Baked chicken and rice dishes are an absolute favorite in my house, so I was immediately drawn to this dish adapted from Diana Henry’s From the Oven to the Table: Simple Dishes that Look After Themselves, contributed to The New York Times by Margaux Laskey.
This Mexican-inspired dish was incredibly flavorful. I loved serving it with all of the garnishes as well. We ate it with sautéed greens on the side. Fabulous!
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
8 to 10 (5 pounds) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2T extra-virgin olive oil or peanut oil
1large yellow, Vidalia or white onion, chopped
2green or red bell peppers, halved, seeded and sliced (I used my CSA long green peppers)
2 ½cups chicken stock
2red Fresno chiles or jalapeños, halved, seeded and chopped, plus one sliced chile for garnish
1(3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken in half
6garlic cloves, finely minced or grated
1tsp ground cumin
1(15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
6 oz grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1cup white Basmati rice, rinsed in a sieve until the water runs clear
3 T chopped cilantro leaves
Lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and sliced avocado, for serving, as desired
Heat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet (the pan size is very important) over medium-high. (I used an enameled cast iron pan.)
In two batches, brown the chicken on both sides to give it good color, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
Add the onion and bell peppers to the pan and sauté until just starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil.
Meanwhile, add the chiles, cinnamon, garlic and cumin to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the black beans and cherry tomatoes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the rice on top in an even layer. (It’s important that the black beans are beneath the rice and chicken. The rice will burn otherwise.)
Add the stock and return the chicken to the pan, skin-side up.
Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. The chicken should be lovely and golden, the stock should be absorbed and the rice should be tender.
Sprinkle with the cilantro.
Serve with lime wedges, pickled chiles, sliced fresh chiles, sour cream and avocado (squeeze some lime juice over the avocados in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper), as desired.
I have made this wonderfully cheesy dish a couple of times already- just to get the proportions right. I knew that I had to increase the amount of simple and flavorful sauce after making it the first time.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I lightened the dish by baking the cauliflower after coating it instead of frying it. We ate it over linguini fini with sautéed broccoli rabe on the side. Wonderful!
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the Simple Tomato Sauce:
6 T extra-virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red Chile flakes, optional
3 (28-ounce) cans whole or diced plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
3 sprigs basil or 1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Parmesan rind, optional
In a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. (I used an enameled cast iron pot with a glass lid.)
Add garlic and cook until just lightly golden.
Add chile flakes if desired and cook 30 seconds.
Stir in tomatoes and juices, basil or bay leaf, and salt and pepper.
Bring sauce to a simmer, add the Parmesan rind, if using, and cook until sauce is thick and tomatoes have mostly fallen apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to keep at a steady simmer. If using whole plum tomatoes, mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to help them break down.
Remove sauce from heat and discard basil or bay leaf.
For the Cauliflower & To Finish the Dish:
3/4cup all-purpose flour
4large eggs, lightly beaten
3cups panko or plain unseasoned bread crumbs
Kosher salt, as needed
freshly ground black pepper, as needed
1 large or 2 small/medium heads cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2-inch florets (I used 1 small and 1 medium)
Ina Garten uses the genius idea of roasting all of the vegetables in this lasagna filling, as well as using no-boil lasagna noodles, to remove the excess liquid that often makes a vegetable lasagna too watery. Perfect comfort food.
This recipe was adapted from Make It Ahead: a Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten, via The Kitchn, contributed by Emma Christensen. I used a mandoline to slice the eggplant and zucchini. I also increased the garlic and goat cheese, modified the technique, and used the noodles without pre-soaking them.
It was very cheesy and indulgent so we gobbled it up with a giant green salad. 😉
Yield: Serves 10
1 1/2 pounds eggplant (1 medium/large), unpeeled, sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick using a mandoline
3/4 pound zucchini (2 medium/large), unpeeled, sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick using a mandoline
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 T dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
12-14 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles (I used Trader Joe’s)
16 ounces fresh whole-milk ricotta
10 ounces creamy garlic-and-herb goat cheese, at room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 1/2 cups, 40 oz, bottled marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Italian Marinara with Barolo Wine)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, very thinly sliced (I used pre-sliced and cut them in half)
Preheat the oven to 375°F preferably on convection roast.
Arrange the eggplant and zucchini in single layers on 3 sheet pans lined with parchment paper. (I had 1 2/3 trays of eggplant and 1 1/3 trays of zucchini.)
Brush them generously with the olive oil on both sides, using all of the oil.
Sprinkle with the oregano (I crush it in my hands), 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.
Roast for 25 minutes, rotating after 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the garlic evenly over the vegetables, and roast for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through.
Remove all 3 trays from the oven and lower the temperature to 350°F, preferably on convection.
Combine the ricotta, goat cheese, eggs, basil, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed.
Spread 1 cup of the marinara in a 9×13×2-inch baking dish.
Arrange a third of the vegetables on top, then a layer of the noodles (6 noodles per layer), a third of the mozzarella (9 1/2 pieces per layer), and a third of the ricotta mixture in large dollops between the mozzarella.
Repeat twice, starting with the marinara.
Spread the last 1 1/2 cups of marinara on top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
Place the dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake an additional 30-35 minutes, until the lasagna is browned and bubbly.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve hot.
Make-Ahead: Assemble the lasagna completely and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost (if necessary) and bake before dinner.
I am in love with kabocha squash- it is just so creamy and sweet. This dish may be the ultimate autumn casserole. It was a little bit involved to prepare but the results were worth every minute.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I slightly modified the proportions and method. Fabulous!
4 to 6 servings
1 small to medium kabocha squash
7 large garlic cloves
3 6-inch-long rosemary sprigs
½ cup heavy cream
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch Tuscan kale (I used a 10 oz bag), ribs removed and torn into 1-2″ pieces (about 8 cups)
2 medium shallots
1 pound fresh pork sausage, such as sweet Italian (about 4 links)
2 cups crumbled cornbread, from a 6×4 inch piece
2 T unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
Bake cornbread. (I used Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix.) Set aside to cool.
Position a rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°, preferably on convection.
Cut off stem end of kabocha squash and rest on cut side. Cut squash in half. Scoop out seeds and stringy innards with a spoon; discard. Cut squash into 1″-thick slices. Using your knife, slice off the tough peel and layer of light green flesh beneath.
Smash the garlic cloves with the side of the knife and remove peel.
Combine squash, garlic, rosemary sprigs, heavy cream, and ¼ cup water in a medium saucepan. Season generously with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer until squash is tender and easily mashes when pressed with the back of a spoon, 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, grasp stem end of each kale leaf. Starting at stem, slide your other hand along length of leaf to strip leaves. Repeat with entire bunch; discard stems. Tear leaves into 1″–2″ pieces (you should have about 8 cups).
Peel 2 shallots and thinly slice crosswise.
Use the tip of your knife to prick the sausages all over in several places.
Crumble cornbread into coarse crumbs (you should have about 2 cups).
When squash is tender, remove saucepan from heat. Uncover and pluck out rosemary sprigs, leaving leaves inside pot. Transfer entire mixture to a medium bowl (reserve saucepan) and mash with the back of a spoon or a potato masher until no distinct pieces of squash remain. Season with salt and pepper.
Wipe out pot with paper towels and heat over medium. Add butter and heat until melted. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add kale to the pot, a couple of handfuls at a time, stirring to wilt between each batch, and cook until leaves are dark green and wilted, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to kale to the bowl with squash, then fold to incorporate.
Heat the olive oil in the same saucepan over medium and add sausage. Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides (they won’t be cooked through), about 6 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and let cool for a few minutes (reserve saucepan again and do not pour out fat from sausages–you’re going to use it one more time).
Meanwhile, using a rubber spatula, scrape squash and kale mixture into a shallow 2-qt. baking dish and smooth top. (I coated the baking dish with cooking oil spray.)
Cut sausages crosswise into 2″ pieces and nestle into top of squash mixture, spacing evenly.
Heat the drippings remaining in the saucepan over medium and add cornbread crumbs. Cook, stirring, just until crumbs are evenly coated in fat. Scatter cornbread crumbs over squash mixture; season with more salt and pepper.
Bake gratin until crumbs are toasty and brown and sausages are cooked through (you can insert an instant-read thermometer into center of sausage to check if registers 140°, or just cut into one with a knife), about 15 minutes.
This dish could or should be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen called the dish “pizza beans” to make it more appealing to her kids- so I did the same. 😉 She also had the genius suggestion of serving it with garlic bread, giving it even more appeal. Perelman described it as “a mash-up of a giant-beans-in-tomato-sauce dish from Greece and American-style baked ziti, with beans instead of noodles.” Heaven!
My husband and I enjoyed this dish very much. We are already big fans of Greek Gigante beans, by the way. 🙂 With the name “pizza beans,” my kids were expecting pizza, but the flavors in the dish were more like minestrone soup. It may have been more well-received if I had simply called it by the original title, Tomato & Gigante Bean Bake. 😉
This dish would also be wonderful as a cold-weather comfort food casserole. The recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman, via smitten kitchen.com. I used a pressure cooker to cook the dried beans, incorporated the pressure cooker bean liquid as well as beet greens, and increased the amount of garlic. I plan to make it again in the winter and give it a different title. I’m sure it will be more well-received. It will be served with garlic bread, of course.
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
1 large or 2 regular carrots, diced
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
To use a Pressure Cooker to “Soak” the Beans: Place 12 cups of water, 3 tsp of coarse salt and the dried beans in a pressure cooker. Raise to high pressure (2nd ring) for 2 minutes. Release pressure using the natural (water) method. Drain the beans.
Cook the Beans in a Pressure Cooker: Place the drained beans with 9 cups of fresh water in the pressure cooker. Drizzle with vegetable oil. Cook on low (1st ring) for 3 minutes. Release pressure using the natural (water) method. Drain the beans reserving the bean liquid.
Heat the oven to 475 degrees, preferably on convection.
In a 2 1/2-to-3-quart (ideally oven-safe) deep sauté pan, braiser, or shallow Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Season well with salt and black or red pepper. Cook, sautéing, until the vegetables brown lightly, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the wine, if using, to scrape up any stuck bits, then simmer until it disappears, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the kale/greens, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until collapsed, then add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
Add the beans, and, if the mixture looks too dry or thick (canned tomatoes range quite a bit in juiciness), add up to 3/4 cup broth/bean liquid, 1/4 cup at a time.
Simmer the mixture together over medium for about 10 minutes, adjusting the seasonings as needed.
If your pan isn’t ovenproof, transfer the mixture to a 3-quart baking dish.
Sprinkle the beans first with the mozzarella, then the Parmesan, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned on top. If you’re impatient and want a deeper color, you can run it under the broiler.
Finish with parsley, if desired. Serve with garlic bread.
I have another wonderful Indian dish to share. I first spotted this mouth-watering dish on Safari of the Mind– the site of my like-minded blog friend, Loretta. I had to make it. 🙂
I doubled the amount of chicken in the original recipe -thinking it would be the highlight- but I was obsessed with the rice! I didn’t cut the chicken into pieces, but may opt to next time. I used 1 tablespoon of prepared Garam Masala powder but included the ingredients to prepare it below- I do think it would be even more delicious if it was prepared with the fresh spice blend. I also omitted the water in the marinade and the mint in the tempering. I baked the biryani rather than cooking it on the stove.
1/2 large yellow onion, very finely chopped (about 150 grams)
5 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped (about 1 T)
2-inch piece ginger root, very finely chopped (about 2 T)
4 to 8 green chillies, fresh, chopped, de-seeded and minced, to taste (I used jalapeños)
2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, from 1 large lime
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tsp coarse salt, or to taste
8 to 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 in pieces, if desired
For the Masala Powder:
1 piece cinnamon, 1 inch
4 green cardamom pods
6 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds
For the Rice:
2 cups basmati rice, or any other long-grain rice
6 green cardamom pods
1 piece cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
4 tsp plus 1 T ghee, divided
2 T vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
3 large yellow onions, sliced
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, soaked in 1/4 cup warm milk for 30 minutes
14 fresh mint leaves, for garnish, as desired
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish, as desired
1 tablespoon slivered almonds, blanched and toasted
Place yogurt in a large bowl and whisk, using a fork until smooth. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and chilies to a bowl and combine with yogurt, turmeric, lime juice, coriander leaves and salt.
Place masala powder ingredients in an electric grinder and process to a fine powder. Add to yogurt mixture.
Add chicken and massage with your hands for the marinade to coat and penetrate the chicken. Marinate, covered for 2 to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
Wash rice at least 3 times until the water runs clear. Soak rice in water to cover by at least 1 inch for 15 minutes. Drain.
Place a large pan on high heat and pour in 2 liters (8 cups) water. (I used a 4 quart pan.) Bring to a boil and then add drained rice, stirring gently. Toss in cloves, green cardamom pods, cinnamon, bay leaf and salt. Stir to mix, then cover with a lid. Simmer for 5 minutes on low heat or until half-cooked. Drain the rice. Set aside and allow to cool.
Heat 4 teaspoons ghee and tablespoons oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions till caramelized and crisp. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (200 degrees C)
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil onto the bottom of a heavy saucepan and place the marinated chicken at the bottom, spreading it out in one layer. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
Spoon half the rice in a layer over the chicken. Drizzle 2 tablespoons saffron milk, 1/2 tablespoon ghee, and 1/2 tablespoon coriander leaves over the layered rice. Top with 1/2 the onions.
Repeat one more layer with the remaining rice, saffron milk, ghee, coriander leaves, and onions.
Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and then with a fitted lid.
Place biryani in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes, or until chicken is 165 degrees. Remove from the oven. Let the biryani rest, covered for 10 minutes. (Because the chicken pieces were whole, I baked it for 45 minutes.)
Remove lid and foil, and garnish with mint and/or cilantro leaves and slivered almonds, as desired. Serve hot.
I was immediately drawn to the photo of this dish when I first spotted it in Bon Appétit magazine because it looked incredibly saucy. Maybe my expectations were too high regarding the amount of sauce, but next time I may even make 1.5 times the amount. It’s all about the sauce! 🙂
This classic marinara sauce was described as “the little black dress of Italian-American cooking.” This version, as well as the stuffed shells recipe, is from Palizzi Social Club in Philadelphia, PA, via Bon Appétit. The magazine rated it one of the Best New Restaurants in America in 2017 (#4). Quite an endorsement!
Yield: 8 servings
For the Classic Marinara Sauce:
¼ cup olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 sprigs basil
2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (I used San Marzano tomatoes)
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a medium heavy pot over medium. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 8–10 minutes.
Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 5 minutes; stir in basil.
Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you go; season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat; simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick, about 1 hour.
Season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
Note: Sauce can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill, or freeze up to 3 months.
To Complete the Dish:
12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2 cups whole-milk fresh ricotta
3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving
dried oregano and olive oil, for serving, as desired
Preheat oven to 375°, preferably on convection.
Cook shells in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente; drain. (I cooked mine for 9 minutes.) Run under cold water to stop the cooking and drain again. Place noodles on a rimmed baking sheet.
Lightly whisk egg yolks and egg in a large bowl.
Stir in ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, and 1½ cups mozzarella; season with salt and pepper.
Transfer filling to a large resealable plastic bag.
Spread 1½ cups marinara sauce in a 13×9″ baking dish.
Snip off 1 end of plastic bag and, working one at a time, squeeze filling into shells. I returned them to the rimmed baking sheet to make sure the filling was evenly distributed before placing the shells into the baking dish.
Arranging the filled shells in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.
Top with remaining 1½ cups marinara sauce and remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
Cover pan tightly with foil and bake shells until sauce is bubbling throughout, 35–40 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes.
Carefully move rack to top of oven and heat broiler.
Uncover pasta and broil until lightly browned on top, about 2 minutes.
Sprinkle with oregano and more Parmesan and drizzle with oil, if desired.
Note: Pasta can be baked 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat, covered, at 375°.