I have a few quick weeknight meals to share- perfect for the busy holiday season. I was drawn to this dish because I had several beautiful leeks from my CSA share. I served it with roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts on the side.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Deb Perelman. I have saved a million fresh sauce recipes to make someday but, regretfully, seldom make one. The salsa verde added so much to this classic comfort food dish!
Because the original recipe incorporated a lot of rice, I ultimately made a second batch of chicken and sauce to serve with the leftovers. Next time, I would double the chicken (to 3 pounds) and the sauce (2 cups of herbs) from the start. The recipe below is updated for this change.
Yield: Serves 4 (1 1/2 pounds chicken) or 8 (2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken)
For the Chicken & Rice:
1 1/2 lbs to 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 T unsalted butter, divided
2 to 3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed until water runs clear (I used Basmati rice)
2 cups chicken stock with 3/4 cups water (or 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth)
For the Salsa Verde: (make 1/2 recipe below for 1 1/2 pounds chicken)
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
4 large garlic cloves
2 T drained capers
crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups tender herb leaves (such as parsley, cilantro, basil and/or mint)
8 T extra-virgin olive oil
Pat the chicken thighs with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper. (My chicken thighs were very large, so I cut them in half crosswise.)
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. (I used a large, low and wide enameled cast iron pot with a glass lid.)
Add leeks and half of lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, and mix to coat leeks in butter. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are somewhat tender, about 5 minutes.
Remove lid, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to take on color, about 3 minutes.
Add rice and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes, then add broth, scraping up any browned bits.
Nestle the chicken thighs (“skin side up”) into rice mixture. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from heat.
Cut remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and scatter over mixture. Re-cover and let sit 10 minutes.
While the chicken and rice is resting, make the salsa verde. Pulse anchovies, garlic, capers, a few pinches of red pepper flakes, and remaining lemon zest in a food processor until finely chopped.
Add herbs; process until a paste forms.
With motor running, gradually stream in oil until loosened to a thick sauce.
Add half of lemon juice; season salsa verde with salt to taste.
Drizzle remaining lemon juice over chicken and rice. Serve drizzled with salsa verde.
Even though I have a tried and true recipe for this family favorite, I couldn’t resist trying another version- especially a Milk Street version. 🙂 It did not disappoint! It was more flavor-packed and spicy than the recipe I’ve used in the past. This shortcut version uses the broiler to cook the chicken and does not require advance preparation or marinating time. Great.
This recipe was adapted from Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Rose Hattabaugh. I used the suggested amount of hot paprika but would only use half next time. (It was spicier than I had anticipated!) The delicious yogurt-tahini sauce offset the spiciness nicely. Serving the chicken with rice and warm naan also balanced the meal.
For the Spice Mix:
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
2 tsp hot paprika (or 1 tsp hot paprika with 1 tsp sweet paprika)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Chicken:
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T tahini
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 5 large)
1 medium-large red onion
For the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:
1 tsp Spice Mix (reserved from above)
8 oz (1 cup) plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek whole milk yogurt)
1 T olive oil
2 T tahini
grated lemon zest from 1 lemon (about 1 tsp)
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T chopped fresh mint
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped mint, for garnish
warm flatbread such as naan or pita, optional
rice or rice pilaf (I served the chicken over brown Basmati rice)
chopped cucumbers (seeded, if desired)
lemon wedges, optional
To Make the Spice Mix:
In a large bowl, stir together the cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons black pepper.
Measure 1 teaspoon of the mix into a medium bowl; set aside. This will be used in the Tahini-Yogurt Sauce.
To Prepare the Chicken:
Trim the chicken thighs and pat dry with paper towels.
Cut each thigh crosswise into thirds (or fourths if large).
Cut the red onion in half. Slice 1/2-inch thick. (I cut the onion into 12 slices.)
Into the remaining spice mix, whisk the olive oil, 1 T tahini, and 2 T lemon juice.
Add the chicken and onion pieces to the spiced olive oil mixture. Mix until coated evenly. Set aside.
Preheat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. (I set my oven to Broil+Max @500 degrees.)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat with cooking oil spray. While the broiler preheats, make the yogurt sauce.
To Make the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce:
To the reserved teaspoon of spice mix, add the yogurt, 1 T olive oil, 2 T tahini, lemon zest, 1 T lemon juice, and 2 T fresh mint.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir and set aside.
To Cook the Chicken & To Serve:
Transfer the chicken-onion mixture, along with the marinade, to the prepared baking sheet. Distribute in an even layer.
Broil until the chicken is lightly charred on both sides, 18 to 20 minutes, flipping the pieces once about halfway through. (I also rotated the pan halfway through.)
While the chicken is cooking, cook the rice. (I served the chicken over brown Basmati rice.) Cut the cucumbers and tomatoes.
Remove the chicken from the oven.
Place the rice in an even layer in a shallow serving dish. Top with chicken and onions; drizzle with pan drippings. Sprinkle with chopped mint.
Serve with lemon wedges, warm flatbread, chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, and yogurt-tahini sauce.
Making homemade mayonnaise has been a challenging endeavor for me. It is always described as “quick and easy” but that has not been the case in my kitchen! This time- with a little bit of a struggle- I finally had a successful result. 🙂
The garlic aioli base of this potato salad was very creamy and flavorful. The diced hard boiled eggs added even more richness to the finished dish. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I modified the method and proportions. The original recipe suggests making the salad at least an hour prior to serving to allow the flavors to mellow.
This dish could also be made with store-bought mayonnaise as a shortcut! Skip steps 3 and 4 and add garlic and lemon juice to the mayo.
Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, at room temperature, more as needed (I used Meyer lemon juice)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 T sour cream
4 T (1/4 cup) finely chopped celery
2 T finely chopped red onion
1 pound small waxy white or yellow potatoes, roughly about the same size (I used tiny yellow potatoes)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
finely chopped chives, cilantro, or parsley, for garnish
Place the 2 whole eggs in a small pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; immediately remove from heat and cover for 8 minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Peel and dice small.
Meanwhile, combine grated garlic, salt and lemon juice in a blender, and pulse a few times to combine. (I used a Vitamix.)
Pulse in the egg yolks. (I incorporated the egg yolks briefly at the highest speed.)
With motor running, set to medium-low speed (3 on a Vitamix), very slowly drizzle (drip!) in olive oil until completely incorporated and mayonnaise is thick. (I covered the opening with a paper towel to prevent any mess.)(I initially began this process with 1 egg yolk and the mixture separated. I was able to bring it back to a creamy state by slowing adding the broken mixture to an additional egg yolk prior to slowly adding the rest of the olive oil in the blender.)
Scrape the mayonnaise into a bowl and fold in sour cream.
Fold in the chopped celery and red onion.
Place whole unpeeled potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then generously salt the water. Cook until potatoes are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes depending upon size. (I cooked the potatoes for 20 minutes.)
Drain and cut the potatoes into 1 1/2-inch chunks as soon as you can handle them.
Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with diced boiled eggs and 2/3 of the mayonnaise.
Let cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until ready to use.
Just before serving, toss with some of the remaining dressing to taste (if desired). (I reserved the remaining mayonnaise for another use.)
Season with black pepper and add more salt, if necessary, to taste. Sprinkle with chopped herbs. Serve.
Annually, we treat ourselves to Southern shrimp and grits over Easter weekend. This year, I served the special dish using purple “unicorn” grits from Millers All Day in Charleston, South Carolina. Festive!
This version was topped with a spicy and garlicky roasted poblano-jalapeño sauce which had a terrific balance with the rich, cheesy grits. The shrimp was also cooked in garlic oil. It was a great variation to try for the garlic and sauce lovers in my house. 🙂 The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Marc Meyer. I modified the method and proportions.
Yield: Serves 4
4 cups water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup stone-ground white grits (I used stone-ground unicorn grits)
2 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 jalapeño chile
1 poblano chile
5 large garlic cloves, thickly sliced
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1/2 an orange)
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp, patted dry (I used 21-25 count per pound)
Place oven rack in the highest position and set to broil. Place the jalapeño and poblano chiles on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil until blackened all over, about 3 minutes per side.
Remove from the oven and wrap in the foil. Allow to steam and cool for 10 minutes, then rub off the skins. Stem and seed the chiles.
In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil with a pinch of salt. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
Whisk in the grits and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the grits are tender and very thick, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the milk, cheese, and butter. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. (I used about 1/2 tsp salt.) Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then keep warm.
In a small skillet, cook the garlic in the olive oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the garlic is softened and very lightly browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a blender. Add the chiles and the orange juice and puree until smooth. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the garlic oil and puree until creamy. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. (I used a Vitamix.)
Pat the shrimp dry and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of garlic oil. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Heat a very large skillet until very hot, about 2 minutes.
Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until browned and just cooked through, about 45 seconds to 1 minute per side.
To serve, spoon the grits into bowls and top with sauce and shrimp. Serve additional sauce at the table.
Many years ago, my husband and I first tried Romesco sauce while on vacation in Barcelona. It was served with grilled ramps. We were instant fans! Using jarred fire-roasted red peppers as a shortcut is an absolute genius way to create it. I served the meatballs and sauce in this dish with slices of sourdough baguette to sop up every last drop. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sara Frost. I modified the proportions. The original recipe notes that the delicious sauce can add richness to other lean proteins such as fish, pan-roasted chicken breast and can also be used as a dip for vegetables. Next time, I may serve this dish with grilled scallions. Yum.
My son ate the leftover meatballs and baguette as a luxurious sandwich with melted cheese, topped with Romesco sauce, of course. This dish could also be served as a fabulous appetizer.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 3/4 lbs ground turkey
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1/2 cup panko
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika
4 to 6 T finely chopped parsley, plus more coarsely chopped for serving
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 T plus 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup toasted almonds (I used toasted sliced almonds)
1 12 to 16-oz jar fire-roasted peppers in water, drained (I used Trader Joe’s)
2 to 4 small garlic cloves, crushed (I used a garlic press)
1 T red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
finely grated zest of half of a lemon
crusty bread, for serving, optional (I served it with a sourdough baguette)
Preheat oven to 425°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Using your hands, mix ground turkey, eggs, panko, cumin, onion powder, paprika, parsley, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl.
Working one at a time, use a 1 1/2-inch scoop out to ration out the mixture. (I had 28 meatballs.) Place on a plate.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium. (I used a large stainless steel “all-in-one” pan.)
Working in 2 batches, cook meatballs until golden brown all over, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer skillet with all of the meatballs to oven and bake until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, pulse almonds in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Pulse drained fire-roasted peppers, garlic, vinegar, and cayenne in food processor until almost smooth.
Transfer to bowl with almonds and stir in remaining 1/2 cup oil; season Romesco sauce with salt, to taste.
Spoon romesco sauce onto a platter or into shallow bowls; arrange meatballs on top.
Finely grate lemon zest over and scatter coarsely chopped parsley on top. Serve with crusty bread, as desired.
I first heard about this spectacularly easy viral pasta dish from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. I think I was the last to know… My daughter has seen countless people make it on TikTok, of course. 😉 She was absolutely thrilled to make it with me!
The original recipe is called “Uunifetapasta,” created by the Finnish blogger Jenni Häyrinen. The foundation of the dish is a block of feta placed in the center of a baking dish surrounded by seasoned tomatoes. After being baked, the cheese and burst tomatoes are combined to create a creamy and delicious sauce to serve over pasta. Deb Perelman incorporated chickpeas in her version- nice.
This version from the Washington Post, contributed by Aaron Hutcherson, recommended using Greek sheep’s milk feta to maximize the creaminess. I used an enameled cast iron baking pan, modified the proportions and incorporated za’atar to the seasoning on the tomatoes prior to baking. It was super creamy and tasty- and as simple and easy to prepare as expected.
Yield: Serves 6
3 pints (750 to 800 g) grape or cherry tomatoes
5 large garlic cloves, halved lengthwise
8 T (1/2 cup) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 block (10.5 oz) Greek feta cheese
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
za’atar, to taste, optional
17 to 18 oz medium-length dried pasta, such as campanile, rigatoni, or rotini (I used Gigli)
fresh basil leaves, for serving
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine the tomatoes, garlic and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. (I used an enameled cast iron baking pan.)
Sprinkle the tomatoes with some salt and toss to coat. Sprinkle with za’atar, if using.
Place the feta cheese in the center of the tomatoes and garlic, top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle the entire dish with red pepper flakes and a little black pepper.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the garlic has softened and the tomatoes have burst their skins.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir the feta and tomatoes with a wooden spoon until evenly combined. Taste and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
Mix the sauce with pasta, adding the reserved pasta water as needed if it looks a little dry. (I incorporated quite a bit of pasta water.)
I love yogurt-based marinades because the resulting meat is always juicy and tender. This dish not only had a yogurt marinade, it was made on a single sheet pan and had a bright and spicy “finishing condiment” as well. A winner. 🙂
The rimmed sheet pan did accumulate a lot of pan juices, but the chicken and cauliflower were still perfectly crispy on top. The cauliflower and chickpeas absorbed a lot of wonderful flavors from the pan drippings as well.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Kat Boytsova. I added chickpeas and served the roasted chicken, cauliflower, and beans over rice, drizzled with pan juices. We also had warm naan on the side. The lemony cilantro-onion-jalapeño finishing condiment was essential and absolutely delicious.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Chicken:
3″ piece ginger, peeled
2 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (or more) 2% Greek yogurt, for serving (can substitute whole-milk yogurt)
Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. (I set my oven to convection roast.) Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Finely grate 3″ piece ginger into a medium bowl. Transfer all but 1 teaspoon of the grated ginger to a large resealable plastic bag, reserving ginger in bowl for the finishing condiment. (I used a gallon-size bag.)
Add 2 cups whole-milk yogurt to bag with ginger.
Cut 1 lemon in half crosswise and squeeze juice from each half into the yogurt mixture.
Add cayenne and 2 T plus 1 tsp garam masala. Seal bag and shake to combine.
Season 8 chicken pieces with 5 tsp salt. (I placed the chicken on a plate, seasoned with half the salt, turned each piece over, and seasoned with the rest of the salt.)
Place chicken pieces in the marinade bag, seal, and shake again to cover all the pieces.
Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag, which makes sure that all the chicken is covered with the marinade. Let marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or keep in the fridge for up to 4 hours. (I marinated the chicken 3 hours in advance, letting it come closer to room temperature for 20 minutes or so before roasting.)
Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Lay out on a paper towel to dry thoroughly.
Cut 1 head of cauliflower into quarters through stem end. Place quarters cut side down and remove most of the core. The cauliflower florets should fall apart and separate naturally, but you can slice any larger florets in half or into quarters until all florets are about 2″ in size. You want the more or less evenly sized so they’re cook evenly.
Transfer cauliflower and beans to the prepared baking sheet.
Drizzle 3 T oil and 1 1/2 tsp salt over and toss to coat. Spread evenly all the way to edges of pan, making sure that the pieces aren’t too crowded, otherwise they’ll steam instead of roasting. (If you ended up with more cauliflower than can fit in a single layer, take some out and save it for something else.)
Remove chicken from marinade, slightly shaking off excess. Arrange on baking sheet skin side up, nestling into cauliflower. (It’s okay if some marinade clings to the chicken, just make sure it’s not pooling in pan.)
Roast chicken and cauliflower, turning pan halfway through and moving chicken around with tongs to ensure even browning, until chicken skin is blistered, meat is tender all the way to the bone, and cauliflower is nicely charred, 35–40 minutes. (The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees.) Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
To Make the Finishing Condiment and to Serve:
Chop the onion, place it in a colander, and rinse it with cold water. (This removes some of the onion’s sharpness.)
In the bowl of a food processor, finely chop the cilantro.
Add the onion to the food processor, finely chop.
Add onion and cilantro to the bowl with the reserved ginger (from step 2 above).
Finely grate zest of remaining lemon into the bowl. Cut lemon in half and squeeze 1 half into the bowl; reserve remaining half for another use.
Remove seeds and ribs from the jalapeño, if desired, finely chop. Alternatively, it can be thinly sliced into rings. Add to the bowl.
Season with remaining 2 tsp garam masala and 3/4 tsp salt.
Mix with a spoon to combine, taste, and add more salt and lemon juice if necessary.
Arrange chicken, beans, and cauliflower over rice, if desired, on individual plates or on a platter. Drizzle with pan juices, as desired.
Top with lemon condiment and serve with a dollop of yogurt or yogurt to pass at the table, as desired. (I served 2% Greek yogurt with the meal.)