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Friday Recipe Exchange: Braised Italian Chicken

Braised Chicken

I’m travelling this weekend, but didn’t want to leave you without a recipe exchange two weeks in a row. This is a repeat from several years ago (have we really been doing it that long?). My life is pulling me in twelve different directions right now and only a few do I have control over. That probably means between now and the big holidays, we’ll have more repeats. Once I move into my new house, I’ll be back into the cooking groove…and in a better kitchen that doesn’t make feel all stabby and want to throw things.

I have a couple of recipes that I made recently that I’ll try and put together for next week. But no promises, if next week unfolds anything like this week.

No Bixby update this week, but a few pictures of how much he’s grown, here. There is no hiding his Great Dane lineage now. BTW, in case you didn’t know it, Mrs. J works at the local shelter and JeffreyW always has lots of photos of the residents. This is a particularly cute bunch.

On to the recipes:

Chicken is our default theme tonight.

First up, Quick and Easy Barbecue Chicken, recipe here.

Grilled Lime Chicken, and additional marinade ideas, here.

JefferyW is fond of Chicken Marsala, photos and recipe here.

I’ll be out trick or treating with eight year olds tonight. What are you scaring up for the weekend? Cooking up anything good in your cauldron?

Tonight’s featured recipe:

Braised Italian Chicken

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
  • Olive oil
  • Flour
  • Dried: basil, oregano, rosemary, cayenne pepper, pepper, salt, thyme

Sauce:

  • 6-8 green onions, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini cubed
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4-6 button mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic or equivalent
  • 1/2 cup good red wine
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes or equivalent (I use unsalted)
  • 2-15oz cans of tomato sauce (again, I use unsalted)
  • 2 tsp dried basil (or fresh equivalent)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
  • Pinch of rosemary
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 10-16 oz of favorite pasta (I like angel hair with this dish)

Bowl, Saucepan, Skillet, Baking dish or Dutch oven

In a bowl, mix together about 2 cups of flour and a good amount of the spices. Wash and dry thighs. Dredge in flour and fry in large skillet in about 1/2 cup of olive oil (I start with skin side down and do not touch it until it moves easily when I nudge it with a fork, then I flip it). When browned on both sides, remove to a plate with paper towels to drain a bit. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and add diced vegetables, cook until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute, then add wine, stirring to deglaze the pan. Add remaining ingredients, stirring to mix well. Let simmer, covered, on the stovetop while chicken browns.

In baking dish, add enough sauce to come 1/2 way up the side of the baking dish. Nestle chicken in the baking dish, skin side up. Now here is the important part, ladle additional sauce AROUND the chicken as needed, but DO NOT cover the top. Leave enough room for the browned top of the chicken to remain above the sauce. This lets it braise and the skin still stay crispy. Bake, UNCOVERED, for 1 hour and 30 minutes. At the 15 minute mark, check to make sure the sauce is barely bubbling, if it is boiling, reduce heat to 300 degrees. Chicken is done when it gives easily, but not falling off the bone.

Leave remaining sauce on the stove to simmer on low while the chicken cooks, you’ll probably want extra for the pasta. Prepare pasta just before chicken is done.  Serve with salad or green beans and a nice deep red wine.

Prep time is a lot on this meal, so I suggest it for weekends or special guests. I also doubled the sauce and froze 1/2 for another meal.

Tonight we also get a glossary:  What is braisingWhat is deglazing?

That’s if for this week. Have a safe Halloween. Boo! – TaMara

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SPAM Challenge, Part Deux

Can. Not. Believe. We did this. This is the second of three (3!) Spam posts. The last will serve as the Thursday Recipe Exchange tomorrow. I had checked in with JeffreyW earlier in the week, letting him know we’d been challenge. Then I got busy and was about to scrap the entire idea when he informed me he had already begun. Well, if he was going to jump in, I figured I’d jump in with him.

Never having eaten SPAM before, I really didn’t even know where to begin. I googled a couple of things but nothing sparked me. JeffreyW had already covered a lot of ground. I decided to keep it simple and came up with the pineapple-SPAM-Kabobs, pictured above and the SPAM Pasta Salad below.

For the Kabobs, I soaked wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before using. I cut the SPAM in large squares and alternated with peppers and pineapple. I grilled until lightly browned on all sides, then coated them lightly in barbecue sauce mixed with pineapple juice. Cooked an additional 3 minutes. Pretty easy.

For the Pasta Salad, I made small SPAM cubes, then I crushed fennel seeds and dried oregano together and mixed with bread crumbs. I dredged the cubed SPAM in the crumbs and fried in olive oil until golden. I cooked tri-colored pasta and tossed with olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, tomatoes and the SPAM. Again, pretty easy.

This was fun and I enjoyed getting creative in the kitchen again. Would I do it again? Probably not. No matter how you dress it up, it’s still SPAM. But YMMV.

That’s not all there is. Stay tuned for more tomorrow night! Two more excellent JeffreyW creations. Until then…

Barbecue Chicken and Spinach

This is pretty simple:

This is the favorite around here.

I started with bone-in chicken thighs. Washed, dried, seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper.  Placed in a baking dish, skin-side up, covered with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Removed the foil and baked for an additional 15 minutes, brushed with favorite barbecue sauce every five minutes.  Then baked for an additional 5 minutes. This allows the chicken to cook without burning the barbecue sauce and the additional 5 minutes let it get a nice coating.

If you’re grilling, grill for 20 minutes,  turning the chicken several times before adding the barbecue sauce, allowing it to grill evenly. Turn skin-side up and add barbecue sauce. After you start brushing on the barbecue sauce you probably won’t want to turn it, keeps it from being too messy.

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