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InstaPot Moroccan Chicken

This was pretty good.  I wanted to do something in the Instant Pot with a whole chicken I bought the other day. (Those poultry shears worked great.)  I liked this recipe when I skimmed it for ingredients, pretty much everything it called for I had on hand.  Subbed regular raisins for the golden kind, and used green olives instead of ripe, and added turmeric to the spice mix, maybe 1/2 tsp.

The couscous was from a box mix with a packet of garlic powder and other spices, it worked pretty well and was in keeping with the Mediterranean feel of the dinner.  They eat broccoli in Morocco?  Well, I like broccoli.

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Tangy Yogurt Chicken Marinade

This is a great recipe to grill (or bake) – the tangy yogurt marinade keeps chicken moist and creates a flavorful outer coating that zings.  Serve with couscous and citrus chunks for a winter break.

 

Yogurt Dill Chicken:

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp dry dill, crushed
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded*

large shallow covered dish, broiler or grill 

Mix together yogurt, mustard, dill, thyme.  Place pounded chicken in dish, spoon yogurt mixture over, cover and let marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.  Grill or broil for 10-15 minutes each side, until fully cooked at center.  If you’re broiling, place rack one level from the top most setting. 

*The easiest way to pound chicken is to wrap in plastic wrap and pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet.  Keeps meat from splattering.

A Nice Couscous Side Dish

DSC_0997 (1600x1060)I had the pork chops cooking before I had settled on a side dish.  Mashed potatoes or rice would have usually been my choice but I spied some couscous in the back of the cabinet.  The basic package directions would have worked just fine but I did a search just to see what was out there and saw this one that called for cherry tomatoes, basil, and Parmesan.  I still have one cherry tomato bush in the back garden that is pretty well grown up with grass and weeds but it yielded enough for the recipe.  I’ve let my basil go to seed but there are still plenty of young, tender leaves on it.  It worked just fine as a side, although it was a shame to waste all that good gravy!IMG_20150916_122343052 (1600x1200)Bonus critter shot!  Katie and Homer taking time for a little shut eye.  Homer stays out in the garage all night because he doesn’t get along with Toby.  Mrs J lets Toby out in the morning and Homer comes in.  He must spend all night awake because he sleeps pretty much all day long.  Tired kitteh.

Baked Lemon Chicken

DSC_9757 (1600x1060)This worked out nicely.  I saw this recipe the other day after a search prompted by one of the foodie shows on TV.  I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the one I saw put together on the show but it looked really good.  I made some minor changes but nothing radical.DSC_9747 (1600x1060)Dredge the chicken in seasoned flour and brown the pieces in oil.  Set them aside and wipe the pan out, add more oil and cook some sliced onions down, then add sliced lemons, sliced garlic, chicken broth, and a little lemon juice with a few sprigs of rosemary and let it come to a simmer.DSC_9746 (1600x1060)Spoon the veggies into a baking pan and lay the chicken over the top, then pour the liquids over everything and place the tray into a preheated 400 degree oven.  Baste every 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes in my oven.  I turned the chicken over for the last 15 minutes and then back again before I took this shot.DSC_9752 (1600x1060)We had pearled couscous and Brussels sprouts to go with the chicken.  The sprouts were sauteed in bacon fat with balsamic vinegar and more lemon juice.  Pretty decent dinner.DSC_9755 (1600x1060)

Dinner Menu: Grilled Pork Chops w/Peach Chutney

 

peaches2

It has been a crazy week. First it began with my birthday plans expanding from an afternoon of fun, to several days of fun (I have awesome friends) to a call from the puppy breeder to hear more about my boy and learned that pick up date had been moved up. Am I ready? No idea. Puppy is a new concept for me. All my other Danes were rescued at 6 months or older, came fully housebroken and with few issues. But I am beyond excited…

Here is a repeat of the very first recipe I posted for Thursday Night Menus years ago.  This recipe was my first time making a chutney and we threw it on pork because that is what we were cooking that night. It was a perfect match. That started the whole peach week idea a year later when peaches were in season again.

Last year, weather and disease limited the peach crop in Colorado, so I didn’t do much peach cooking, but this year looks like a bumper crop. Once I’m done just eating them straight from the ‘peach bowl’ I’ll start cooking with them again.

On the board tonight:

  1. Grilled Pork Chops
  2. Peach Chutney
  3. Green beans in Butter
  4. Couscous

Grilled Pork Chops w/Peach Chutney

  • 4 pork chops, medium thickness
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup Peach Chutney

Mix together garlic, salt, pepper and oil and brush over both sides of chops.  Grill over medium-high coals for 5 to 7 minutes on one side, turn and top with ¼ of chutney on each chop.  Grill additional 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked to desired doneness.  Serve immediately, with additional chutney if desired.

Peach Chutney

  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger or 1 tbsp minced fresh
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste

small sauce pan

Add all ingredients to sauce pan, heat to boiling – stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, until slightly thickened.

Shopping list:

  • 4 boneless pork chops (medium thickness)
  • 2 large peaches
  • 4 green onions
  • 4 oz golden raisins
  • 16 oz green beans, or whatever veggie might be fresh from the garden
  • couscous (usually a 6 oz box works fine)

Also: crushed garlic, olive oil, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, ground ginger, chili powder

Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Preserved Lemons

There are quite a few recipes out there for this dish and I read through several of them to get a feel for the spices involved.  I ended up with a marinade of olive oil, garlic, ground ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, ground cloves, red pepper flakes, paprika, lemon juice, and preserved lemon rind.  Marinate chicken parts for at least an hour.  I used bone in thighs with the skins removed.  Heat a little olive oil in a large, deep, skillet and brown the chicken on both sides.  Remove the thighs to a bowl and add a couple of cups of chopped onion to the pan, scraping the bottom to loosen the tasty brown bits, add a splash of broth to help.  Thinly slice a couple of garlic cloves and add them to the onions.DSC_8755 (1600x1060)

Add back the chicken and the rest of the marinade and enough broth to come at least halfway up the chicken.  I thought one lemon wasn’t quite enough and sliced up another.  Just use the rind, the pulp strips away pretty easily.  Rinse the rinds in cold water to remove some of the salt.  Cover and simmer for an hour or so.  I remembered that I had saffron that we looked high and low for a while back – I added a healthy pinch of it to the pan after grinding it in a mortar and soaking the powder in hot broth. DSC_8756 (1600x1060)Take the cooked chicken out and add large green olives to the remaining sauce, raise the heat to medium and reduce the sauce.DSC_8757 (1600x1060)Plate the chicken with a side of choice.  Rice will work, I used couscous cooked with dried apricots and cranberries.DSC_8761 (1600x1060)Spoon the reduced sauce over everything and garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.

Chicken Marsala

DSC_8569 (1600x1060)This is a family favorite.  We went with Tyler Florence’s recipe for tonight’s dish, the prosciutto was an interesting touch.  I almost went with baked potato for the side because I wanted something a little different than the wild rice mix that’s my goto for this before remembering the couscous I had ordered from Amazon.

Braised Pork Chops

DSC_8527 (1600x1060)We decided to do pork chops today and were set to do the cream of mushroom soup thing with them but couldn’t quite picture the gravy on the couscous we had picked out for a side.  We opted to dump in two cans of tomato bits with green chilies after the chops browned in olive oil, added a chopped Vidalia onion, covered it, and set it asimmer. We had some frozen, ripe Anaheim peppers and thawed those enough to split and remove the seeds and membranes and tossed them in with the chops.  When they had cooked down a little they were pureed in a blender with a little oil and garlic.  The puree was pressed through a sieve and the liquid added back to the pan.  Mrs J noticed some brown mushrooms that were nearing their use by date so in they went, too.DSC_8528 (1600x1060)One of Mrs J coworkers gifted her a couple of squash and they didn’t go to waste.  They marinated in oil and balsamic vinegar and were grilled right before the meal was plated.  Delicious!

Moroccan Spicy Lamb Soup

DSC_8191 (1600x1060)We roasted a boneless leg of lamb for Easter dinner and had a lot leftover.  I remembered looking at recipes for lamb and thought they sounded pretty good so I did a search and ran across this recipe.  I used it as an ingredient guide for the proper amounts of the spices and kept with the spirit of the recipe although I made some additions and subtractions.  I did have some canned chickpeas, but no lentils of any sort so I left them out, as I did with the cilantro.

I used a can of San Marino tomatoes with their juices, roughly chopped, and added some garlic, orange and lemon zest, and a half teaspoon of Madras curry powder that has been lonely in the cupboard.  I dithered a bit on the pasta, thinking ditalini, but went with the pearl couscous.  I’m not a huge fan of the tri-color pastas but that’s all I had in the larger sized couscous.  It was very good.  We don’t often get out of the familiar spice “comfort zone” but I think we will try something like this again.

Chicken with Couscous

DSC_7832 (1600x1060)We like Chicken Marsala so much that we made a variant of it tonight.  This has boneless skinless thighs dredged in seasoned flour and then browned in olive oil.  Remove the chicken and deglaze with the Marsala wine, scrape the bottom with a flat wooden spatula to break the nice browned bits up.  Add a cup and a half of chicken stock to it and bring to a simmer.  Add the browned chicken back and cover.  I used butter kneaded with flour to thicken the gravy before serving.  The couscous was from a box mix, this one was flavored with dried mushrooms.  I squeezed lemon juice over my chicken and liked it well enough, optional.

We don’t eat much couscous, but it is being stocked regularly and we may step up the pace.  I see from the Wiki that we had the instant variety which is quick and easy.  I may browse the International Grocery next town over for the regular stuff.