This was a super quick and delicious skillet dinner that was absolutely packed with flavor. I loved the colorful and fresh tomato topping. We ate it with a green salad but it truly could have been a complete meal on its own.
This recipe was adapted from Half Baked Harvest, contributed by Tieghan Gerard. I used chicken thighs, dried oregano, and capers. I also modified the method and proportions. Next time, I may substitute 10-minute farro for the orzo. Great.
Yield: Serves 6
For the Chicken & Orzo:
4 T extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces (about 4 large)
1 T dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced (I used a yellow pepper)
2 cups dry orzo pasta
2 T capers, drained
For the Tomatoes & To Serve:
2 1/2 cups mixed heirloom grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
2 cloves garlic, grated or put through a garlic press
1-2 pinches/dashes red pepper flakes, to taste
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, for serving
In a large skillet, toss together the olive oil, chicken, oregano, paprika; season with salt and pepper. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.)
Cook over medium-high heat until the chicken is browned all over and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the balsamic vinegar and garlic, cook another minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the skillet.
Add the bell peppers to the drippings in the skillet. Cook until soft, 2-3 minutes.
Add the orzo and 2 1/2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until almost all the water is absorbed, about 5 to 10 minutes. Taste the pasta for doneness; add water and continue to cook until tender, if necessary. (I added 1/2 to 3/4 cup additional water after 5 minutes.)
Stir the chicken and capers into the orzo. Allow the chicken to warm through, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss the tomatoes with olive oil, basil, and garlic in a bowl. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
To serve, spoon the tomatoes over the chicken and gently toss. Top with feta cheese.
Preheat the oven to 400°. (I set my oven to convection.)
Fill a large pot with water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until 2 minutes less than al dente, according to the instructions on the package. (Since it will be baked later, don’t overcook it! Drain and pour into a very large bowl.)
Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12 to 14-inch) skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, add half of the cauliflower in one layer and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the florets are lightly browned and tender. Season with salt.
Pour the cauliflower, including the small bits, into the bowl with the pasta.
Add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan, add the remaining cauliflower, cook until browned and tender and add to the bowl.
Add the sage, capers, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper to the bowl and stir carefully.
Stir in the Fontina.
Transfer half of the mixture to a 10 x 13 x 2–inch rectangular baking dish.
Spoon 12 rounded tablespoons of ricotta on the pasta and spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top. (I used a cookie scoop.)
Combine the panko, grated Pecorino, minced parsley and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl and sprinkle it evenly on top.
Bake for 22 minutes on convection, or 25 to 30 minutes in a standard oven, until browned and crusty on top. Serve hot.
Note: The dish can be assembled ahead of time. Assemble the dish, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake before serving.
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.
This is another dish with a crispy and delicious parmesan topping. Cheese makes everything better. 🙂 I loved that the base of the dish was an arugula salad. The crunchy roasted almond topping provided a nice contrasting texture too.
I cut the head of cauliflower through the center into two steaks and roasted the additional florets in a formation as close to a plank as well, for presentation purposes. Next time, I may change the orientation of the cauliflower to keep the florets attached to the core.
This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I used French green lentils, added red pepper flakes, and modified the cooking and serving methods. It was a lovely, fresh and healthy light meal. We ate it for dinner, but it would also be wonderful served for a special lunch, of course. 🙂
Yield: Serves 4
3 cups of cored and chopped tomatoes, about 3 beefsteak tomatoes (I used 2 beefsteak and 3 romas)
2 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, plus 1 clove for cooking the lentils, if desired
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup (8 T) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and cut through the core into 1-inch planks
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (I used French green lentils)
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (3/4 cup)
1 bunch arugula, trimmed (I used about 4 oz wild baby arugula)
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
toasted almonds, chopped, for serving (I used sliced almonds)
Cook the lentils: Place 3/4 to 1 cup of dried lentils with a large smashed (but intact) garlic clove, optional, in a pot covered by 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil and season with salt. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender. (You will have leftover cooked lentils.)
Toast the almonds: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread almonds in an even layer on a rimmed quarter sheet pan. Toast the almonds, stirring once or twice, about 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove and set aside.
Increase the oven temperature to 475°F, with a rack placed in the center and another rack in top position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
In a bowl, toss together tomatoes, garlic, capers, large pinch of red pepper flakes, if using, and 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
Place cauliflower planks on a rimmed baking sheet.
Brush cauliflower evenly with 3 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast until undersides are golden, 12 to 13 minutes. Remove pan from the oven, flip the cauliflower and push to one side.
Add tomato mixture to other side of the pan.
Reduce the oven temperature to 450 degrees; roast 12 minutes more.
Stir 1 1/2 cups drained lentils into tomato mixture. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle everything with cheese.
Switch oven setting to broil, and broil on top rack until cheese has melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
Toss arugula with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
Serve the roasted cauliflower planks over lentils and arugula salad, sprinkled with toasted almonds.
After reading the printed version, I received multiple emails from The New York Times about this dish. Sam Sifton was over the moon about this recipe and the book, Toni Tipton-Martin’s Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking. He described the book as “excellent and invaluable” and noted that this was his favorite recipe in it. I had to try it.
I agreed with Sam Sifton. 🙂 Lemon-caper sauce is incredible! This wonderful dish was prepared very quickly and was packed with flavor. Tipton-Martin learned the sauce technique that elevates these smothered pork chops from restaurateur B. Smith.
I added additional flour to the sauce to make it more of a gravy. We used fresh bread to mop up all of the remaining sauce on our plates. I served the pork chops with sautéed spinach and roasted red and sweet potatoes on the side.
This recipe was adapted from Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African-American Cooking, via The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. I slightly modified the proportions.
Yield: Serves 4 to 5
4bone-in pork chops (about 8 ounces each) (I used 5 boneless pork chops)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2tsp dried thyme leaves
2 T olive oil
4 T unsalted butter, divided
1very small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
3garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
2 T all-purpose flour
1cup dry white wine
1 1/2cups chicken stock
2T drained capers
2 T minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
1tsp freshly grated lemon zest, plus 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
hot sauce, optional
Dry the chops with paper towels, and season aggressively with salt, pepper and the thyme.
Swirl the olive oil into a large skillet, and heat over medium until the oil begins to shimmer.
Add chops, and cook until well browned on each side and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate, and cover to keep warm.
Drain most of the fat from the skillet, then melt 2 tablespoons of butter in it over medium heat until sizzling.
Add the shallot and garlic, and sauté until the aromatics soften, reducing the heat if necessary, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle in the flour, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Whisk in the wine and chicken stock, raise heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half, 7 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the capers, parsley, lemon zest and juice and hot sauce to taste (if you’re using it)(I omitted it), and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until it’s melted and the sauce looks smooth.
Nestle the pork chops into the sauce, and allow them to warm up for a couple of minutes, then serve, pouring sauce over each pork chop to taste.
This raw zucchini salad was lovely. I loved the contrasting texture from the crunchy almond topping. The dressing was also wonderfully bright and flavorful.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Alexa Weibel. I used a mini food processor to quickly prepare the dressing. We ate this as a side with grilled chicken but it would also be perfect to serve as a light lunch.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1small to medium shallot
2 T capers, chopped, plus 2 teaspoons caper brine
zest of one lemon (about 1 tsp)
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3medium zucchini or summer squash (6 to 7 ounces each), or a combination
1/3cup shaved Pecorino-Romano cheese
1/4cup torn fresh basil, plus more for garnish, if desired
1/4cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish, if desired
1/3cup roasted salted almonds, chopped
In the bowl of a mini food processor, mince the shallot and garlic.
Add the oil, capers, caper brine, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pulse to combine.
Season with salt and pepper, pulse again. Set aside. (Alternatively, the dressing can be made in a small bowl.)
Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut each squash into 2-inch segments. Slice the segments lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slabs, then slice those slabs lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick batons. Add to a large bowl.
Just before serving, season the zucchini with salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Stir in the cheese, herbs and dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with the almonds. Garnish with additional herbs, if desired. Serve immediately.