Thursday, July 26, 2012

Potatoes with Achiote (papas en recado rojo)

I served this with the Chicken in Tomatillo and Brown Sugar Sauce. They were yummy.  Measurements aren't really necessary, just taste and adjust seasoning.  If you don't have recado rojo, an essential Yucatecan  seasoning, you can buy it at any Hispanic market.  Recado rojo, dissolved in vinegar, is delicious on grilled or roasted chicken and pork, too.

Serves 2-3
3-4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
2 tbl olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced fine
about 1-2 tsp recado rojo dissolved in several tbl chicken stock
1 tbl butter

The recado rojo which is a mix of annatto (achiote) and spices comes in little blocks.  Cut off a piece approximately the size of a tsp or so.  Place this in a cup and add chicken stock; stir and mash with a fork until dissolved more or less.  Set aside.

Put olive oil in saucepan to heat.  Add potatoes, salt and pepper, and saute.  Add garlic and saute for a minute more.  Add recado rojo and stir to coat with spice.  If it's too dry, add a little water.  Cover and steam until tender.  Adding more water if necessary.  When tender, add butter stirring to melt.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chicken in a Tomatillo, Chipotle and Brown Sugar Sauce (Pollo con Tomate Verde, Chipotle y Piloncillo)

I'm always looking for new chicken recipes, and here's another one from Pati's Mexican Table. I made this tonight, and it was delicious.  I used chicken thighs and brown sugar. Loved it! I served this with Potatoes in Achiote.

Pollo con Tomate Verde, Chipotle y Piloncillo
Serves 4 to 6

3 chicken leg quarters, or 3 drumsticks and 3 thighs, rinsed and patted dry 
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt, more or less to taste 
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground 
1/4 cup safflower or corn oil 
2 cups white onion, sliced 
2 garlic cloves, chopped 
2 lbs tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed, quartered 
4 tbsp piloncillo, shredded, or substitute for brown sugar 
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, plus more sauce if desired 
2 cups chicken broth, or water 

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.

In a thick and tall heavy skillet or casserole dish, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add the chicken pieces.  Brown on one side, for about 4 to 5 minutes and then flip and brown on the other side, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Don't try to flip too soon or the skin will stick to the skillet. Remove the chicken pieces and place in a bowl.  You may remove the skin if you wish, I don't.

Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring for about 3 to 4 minutes, until softened.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, for about 20 seconds.  Make room in the pan and add the tomatillos.  Let it cook all together, for about 6 to 8 minutes.  Add the piloncillo, the chipotles and their sauce and stir well.  Once it comes to a simmer incorporate the chicken pieces along with the chicken broth and cook for about 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be chunky and thick, and the chicken fully cooked.


I saw this on Pati's Mexican Table, and it is scrumptious!  I have rewritten the recipe for a smaller amount. I cut the recipe in half and used fairly small chicken thighs. I cut the water back to 1 cup, and I also cut the cooking time and only browned the thighs for 20 minutes, more or less. I can't tell you how good this was. It's going into the permanent repertoire. I served this with arroz rojo and squash sauteed with onions and cilantro.
Serves 3-4

6 chicken thighs,cut into pieces, plus two more pieces of your choice, with skin and bones
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
1 tbl olive oil
1 cups water
1/4 pound dried apricots, about 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
1 tablespoons apricot preserves
1/2 cup tamarind concentrate* 
1 tablespoons chipotles in adobo sauce, or more to taste, add chiles if you please

Thoroughly rinse chicken pieces with cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a deep extended skillet, heat oil over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add chicken pieces in one layer, bring heat to medium-low, and slowly brown the chicken pieces for 5-10 minutes a side or until nicely browned. Turn them over every once in a while, so they will brown evenly on all sides.

Pour water over the chicken, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring it to a simmer. Incorporate the apricots, apricot preserve, tamarind concentrate, chipotle sauce and salt and stir, and keep it at a medium simmer for 35 to 40 minutes more. You may need to bring down the heat to medium.

The sauce should have thickened considerably as to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Taste for salt and heat and add more salt or chipotle sauce to you liking.

or substitute with 1 tbsp tamarind paste mixed with 1/2 tbsp sugar and a 1/2 cup water. You can purchase this from

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Smoked Paprika Chicken Thighs with Potato and Onion

Just saw this on Best Thing I ever Made - Chicken. It is delicious. I made it with store-bought tapenade cause I was in a hurry.  I didn't bone the chicken thighs, and I added some chopped chorizo and garlic to the potatoes and onions. I also placed the chicken thighs directly on the potatoes and onions. This was delicious and super-easy.  Mary Beth made this with skinless chicken thighs that she topped with slices of pancetta.

Alton Brown, 2012

Cook Time:1 hr 0 min
Serves: 6 to 8

6 ounces pimento stuffed green olives, chopped 
2 teaspoons lemon zest 
2 cloves garlic, grated 

3 tablespoons smoked paprika 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground 
8 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs (if you can't find boneless with skin, just get bone-in thighs)

2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled 
1 medium yellow onion, cut in half and then sliced
1-2 tbls olive oil
salt and pepper
2 fat cloves garlic, chopped finely

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the olives, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl. Set aside. Mix the smoked paprika, olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt and pepper into a paste in a large bowl. Lay the chicken thighs skin-side down. Using a pair of kitchen shears, make a cut down the length of the bone to expose it, then cut the meat away from the bone. Discard the bone. Add the boned chicken thighs to the paste and massage to coat. 

Make the tapenade: Mix together the chopped green olives, lemon zest and garlic.

Thinly slice the potatoes about 1/4-inch thick. Toss the potatoes and onions with a tbl or 2 of olive oil, salt, pepper, and chopped garlic. Arrange the potato slices and onion pieces in an even layer on a foil-lined half sheet pan.. 

Stuff about 2 tablespoons of the olive mixture under the skin of each chicken thigh. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, on a cooling rack and set the rack over the potatoes and onion in the half sheet pan. Bake until the skin is crispy and the potatoes are tender, 45 to 60 minutes,depending on the size of the thighs. If you prefer the potatoes crispy, remove the rack with the chicken and return to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Italian potato and string bean salad

This recipe is from Biba's Modern Italian Cooking.  I don't think exact amounts of beans, potatoes, or pancetta matter. Just use what you have on hand. I certainly didn't have 1 1/2 pounds of string beans--maybe 1/2 pound. I also added the red onion and tomato. A little garlic would be nice too. If you need to make this quickly use frozen green beans that you defrost in the microwave.

Serves 6
1 1/2 pounds small string beans (stringed, snapped, and blanched or use defrosted, frozen)
1 tsp salt
7-8 unpeeled small red new potatoes (boiled, then cut into 1 inch pieces)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
cherry tomatoes or diced tomato
1/4 pound pancetta, cut into small cubes 
2 tbl olive oil

For the dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbls red wine vinegar
1 tbl dijon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

String, snap, and blanch the string beans in boiling,salted water. Then refresh them in ice water, drain, and set aside. Saute pancetta in 2 tbls olive oil until lightly crisp. Transfer to paper towel and set aside. Make the dressing. Boil, drain, and cube the potatoes; season with salt and pepper and some dressing. Add remaining ingredients and add dressing, reserving some for later. Salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving add the remaining dressing if the salad seems too dry.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Peach Melba

I got fresh peaches at the farmer's market on Tuesday and I couldn't resist making this classic dessert. You could, perhaps, substitute really good canned peaches to make this really easy. Poaching the peaches and making the raspberry sauce need to be done ahead anyway. If you have them in the fridge, it's child's play to make this elegant dessert.

Serves 4-
4-8 poached peaches halves (1 or 2 halves per person)
Really good vanilla ice cream like Ben and Jerry's
raspberry sauce

To poach peaches
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbl brandy
1 big piece of lemon rind ( use a vegetable peeler to remove it and don't get any of the white pith)
4 freestone peaches, cut in half (don't use really ripe fruit)

Bring all ingredients except peaches to a boil and let simmer for about 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved.
Place peaches in syrup and adjust heat to a bare simmer. Let peaches cook until fork tender.  The time will depend on the ripeness of the fruit. I had not quite ripe peaches and let them simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and let fruit cool.  When fruit is cool, carefully peel and destone the peaches.  Return to liquid and store in fridge.

Raspberry sauce
1 pkg frozen raspberries, defrosted
2-3 tbl sugar or to taste
juice of half a lemon

In a food processor or blender process all ingredients. Taste and adjust sugar. Strain through sieve.

Assembly Place a peach half in each bowl. Top with a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle on a generous amout of raspberry sauce. Garnish with fresh mint or a chocolate tuile cookie.