).  Combine panko with grated cheese, walnuts, rosemary, salt & pepper and place into a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, dredge in panko mixture, and arrange on the wire rack.  Coat top of chicken with cooking spray, and bake at 425° for 13-15 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.

Liz’s Tidbits:

Chicken cutlets are very easy to make from the breasts.  Why pay extra when you can create your own in less than a minute? Just place a chicken breast onto your cutting board (always use a designated board for raw meat–mine is a black plastic one that can be disinfected in the dishwasher!), hold your knife parallel to the cutting board, and slice horizontally from the thickest end of the breast to the thinnest end.  I then put the cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap and lightly pound them to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch.  Click here to see how to cut the chicken.

Tonight, I served the chicken along with a side of kale salad and some fresh black-eyed peas (cooked exactly like these butter beans), but the cutlets would also be great on top of a green salad!

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

I hit the jackpot the other day at my local grocery store when I found organic whole chickens at half price.  That’s quite a bargain, because usually those little girls are around $17 each!  Needless to say, I loaded up my shopping cart with every one of them to toss into the freezer.

I’m always looking for new ways to prepare chicken, and while perusing my favorite magazine “Fine Cooking“, I came across this recipe that was a perfect way to use a couple of my chickens and also some of my Meyer Lemons from my tree.   Since the chicken needs to marinate 6-12 hours (better if overnight), it’s not something to whip up on a weeknight.  But for a leisurely Sunday dinner, it’s perfect.  My guys said it was one of the best chicken dishes they’ve ever had.  The citrus flavored sauce it creates is absolutely delicious!

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Ingredients

Ready to Marinate in the Fridge

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Fine Cooking Magazine, Serves 6

 Printable Recipe

 Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 4-lb. whole chickens, each cut into 6 pieces (4 breasts with rib bones, 4 leg-thigh pieces, 4 wings)
4 large lemons
2 large oranges
8 medium cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 Tbs. dried, crumbled)
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Pour  olive oil into large enough “non-reactive” roasting pan to hold all the chicken in one layer.  Arrange the breasts in the center with the legs and wings around the edge.Zest one of the lemons to yield about a teaspoon of zest and transfer it to a bowl.  Cut 1 of the lemons into 6 wedges, and squeeze the remaining lemons to yield 2/3 cup juice.  Cut 1 of the oranges into 8 wedges and zest the remaining orange to yield about 1 teaspoon, then squeeze the orange to yield about 1/2 cup juice.  Add to the bowl.  Scatter the lemon and orange wedges around the chicken pieces taking care not to put them on top of the chicken so they don’t interfere with browning.Stir the garlic, oregano, soy sauce, honey, and pepper flakes into the bowl with the citrus juice. Pour the marinade evenly over the chicken. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours.Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.Turn the chicken so all the pieces are skin side up. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 375°F and continue to roast until the chicken is golden-brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken with the lemon and orange wedges to a platter. Pour the pan juice into a fat separator and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Discard the excess fat and pour the juice into a 10-inch skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the citrus wedges, passing the reduced pan juice at the table.

 Liz’s Tidbits:

1.  If your chicken is not sufficiently browned, place under the broiler (watching carefully so as not to burn) until golden.
 

Easy Spicy Thai Chicken Soup

Thai food is a favorite around our house!  I love the flavorful harmony of Thai ingredients, especially in the soups. With the use of things like ginger or galanga, lemongrass, basil, lime and chili peppers, you get that sweet, spicy, salty, sour and sometimes floral combination that’s just delicious and very addictive!   If you’ve never experienced the aroma and flavor of kaffir lime leaves, you’re in for a treat!  I’ve prepared several thai chicken soups over the years, and tonight I decided to see if I could simplify one using an already-roasted chicken I had in my freezer.  Any time I can use a roasted chicken to get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes, I’m a happy girl!

Kaffir Lime Leaves have distinctively shaped "double" leaves

Spicy Thai Chicken Soup

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 roasted chicken
  • 2 cans lite coconut milk (NOT Coco Loco)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves (can substitute lime zest if necessary)
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (can substitute brown sugar)
  • 4-6 thai bird chilies (more or less depending on heat preference)
  • 8 large slices galanga (can substitute fresh ginger)
  • 1 small head of Napa cabbage, sliced or shredded
  • 1 can straw mushrooms (usually found in the oriental section)
  • 6-8 thai basil leaves, more for garnish (use sweet basil as a substitute)
  • Fresh cilantro & thai basil, chopped, for garnish

Preparation:

Remove chicken from bone and cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Place coconut milk, broth, lemongrass, galanga, kaffir lime leaves, sugar and chilies in pot over high heat.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, add chicken, cabbage, mushrooms, basil, fish sauce and lime juice, and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Ladle into bowls, and garnish with cilantro, basil and lime wedges, if desired.

Liz’s Tidbits:

1. You can always substitute ginger for galanga, brown sugar for coconut palm sugar and lime zest for kaffir leaves, but if at all possible, try and find the Thai ingredients.  If you can’t find them locally, you can always order them online.  I keep kaffir lime leaves and thai bird chilies in my freezer.  They keep for a very long time!

2.   Thai bird chilies are VERY HOT! Since everyone in my house likes things spicy, I like to slice mine in half lengthwise before adding to the soup.  If you like it really spicy, try slicing the chilies into little pieces, and then float some extras in your soup just before serving.

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