Asian-influenced chicken and coconut “paella”

This is Tyler Florence’s Asian version of a Spanish paella which is gorgeous. The chicken thighs are lightly crusted with crushed coriander seeds then sauteed and tucked into basmati rice that has been simmered in sweet coconut milk and ginger. Need I say any more?

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Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup coriander seeds
8 chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups basmati rice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Pea Salad
1 cup frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
A small handful of fresh mint leaves
1 bunch watercress
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Mint leaves for garnish
Lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Coarsely crack the coriander by either pulsing in a spice grinder, wrapping the seeds in a tea towel and crushing them with a rolling pin or grinding them in a pepper grinder on a coarse setting.
Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper and sprinkle all over with the cracked coriander.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep ovenproof skillet. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down and give them a good sear for 4 to 5 mins to develop a nice crust.
Turn and cook for 4 to 5 mins on the other side to brown the meat. Take the chicken out of the pan.

Put another 2 tbsp of olive oil in the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, ginger and bay leaf, and cook, stirring for 4 to 5 mins, until the onion is soft but not colored.
Now you’ve got all this great flavor going on in the bottom of the pan; chicken drippings, onion, ginger and bay leaf. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two until the grains are well coated with oil. Stir in the lemon zest. Now add the broth and coconut milk and bring that to a simmer.
Tuck in the chicken thighs, put the whole thing in the oven, and bake, uncovered, until the rice is tender and bound by a creamy sauce and the chicken is entirely cooked through,about 30 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf.

When the chicken is done, put the peas, mint and watercress into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and give it a good toss. Taste for seasoning. To serve take a big spoon and scoop out some chicken and rice and garnish each plate with the pea salad

Lemon-poached chicken with lots of roasted garlic

This is a Tom Kine recipe from rural France. Don’t be put off by the quantity of garlic – when roasted, it becomes very sweet and loses it’s pungency. A great way to eat – just roll up your sleeves and dig in! This dish can be made with a whole chicken in much the same way, but you will need more wine and stock and will have to cook the meat for longer.

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Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
Chicken thighs, drumsticks and chicken breasts, skin on (enough for four people)
20 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 glass dry white wine
Zest of 2 lemons, juice of 1 lemon
Sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
17 fl oz chicken stock
1 French baguette
20 flat parsley leaves

Heat a heavy-bottomed casserole pan over a medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and the chicken pieces, skin-side down, to cover the bottom of the pan. If the chicken won’t fit in one layer, you will have to cook it in two batches. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Add the garlic cloves. Tip off any excess oil, add the wine to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until reduced.

Add the lemon zest and juice, thyme and bay leaves. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the stock. Cover the pan with a lid and turn down the heat. Gently simmer for 20 minutes.

After this time, check to see that the chicken is cooked by inserting a small sharp knife into the chicken flesh, just by the bone. If the juice runs clear then the meat is done. If the juice is still pink then cook for a little more time.

Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish. Roughly chop the parsley and scatter over the top.

Cut the French bread into slices and toast them.

Place the slices of toast in a bowl alongside the chicken. Let each person squeeze the soft garlic out of its papery skin on to the pieces of toast, which can then be used to soak up the juice.

Coconut-braised chicken with chorizo and potatoes

This is a wonderful mash-up of Central and South American ingredients – coconut, Mexican chorizo, cilantro and lime.

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2 tbsp canola oil
6 whole chicken legs (2 pounds)
Kosher salt
Pepper
1/2 lb fresh Mexican chorizo
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 dried chili de árbol, broken in half
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 lb baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Gremolata
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro, plus sprigs
7 coffee beans, finely crushed (1/2 teaspoon)
2 tsp finely grated lime zest

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 425°.
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Working in 2 batches, brown the chicken over moderate heat, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes per batch.
Transfer the chicken to a large plate.
Add the chorizo and onion to the casserole 
and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the ginger, garlic and chili and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add the coconut milk, potatoes and chicken to the casserole and bring to a simmer.
Cover and braise in the oven for about 1 hour, until the chicken is cooked through.
Stir in the lime juice and butter and season with salt. 


Meanwhile, make the gremolata.
In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
Spoon the braised chicken and potatoes into shallow bowls.
Garnish with the gremolata 
and cilantro sprigs and serve with lime wedges. 


Make Ahead
The braised chicken can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently

Asian lemongrass coq au vin

Fresh, sliced lemongrass, shiitake mushrooms and a whole tablespoon of chopped garlic make this dish lighter and brighter-tasting than the traditional coq au vin. It’s Cat Cora’s sublime makeover and you will adore it

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Serves 4-6

1 Organic Free-Range Chicken, 4lbs, skinned and cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 legs and 2 thighs)
Salt & coarsely-ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus about 3 1/2 tbsp softened unsalted butter, if thickening the sauce
1 1/2 cups shallots, chopped
5 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, quartered
4 to 5 stalks fresh lemongrass
1 tbsp garlic, minced
3 cups dry vermouth
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, if thickening the sauce

Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry, then season each piece with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat 2 tbsp of the oil and the 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a plate and set aside.
Add the mushrooms to the hot pan and another 1/2 tbsp oil if necessary and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are evenly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the plate with the shallots. Add another 2 tbsp oil to the pan and brown the chicken in batches, taking care not to crowd them in the pan. Transfer the pieces to a separate plate when they are fully browned.

Meanwhile, cut the bottom third from each stalk of lemongrass, peel off any outer fibrous skin, and finely mince the tender portion inside; you should have about 1/4 cup minced lemongrass (don’t worry if it’s a little more or a little less). Cut the remaining upper two thirds of the stalks into 2-inch lengths and set aside.

Turn the heat to low, add the minced lemongrass and the garlic to the pan, and cook for 10 to 25 seconds, until they release an aroma but are not browned. Turn the heat to high, add the vermouth, and deglaze the pan by scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Boil until reduced by about a quarter, 8 to 10 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and add the stock. Scatter the 2-inch pieces of lemongrass around the chicken, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and discard the pieces of lemongrass.

If you want to thicken the sauce (I often don’t), knead the remaining 3 & 1/2 tbsp butter with the flour until thoroughly mixed and whisk into the pan juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the floury taste is gone and the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
If it’s not thick enough, knead together an additional 2 teaspoons flour and 1/2 tbsp butter and whisk it in, simmering until the liquid has thickened.
Add the chicken, mushrooms, and shallots to the pan, lower the heat, and baste with the sauce. Cook until the chicken pieces are heated through, about 10 minutes, and serve.

** Don’t make this dish unless your supermarket has fat, fresh-looking lemongrass stalks; pass up stalks that look discolored, dry, or wooden. You can freeze lemongrass, so when you find good fresh stalks, wrap them tightly in plastic and place in the freezer for up to a month. Let them thaw for 24 hours in your refrigerator before attempting to slice them.

Chinese chicken salad

Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients in the dressing. It is well worth it and you will mostly have them in the pantry if you like Asian-style cooking. This is one of my favorite salads.

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Serves 6

For the Sesame-ginger dressing
3 tbsp Chinese mustard
1/2 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup light soy sauce
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 medium piece of ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp hoisin sauce (available in most supermarkets)
1/2 tbsp sweet chilli paste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the dressing;

Put the mustard in a blender and then add the sesame oil, olive oil, honey, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, hoisin sauce, sweet chilli sauce and salt and pepper (go lightly on the salt because of the soy sauce).
Give it a quick blend and check for seasoning.

For the chicken salad

1 medium Napa cabbage, washed and shredded
1 medium iceberg lettuce, washed and thinly sliced
1 medium romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 cup snow peas, sliced
4 green onions, chopped
3/4 to 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 cup carrots, peeled and shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
6 chicken breasts, (6 oz each) cooked and diced
Garnishes for the salad
crispy wontons (available in supermarkets)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted

To make the salad

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lettuces, peppers, snow peas, peanuts, green onions, carrots, beansprouts and diced chicken.
Toss together with the sesame-ginger dressing until well combined.
Divide the salad among 6 plates and garnish with the crispy wontons, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.

Slow roasted garlic and lemon chicken

There is nothing nicer than throwing everything into a roasting pan and watching it caramelize slowly, turning each ingredient into a mouthful of sweetness. The beauty of this dish is that the lemon turns sweet and incredibly tender and you can pop the chunks straight into your mouth, skin, pith and all! Thanks to the irrepressible Nigella Lawson.

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Serves 4 but can easily be augmented

1 chicken (approx 4½lbs) cut into 10 pieces
A bulb of garlic separated into unpeeled cloves
2 unwaxed lemons (preferably thin-skinned) cut into chunky eighths
1 handful fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup white wine
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.
Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add the garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later. Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.
Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavor-intensifyingly low heat, for 2 hours.
Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 400ºF. Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes, by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelize at the edges.

I like to serve this as it is, straight from the roasting tin: so just strew over some thyme sprigs, warm some lovely bread and make a quick green salad and Bob’s your uncle!

Chicken with potatoes, prunes and pomegranate molasses

Again, here is another gem from Yotam Ottolenghi with a stunning mixture of flavors.
It is SO easy that you just throw everything into a bowl, mix well together then throw into a large baking/roasting dish. Bingo!
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Serves 4 to 6

8 whole chicken legs (each with a drumstick and thigh attached, about 4 1/2 lbs in all)
16 medium fingerling or baby Yukon potatoes, peeled
3 large onions, peeled and quartered
5 oz pitted prunes
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp maple syrup
5 oz sweet mango chutney
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 tbsp oregano sprigs, plus a few picked for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 F
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, then tip it all into a large ovenproof roasting or baking dish.
Cover with a lid or thick foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Lower the heat to 350 F, remove the foil and cook for 1 1/2 more hours, stirring every now and then. If it starts to burn a bit, replace the foil or lid.

When the time is up, remove the dish from the oven, stir once more, cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes to rest and allow the flavors to mingle. Garnish with a few oregano leaves and serve with a sharp green salad and some good bread to mop up the lovely juices

Asian roast chicken with red curry and coconut gravy

Roast chicken is my go-to comfort food if we’ve had a really busy week and have eaten out a lot. The week of the Oscars was like that and I was craving a roast chicken. This is a fabulous alternative to the usual traditional flavors in a roast chicken.

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1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp Thai spice blend or Chinese five-spice powder
½ tsp coarse salt
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus extra 1 lime, halved
3 1/2 lb whole free-range chicken
2 lemongrass stalks, bruised
4 thick slices fresh ginger
2 lime leaves (look for Bart Spices dried lime leaves, from major supermarkets)
7 oz carton coconut cream
7 fl oz chicken stock, hot
1 tbsp Thai red curry paste

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix together the oil, spice blend, salt and lime zest and juice to make a paste. Rub the mixture evenly onto the chicken skin.
Pop the lime halves into the body cavity, along with the lemongrass, ginger and lime leaves. Sit in a roasting tin and roast for 1½ hours, until the chicken is cooked through.
Tip any juices inside the body cavity into the tin, then lift the chicken onto a plate and rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, pour off the fat, then stir the coconut cream, stock and curry paste into the juices left in the tin, and cook in the oven for a further 5 minutes, until hot.
Carve the chicken and serve with the coconut gravy and some steamed greens, such as pak choi, and rice.

Slow cooker Asian BBQ chicken wings

Given that  it’s Super Bowl Sunday, what more do you need than a large platter of these! The meat literally drops off the bones and the sauce…. what can I say???

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4-1/2 lb. chicken wing drumettes, winglets, or both
8 medium scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup hoisin sauce
3 tbsp Asian sesame oil
1-1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 tbsp sambal oelek
2-1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
Asian chile oil (optional)

Tip:
Chicken wings are often sold divided into drumettes and winglets—buy either (or both) according to your preference. If you buy whole wings and cut them into pieces yourself, you’ll need about 5 lb. to start.

In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, stir the chicken wings, all but 2 tbsp of the scallions, the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and sambal oelek until the wings are evenly coated. Cover and cook until the wings are cooked through, but not falling off the bone, 2-1/2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. (The wings can stay on the keep-warm setting for up to 1 hour.)

Use tongs to transfer the chicken wings to a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Strain the sauce into a fat separator and set aside for a few minutes. Pour the defatted sauce into a 2-quart saucepan, add the vinegar, and boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.

Position a rack 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high. Brush the wings with the sauce and broil until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the wings over, brush them again, and broil until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes more. Brush with the sauce once more before serving, topped with the remaining 2 Tbs. scallions and drizzled with the chile oil, if using. Serve any remaining sauce on the side for dipping.

Asian slow cooker bone broth

As one gets older one needs to retain as much calcium as possible, and I have been reading that in most Asian countries they have a version of this broth that they eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner and add noodles, vegetables or anything else to it, depending on what takes their fancy. It is loaded with calcium from the bones for your bones and is incredibly tasty and light.

 

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The slow cooker can be bubbling away slowly for several days with this and you just have to remember to top up the water level and add ginger, garlic, scallion and lemon grass if you have it.

 

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It is tremendously simple to make and the whole house will fill with the smell of the broth as the slow cooker gives forth it’s wonderful goodness. I have a 6 qt slow cooker, so I can fit in 4 to 5 lbs of bones.
If you use pork or chicken bones, you don’t have to roast them, but if you use beef bones, you may want to roast them at 350 F for 30 to 45 mins so the broth will be richer. Remove any marrow from the beef bones before you put them into the slow cooker or the broth will be cloudy and somewhat mushy!

Recipe

4 to 5 lbs organic chicken or pork on the bone. (For pork I use the spare ribs. For chicken, use wings and feet.)
Two good sized 2 inch chunks of fresh ginger, cut in half and peeled
2 stalks lemongrass (optional) peeled, halved and bruised
6 scallions,white and green parts, halved then tied with kitchen twine
1 head of garlic halved horizontally.

Put the meat in the slow cooker, add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and scallions then fill the slow cooker up to within 1 inch of the rim with cold water. Put the lid on.
Turn the slow cooker on high for about 1 1/2 hours so it bubbles and gives off scum. Open the lid and skin off the scum at this point.
Put the lid back on and turn it to low and cook for about 8 hours. You may want to skim again during the cooking process.
After 8 hours, ladle out the liquid, put into containers and let cool until the liquid is cool enough to put into the fridge. Top up the slow cooker with more water and turn on for another 8 hours, repeating the process.

You can scrape off any fat from the refrigerated liquid and add fresh chopped scallions, chopped cilantro, some red chilli, some noodles or anything else you fancy and you have the most wonderful meal that is very low calorie and incredibly good for you.