For the past few months, my blog has taken a back seat with catered events rolling in one after another at work, so I apologize to my loyal followers and will do a better job over the coming months of posting a weekly blog entry. About a month ago we ran across a sweet deal at Costco when we found boneless, skinless chicken thighs at a really good price. It had 6 packs containing 5 boneless thighs bundled into one pack (so you can freeze the whole pack and tear off and thaw meals as needed). I believe Costco does most all their chicken this way, but lately I’ve been buying a lot of dark meat chicken. I grew up eating white meat chicken so I’m a late follower to the moistness and deliciousness of dark meat.
Since we’ve had this big pack of thighs in the freezer, I’m constantly trying new things to cook them. Normally I make a glaze of cranberry sauce and wine cooked down to a syrup, with some garlic added, but being out of cranberry sauce forced me to try something new and that’s how this recipe came about. This is what I could make with what I had in the pantry (and bar), but the point here is to play around with what you’ve got on hand. To make a good glaze you need some sort of fruit item (preserves, cranberry sauce, jam, etc) and some sort of acid (in this case some wine). Boiling contents down to a syrup will marry all the flavors and make an incredible glaze for meat. Boiling it down also releases the alcohol and leaves only the rich flavors.
5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or use breasts if you prefer)
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning blend (I look for Badia brand which is cheap and tasty)
1 tbsp fig preserves
zest from 1 orange and juice from same orange
1 tbsp Drambuie liqueur (made from scotch whiskey and honey)
1 tbsp Cabinet Sauvignon wine
1 tbsp mined garlic
Arrange thighs on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning. Roast in a 400F oven for 15 minutes.
While the chicken is in the oven, in a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the glaze is thick and will cover the back of a spoon.
Remove chicken from the oven and spoon the glaze over the chicken. Return to the oven and cook for 5 more minutes then check the temperature. Chicken needs to be 165F to be done and kill all salmonella or other harmful bacteria. If yours if 165F, it’s done. If not, continue cooking until internal temperature is reached.
It’s a new year, and I’ve decided to try and cut back on my beef and pork intake. I’m trying to be a flexitarian and eat mostly vegetables with limited fish and chicken, but it’s not always easy to be strict, especially when I’m in charge of feeding 1500 college students every day at work. Because so many kids that age are more health conscience than their parents were, I get to experiment with new recipes from time to time and this one was a major hit with the students and the staff, AND it falls into my new dietary plans. If you’re not brave enough to try tofu, use some shrimp with the chicken. It’s really quite easy and extremely tasty, and some have asked that I share the recipe, so here it is.
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 pound firm Tofu, cut into 1/4″ dice, or 1/2 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 tbsp Asian fish sauce, or 2 1/2 tbsp each of low sodium soy sauce and Asian Oyster sauce
1 cup water
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
3 1/2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp red curry paste
3/4# cooked linguine pasta
3 tbsp oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped rough
2/3 cup salted peanuts, chopped fine
1/2 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
1 cup bean sprouts (optional), can be added at the final stage in the pan
In a small bowl, toss 1 tsp fish sauce with the chicken. In another small bowl, toss 1 tsp fish sauce with the tofu. Set aside.
In a medium sized glass bowl, combine the remaining fish sauce, water, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, cilantro and curry paste and mix well using a whisk.
Using a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes per side until chicken is done. Remove chicken from the pan. Next add another tbsp oil and cook the tofu (or shrimp) for 2-3 minutes per side, until heated through and starting to take on color. Remove the tofu from the pan. Add the remaining tbsp of oil and the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute until garlic is fragrant and beginning to brown. Add back to the pan the cooked chicken and tofu (shrimp). Toss in the cooked linguine pasta, then pour in the liquid sauce and cook until mixture starts to boil. Pour pan contents back into your glass bowl and mix well, then serve immediately.