Roasted Chicken with Avocado-Cilantro Sauce over Cumin Rice with Caramelized Onions

Ha! Milk Street Magazine published these two flavor-packed dishes on the same page so I served them together. We ate the chicken and rice with roasted cauliflower. Delicious. 🙂

The avocado-cilantro sauce was amazing and would compliment any meat or chicken. It was inspired by a standard accompaniment to grilled meats in Venezuela called guasacaca. The recipe was adapted from Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Courtney Hill.

The rice was inspired by an everyday dish in Pakistan and India called jeera (or zeera) rice. The recipe was adapted from Made in India by Meera Sodha, via Milk Street Magazine, contributed by Dimitri Demopolous. The original recipe notes that it is ideal for pairing with any roasted or grilled vegetables or meat as well as with curries or dal.

To prepare these dishes together, I began by making the rice dish. While the rice cooked and rested, I prepared the chicken and the sauce.

For the Chicken & Avocado-Cilantro Sauce:

Yield: Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 10) OR 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs OR breasts OR a combination, trimmed and patted dry
  • 4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed cilantro OR flat-leaf parsley, plus extra chopped, to serve
  • 1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 T white vinegar
  • optional garnish: Lime wedges OR crumbled queso fresco OR chopped pickled jalapeños OR a combination
  1. Heat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle position and another rack in the highest position. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. On a foil or parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet, toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then season with salt and pepper. (Using foil is a better choice if broiling the skinless meat after roasting.)
  3. If using skinless meat, arrange thighs “skin side down” and roast about 10 minutes. Flip over and roast an additional 5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and adjust oven to the broil setting.
  4. Place pan on the top rack and broil to finish browning the meat, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Meat should reach an internal temperature of 165. (Alternatively, if using skin-on, bone-in meat: Arrange skin side up and roast until the thickest part of the breast (if using) reaches about 160°F and the thickest part of the largest thigh (if using) reaches about 175°F, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.)
  5. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the avocados, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. (I used a Vitamix which made the sauce incredibly creamy.)
  6. Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour over any accumulated juices. (If serving with cumin rice, plate chicken over the rice and pour over any accumulated juices.)
  7. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro (or other optional garnishes listed above) and serve with the sauce.

For the Cumin Rice with Caramelized Onions:

Yield: Serves 6

  • 3 T ghee OR salted butter, cut into 3 pieces, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed and drained
  • chopped fresh cilantro, to serve, optional
  1. In a large saucepan over medium-high, melt the ghee. (I used a 4-quart stainless steel pot.)
  2. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally to start and more often once browning begins, until the onions are deeply caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes; reduce the heat if the onions brown very unevenly or too quickly.
  3. Meanwhile, rinse the rice. Drain and set aside.
  4. Add the cumin seeds and cardamom pods to the browned onions; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the rice, 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to low, cover and cook without stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid, 15 to 18 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
  7. Using a fork, fluff the rice; remove and discard the cardamom. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, serve sprinkled with cilantro.

Peruvian Stir-Fried Chicken & Noodles (TallarĂ­n Saltado)

This chicken and noodle stir-fry dish, tallarĂ­n saltado, is a classic Peruvian dish. According to Milk Street, simple stir-fry dishes like this are a staple of the Chinese-influenced cuisine known as chifa. Chifa cuisine combines South American and East Asian flavors and ingredients.

This recipe was adapted from Milk Street, contributed by Malcolm Jackson. Jackson uses balsamic vinegar in place of the more traditional red wine vinegar and substitutes a jalapeño or Fresno chile for the ají amarillo chile that would be used in Peru. The dish was fresh, fast and fabulous. We loved it!

We ate the stir-fry with roasted broccoli- a strange combination- but it was ultimately a nice compliment. 🙂

Yield: Serves 6

  • 12 ounces spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 T oyster sauce
  • 3 T light soy sauce
  • 3 T balsamic vinegar
  • 4 T grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 5), trimmed and cut into 3/4 strips
  • 1 large red onion, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 6-7 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 Fresno or jalapeño chile, stemmed, halved, and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime, plus wedges to serve
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Meanwhile, prep all remaining ingredients.
  2. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt to the boiling water; cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain. (I cooked my pasta for 5 minutes.)
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the oyster sauce, soy sauce and vinegar; set aside.
  4. In a 14-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. (I used a stainless steel skillet.)
  5. Add the chicken, onion, and garlic, distributing the ingredients evenly, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, without stirring, until the chicken is well browned on the bottom and releases easily from the pan, about 4 to 5 minutes. (See Tip)
  6. Add the oyster sauce mixture and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the sauce is syrupy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Add the bell pepper and chile; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and cook, tossing constantly, until the noodles are al dente, 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Off heat, stir in the lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Place half of the stir-fry in a serving bowl and sprinkle with half of the cilantro. Repeat with the remaining stir-fry and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges on the side, as desired.

Tip: Don’t stir the chicken too soon after adding it to the skillet. Left undisturbed, it forms a fond, or browned bits that stick to the skillet. The dish’s flavor develops when the oyster sauce mixture deglazes that fond. After adding the pasta water, stir vigorously; this helps the sauce come together.

Creamy Chimichurri Roast Chicken

I love an amazing sauce. In this dish, the creamy and velvety yogurt-herb sauce is used as both the marinade and the condiment served with the finished meal. Yogurt-based marinades always result in such tender meat- delicious!

This recipe was adapted from the Bon AppĂ©tit “healthyish” issue, contributed by Shilpa Uskokovic. The original recipe also suggests serving the sauce with meatballs, zucchini fritters, roasted mushrooms, or turkey burgers.

I served the chicken with roasted potatoes and broccoli- which were also both delicious drizzled with the creamy chimichurri sauce.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

For the Marinade & Sauce:

  • 9 large garlic cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 2 cups (packed) parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 4 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp Diamond Crystal or 2 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz (1 cup) plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

For the Chicken & To Assemble:

  • 1 4-pound whole chicken, backbone removed, patted dry
  • 2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
  • roasted broccoli and potatoes, for serving, optional

To Make the Sauce:

  1. Pulse garlic cloves, cilantro, parsley, red wine vinegar, salt, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil in a food processor until combined and herbs are very finely chopped but not puréed.
  2. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and add the Greek yogurt and remaining 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Whisk vigorously until emulsified (makes about 2 1/2 cups).

Do ahead: Sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Whisk just before using.

To Make the Chicken & To Assemble:

  1. Place the chicken, backbone removed, patted dry, breast side up, on a cutting board; open up against surface as much as possible. Using your palms, press firmly on breastbone to flatten breast (you may hear a crack).
  2. Transfer chicken to a large bowl and rub all over with salt and 3/4 cup yogurt-herb sauce.
  3. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and, preferably, up to 12 hours (no need to bring to room temperature before roasting).
  4. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  5. Transfer chicken to a wire rack set inside a large parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet; spread any marinade left in large bowl over skin.
  6. Roast chicken, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until skin is deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh registers 165°, 50–60 minutes. (I used the oven probe and then confirmed the internal temperature with a separate thermometer.) (I roasted the potatoes in the same oven.)
  7. Let rest 10 minutes. (This is a good time to roast additional vegetables.) Cut into pieces and transfer chicken to a platter.
  8. If it has separated, whisk remaining sauce in medium bowl; drizzle chicken with sauce and serve remaining sauce at the table.

Warm Seven-Layer Skillet Dip

I planned our Super Bowl menu around this dip. Thankfully, it was very well received! I served it in the skillet and we scooped it out onto individual plates to gobble up with tortilla chips. Some chips may have also been dipped directly into the pan. 😉

The recipe was adapted from a Bon AppĂ©tit “healthyish” recipe, contributed by Shilpa Uskokovic. The original recipe convinced me to use American cheese slices in the queso layer to help it emulsify and to keep the cheese layer from solidifying.

We ate it as our Super Bowl appetizer followed by Poblano, Black Bean & Cheese Enchiladas with rice and refried beans, Trader Joe’s Elote chopped salad, followed by Churro Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting for dessert. Great.

Yield: 8 Servings

For the Beans:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (I used a food processor)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used a food processor)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, finely chopped (I used a food processor)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 T Diamond Crystal or 1 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar

For the Queso & Assembly:

  • 2 tsp adobo from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Diamond Crystal or Morton kosher salt, plus more
  • 4 oz yellow American cheese, coarsely grated or chopped or torn if using singles (about 1 cup) (I used 6 Trader Joe’s singles)
  • 3 oz Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese, coarsely grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • freshly squeezed juice from half a lime
  • 1/4 cup (4 T) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup good-quality salsa, drained if watery (I used Trader Joe’s Garlic Chipotle salsa)
  • 1 (4 oz) can fire-roasted, diced green chilies or 1/4 cup sliced pickled jalapeños
  • 4 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup (packed) coarsely chopped cilantro
  • tortilla chips, for serving

To Make the Beans:

  1. Melt the butter, cut into pieces, in a medium deep skillet over medium heat. (I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet.)
  2. Add the chopped onion, stirring often, until tender and translucent, about 8 minutes. Monitor the heaat, and continue to cook, stirring often, until onion is pale golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  3. With the pan over medium heat, and add the chopped garlic cloves and cumin. Cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add chopped chipotle chiles, pinto beans, rinsed, and salt. Pour in 1 cup water and bring to a simmer, mashing beans with a potato masher until mostly smooth.
  5. Cook, stirring often, until most of liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. (Beans should be risotto-like in consistency, loose enough to fall off a spoon.)
  6. Remove from heat and stir in apple cider vinegar. Cover and keep warm.

To Make the Queso & To Assemble the Dip:

  1. Whisk adobo, cumin, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped/grated American cheese and cook, whisking vigorously, just until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Remove from heat and add grated Monterey Jack; whisk until cheese is melted and queso is smooth (return to low heat briefly if needed). (I cooked it over low for about 2 minutes to melt the additional cheese.)
  4. Using your hands to avoid bruising, toss the avocados pieces with lime juice and a large pinch of salt in a medium bowl.
  5. Uncover beans and pour queso over.
  6. Top with dollops of sour cream, followed by salsa, diced chilies, and then avocados.
  7. Scatter sliced scallions and chopped cilantro over the top.
  8. Serve dip warm in skillet with tortilla chips.

Do ahead: Beans can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat over medium-low, thinning with water and seasoning with salt as needed.

One-Pot Sticky Coconut Chicken & Rice

I have a couple more chicken and rice dishes to share. 🙂

This wonderful one-pot dish was included in The New York Times’ Best Recipes of 2022. I was surprised that I missed it when it was first published!

The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Kay Chun. I modified the proportions. I cooked it in a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven. Although it cooked perfectly, I may use a shallow and wide pan next time to be able to serve it directly from the pan at the table. We ate it with roasted cauliflower on the side.

Flavorful and fabulous comfort food! Easy to prepare too. The hot sauce garnish balances the richness of the finished dish.

Yield: Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each thigh cut into 2 equal-size pieces, patted dry
  • 5 T neutral oil, such as safflower or canola, divided
  • 3 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt)
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T minced fresh ginger
  • 7 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (or other short-grain white rice), rinsed until water runs clear
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  • 4 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 T coarsely chopped cilantro
  • hot sauce, for serving, optional
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. (I set my oven to true convection.)
  2. Rub chicken with 2 tablespoons of oil, and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  3. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium. Working in two batches, brown chicken, turning halfway, until no longer pink, around 5 minutes on the first side and an additional 3 minutes after flipping. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the ginger and the garlic to the empty pot, and stir until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  5. Add rinsed rice and stir until evenly coated in the oil.
  6. Add stock, coconut milk, bell pepper, cashews, scallions and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir to lift up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. (I had a lot of browned bits!)
  7. Arrange chicken on top, add any accumulated juices from the plate and bring to a boil over high.
  8. Cover and bake until all of the liquid is absorbed, rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, 25 minutes.
  9. Scatter cilantro over the chicken and rice, then divide among bowls. Serve with hot sauce, as desired.

Thai Roast Chicken Thighs with Cabbage & Coconut Rice

Yes, it’s true… My husband and I could eat some sort of chicken and rice dish on a daily basis. This version was amazing!

This recipe was inspired by the rotisserie chicken from the now closed Uncle Boons in NYC where the chicken was roasted on rotating spits with heads of cabbage to catch all of the juices. The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Diana Yen. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of skin-on and bone-in.

I was able to incorporate my CSA cabbage in the dish- it was the impetus behind selecting the recipe. In this version, cabbage is used to line the skillet, allowing it to absorb all of the seasonings and pan drippings. I will definitely add this dish to my arsenal of favorite cabbage recipes to make in the future.

We ate the chicken and rice with roasted beets, kohlrabi, carrots, and fennel from my CSA share. I garnished the finished dish with CSA cilantro and served sautĂ©ed broccolini from my share on the side as well. A feast and a true celebration of my CSA box! 🙂

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1″ piece ginger, peeled with a spoon, finely grated, plus 3 peeled slices, divided
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar or (packed) light brown sugar
  • 4 T fish sauce
  • 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk, divided
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 medium head of green cabbage, stem trimmed, sliced into 1″-thick wedges
  • 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 cup white jasmine or Basmati rice, rinsed until water runs clear
  • cilantro leaves with tender stems and lime wedges, for serving
  1. Whisk lime zest and juice, grated ginger, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 T oil, 2 tsp pepper in a large bowl to combine.
  2. Set 1/4 cup marinade aside for serving.
  3. Place chicken in remaining marinade and toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  5. Generously brush cabbage wedges on both sides with oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange, a cut side down, in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
  6. Remove chicken from marinade and set, “skin side up,” on top of cabbage; season with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes.
  7. Increase oven temperature to 450° and continue to roast, rotating pan halfway through, until chicken thighs are browned and crispy, 7 to 10 minutes more, or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
  8. While the chicken is roasting, bring rinsed rice, ginger slices, remaining 1 cup coconut milk, remaining 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 15–20 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Fish out and discard ginger slices. Re-cover pan and let rice sit until ready to serve.
  9. Arrange chicken on a platter; drizzle with reserved marinade and top with cilantro leaves. Serve with coconut rice and lime wedges for squeezing over. (I served the chicken on individual plates over the coconut rice.)

Raw Zucchini & Chickpea Salad with Tahini Yogurt

I loved everything about this beautiful salad. We ate it with Turkish Grilled Chicken– such a wonderful meal. It was one of the best zucchini dishes I’ve ever made.

This recipe was adapted from Milk Street, contributed by Elizabeth Mindreau. It was re-created from a salad served at Coal Office, a modern Middle Eastern restaurant in London.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • about 3/4 to 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 T tahini
  • zest from 1 large lemon, plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp plus 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 15 1/2 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp za’atar
  • 2 small/medium zucchini (12 to 16 ounces total), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced on a steep diagonal
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
  • ground sumac, to serve, optional
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest and juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, stir together the chickpeas, shallot, vinegar and za’atar. Cover and microwave until the shallot is wilted, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (see Tip)
  3. When the chickpeas have cooled, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the zucchini, mint, dill and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer the chickpea-zucchini mixture to a platter, spooning it around the edge.
  5. Scoop the yogurt mixture into a mound in the center of the chickpea-zucchini mixture.
  6. Drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with sumac, if using.

Tip: Don’t forget to cover the bowl containing the chickpeas and shallots when microwaving. Covering traps steam that helps wilt the shallots and soften the chickpeas. And remember to occasionally stir the chickpea-shallot mixture as it cools. This helps ensure the chickpeas evenly absorb the seasonings pooled at the bottom of the bowl while also hastening the cooling.

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