Chicken Biryani

I am a list person. I have lists all over my house… things to do, things to cook, etc. I love a good list. (I especially love crossing items off of these lists!) This simple version of this typically complex dish was part of Bon Appétit’s list of the Most Popular Chicken Dishes of 2019. Bon Appétit loves lists too. 🙂

This dish is all about the rice, and I had some special Basmati rice given to me by a friend just waiting for an occasion to shine. Perfect. I loved the layers of flavor and different textures in the finished dish. It is loaded with spices, nuts, dried fruit, and topped with caramelized onions.

The raita and the chicken (in marinade) are prepared a day in advance. This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sohla El-Waylly. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of bone-in and modified the proportions. The creamy raita is essential to the finished dish. We also ate it with roasted cauliflower on the side. It was buttery, rich and delicious.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Onion Raita and Chicken Marinade:

  • 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • 1½ cups whole-milk yogurt, divided (I used whole-milk Greek yogurt)
  • 3 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 4″ piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cardamon
  • 10 boneless, skinless, chicken things or 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 dried bay leaves

For the Rice and Assembly:

  • ¾ cup kosher salt
  • 2 cups Basmati rice, preferably aged, such as Daawat (I used Aahu Barah)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup melted ghee
  • ½ cup mixed coarsely chopped nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, and/or walnuts
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup mixed dried fruit, such as prunes, apricots, pineapple, and/or cranberries (I used chopped dried mango and dried cranberries)

To Make the Onion Raita:

  1. Finely grate the zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tsp) into a small bowl.
  2. Squeeze in juice from one half of the lemon.
  3. Add sugar, 1 cup yogurt, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper.
  4. Finely chop one-quarter of the onion and stir into raita.
  5. Let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour or chill up to overnight.

To Marinate the Chicken:

  1. Purée ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, juice of remaining lemon half, and remaining three-quarters of onion, ½ cup yogurt, 2 tsp. salt, and ¾ tsp. pepper in a blender until smooth. (I used a Vitamix.) Transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. If using bone-in chicken thighs, pull skin off chicken thighs and discard.
  3. Transfer the chicken to the bowl with ginger mixture, add bay leaves, and toss to combine.
  4. Cover with a plate and let marinate at room temperature at least 2 hours or preferably chill up to overnight.

To Make the Rice and Assemble the Dish:

  1. Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350°, preferably on convection.
  2. Bring salt and 3 quarts of water to a rapid boil in a large pot over high heat.
  3. Meanwhile, place rice in a medium bowl. Cover with cool tap water, use your hand to gently agitate the grains, and drain. Repeat at least 2 more times until water runs clear enough to see your hand through it.
  4. Add drained rice all at once to boiling salted water. Initially the water will stop boiling and the rice will sink to the bottom. Stir a few times with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking, then stop stirring. After a couple of minutes, the water will return to a simmer and a few grains will begin appearing near the surface. The rice is ready to drain when the grains have nearly doubled in size, the water returns to a boil, and most of the rice rapidly bubbles to the surface. When you bite into a grain, you want to see a hard white core; just like pasta cooked al dente, the grains should remain firm. Depending on the quality of your rice, this can take anywhere from 3–7 minutes, so begin tasting the grains early. (I boiled my rice for 7 minutes.)
  5. Drain rice and rinse with water until cool. Set aside.
  6. Cook onion and ghee in a 4–6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until onions are golden and crisp, 8–10 minutes. The sides and bottom of pot may brown and even develop some char. Using a slotted spoon, transfer onions to a plate. (I used a 6-quart enameled cast iron pot.)
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low and toast nuts in ghee in same pot, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and darkened in color, 2–3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer nuts to another plate; set aside for serving. (I used raw slivered almonds and raw walnut pieces.)
  8. Transfer half of ghee in pot to a small bowl; set aside.
  9. Increase heat to medium-high and sprinkle sugar over remaining ghee in pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until sugar forms deeply caramelized clumps, 3–5 minutes.
  10. Add chicken, scraping in marinade, and bring to a simmer.
  11. Remove from heat and arrange chicken and marinade in an even layer.
  12. Sprinkle with dried fruit and one-third of fried onions.
  13. Top with rice.
  14. Poke 5–7 holes into rice with the back of a wooden spoon until you reach the chicken. Drizzle reserved ghee over and top with another third of fried onions.
  15. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and return to medium heat. Cook until you can hear the chicken gurgling in the pot and wisps of steam just begin to escape from lid, about 5 minutes. Do not open the lid at any point! If you peek, you will risk losing too much steam, preventing the rice from properly cooking through.
  16. Transfer pot to oven and bake, covered, 45 minutes. Let rest at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour before uncovering.
  17. Using a large spoon or small plate, gently scoop rice off chicken and transfer to a platter. Carefully spoon chicken thighs and any sauce over rice. Top with reserved fried nuts and remaining onions.
  18. Serve alongside onion raita while ghee is still hot and rice is steamy.

Zucchini Bread

As if my CSA zucchini wasn’t enough, my friend brought me more beautiful zucchini from her garden. I made four loaves of this bread (two batches) with a single zucchini! Amazing.

This recipe was adapted from Smitten Kitchen. I incorporated whole wheat flour. As suggested, I used less sugar and also omitted the add-ins. We ate some, shared some, and froze some for later. This loaf improves with time- perfect to make the night before serving it for breakfast. I imagine it would also be delicious lightly toasted and topped with butter.

Yield: 2 loaves or 24 muffins

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil (can also used olive oil or another vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (can also used half (or even all) turbinado or half light brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 cups grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out (from about 10 oz zucchini)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • 1 to 2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or chocolate chips (or a combination), optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Generously grease 2 loaf pans (8×4 or 9×5) with butter and flour or with nonstick spray. Alternatively, grease 24 standard muffin cups or line with paper liners.
  3. Whisk eggs, oil, butter, sugar, and vanilla in the bottom of a large bowl.
  4. Sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt over the wet ingredients and whisk them in well.
  5. Stir in zucchini.
  6. Gently stir in flours, mixing only until incorporated.
  7. Fold in any add-ins, if using.
  8. Divide between prepared pans and bake for 55 to 65 minutes for a loaf, 20 to 25 minutes for muffins, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes on a rack before inverting and removing from the pans. The loaves can also cool completely in pans.
  10. Store wrapped in foil at room temperature for up to 5 days. Loaves also freeze well.

Pear & Cranberry Pie

Hello, and Happy belated New Year! I hope that someone out there has not felt the need to modify their diet as I have quite a few recipes to share from festivities at end of 2016. 🙂 My kids have winter birthdays so we are still celebrating in my house!

This delicious pie was from our Thanksgiving feast. The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Justin Chapple. It was originally a slab pie but I modified the recipe to bake it in a “new” estate sale pie plate that had to be used. It was absolutely wonderful with vanilla ice cream.

Yield: one 10-inch double-crusted pie

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • coarse salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 5 firm Bartlett or Anjou pears peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
  • vanilla ice cream, for serving
  1. Day ahead: Freeze cleaned, fresh cranberries in a single layer on a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet.
  2. Make the Crust Dough: In a food processor, combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour with 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and pulse to mix.
  3. Add the butter and pulse in 1-second bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Drizzle the ice water over the mixture and pulse in 1-second bursts until the dough just comes together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather any crumbs and pat into 2 rounds. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 45 minutes. (This can also be done a day in advance.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection.
  7. On a floured work surface or between sheets of plastic wrap, roll out 1 piece of the dough to a 13-inch round. Remove one side of plastic wrap and line the bottom of a 10-inch pie dish with the crust.
  8. Roll the second piece of dough into a 12-inch round; keep between sheets of plastic wrap. Place second crust on a cookie sheet.
  9. Refrigerate both crusts for 15 to 45 minutes.
  10. In a large bowl, toss the pears with the cranberries, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of flour. Spread the fruit evenly in the dough-lined pie dish.
  11. Cut the chilled, 12-inch round pie crust dough into strips to weave into a lattice. Form a lattice over the pie filling.
  12. Fold under the edge and crimp decoratively all around to seal.
  13. Freeze for 15 to 30 minutes.
  14. Brush the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  15. Cover the edge of the pie with a crust shield. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425 degrees and then lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake about 45 to 60 minutes, or until filling is bubbling, crust is golden, and the pears are tender; rotate halfway through baking. Let cool.
  16. Serve with vanilla ice cream, as desired.

Note: The pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Whole Wheat-Bartlett Pear Crumb Cake

This cake was nutty, earthy, and really really moist. The entire house smelled absolutely incredible while it baked- much of the credit should be given to the orange zest in the batter. Even more wonderful orange flavor was added after the cake was removed from the oven when fresh orange juice was drizzled all over the top. Fabulous!

This recipe was adapted from Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes from our Kitchen by Zoe Nathan with Josh Loeb and Laurel Almerinda. I weighed whole roasted almonds and then finely ground them in a mini food processor instead of using store-bought almond flour. I used fat-free Greek yogurt instead of whole plain yogurt. I also substituted oat bran for the toasted wheat germ in the original recipe. Wheat bran or ground flaxseed would also work as substitutes. I also baked the cake in a 9-inch springform pan instead of a 10-inch cake pan.

The authors offer seasonal adaptations to this recipe by substituting blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, apricots, peaches, or figs for the pears. Yummy!

Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup (110 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 55 g (1/2 cup plus 2 T) almond flour
  • 20 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) rolled oats
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 T oat bran, toasted wheat germ, wheat bran, or ground flaxseed
  • 2 T light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 20 g (1/4 cup) sliced almonds

For the Cake:

  • 170 g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 T light brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 160 g (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 55 g (3/4 cup) oat bran, toasted wheat germ, wheat bran, or ground flaxseed
  • 25 g (1/4 cup) almond flour
  • 3 T rye flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (240 ml) plain yogurt (I used fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • zest of 1 orange, *fruit reserved*
  • 3 pears, peeled and thickly sliced into 6 pieces each (I used Bartlett pears)

IMG_0372

To Make the Topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, almond flour, oats, granulated sugar, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat germ, brown sugar, and salt. Blend with a pastry blender until homogenous.
  2. Add sliced almonds and blend with your fingers. Refrigerate until needed.

To Make the Cake:

  1. Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line and grease a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and cooking spray.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Incorporate the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
  4. Pause mixing and all the all-purpose flour, wheat germ, almond flour, rye flour, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and orange zest. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated. Do not over mix!
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and cover evenly with the pears.
  6. Top with the crumble, allowing a little fruit to poke through.
  7. Bake for 1 hour 5 minutes or up to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake!
  8. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan; then squeeze the orange over the entire cake.
  9. Remove the side of the pan and gently pull the parchment paper from every nook and cranny of the cake.

Note: This cake is best served the day it is made, but it will keep, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 days at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

There is still time! Fresh blueberries are still available!! I regret not posting this wonderful cake sooner- my apologies…. I first read about this blueberry cornmeal cake on Sue’s blog, Birgerbird. She described it as one of the best desserts she had ever tasted, and I know that she has tasted some delicious desserts! 😉 I have had it on my “to make” list ever since. It lived up to my expectations. My family and I devoured it. Mmmmm…. We ate this delicious rustic cake for dessert but it would also be wonderful for a special breakfast. It’s not overly sweet and has a fabulous crumb from the cornmeal. Berries and corn are a wonderful match.

This recipe was adapted from Huckleberry: Stories, Secrets, and Recipes From our Kitchen by Zoe Nathan with Josh Loeband and Laurel Almerinda. I weighed the ingredients when possible which I have found not only ensures a better result but also decreases the preparation time. I modified the recipe to use a 9-inch springform pan, and substituted sour cream for the plain yogurt in the batter.

The authors recommend making this cake with gooseberries- I have to remember that when I receive my CSA gooseberries next season! Strawberries can be used as well. This cake can also be modified for the holidays by adding the zest of one orange, cranberries, and both brown and white sugar. Nice!!

Yield: Makes one 9-inch cake

  • 195 g (3/4 cup plus 1 1 /2 T) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 190 g (3/4 cup plus 3 T) granulated sugar, plus 2 T for sprinkling the top of the cake
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 T canola oil
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 200 g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 120 g (3/4 cup) cornmeal
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup plus 2 T (270 ml) whole plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 130 g (1/2 cup plus 1 T) whole milk ricotta
  • 150 g (1 cup) fresh blueberries

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Line and grease (I used cooking oil spray) a 9-inch round springform pan of a 10-inch round cake pan.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and 190 g granulated sugar, and salt on medium-high, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Incorporate eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well.
  5. With the mixer on low-speed, pour in the canola oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  6. Pause mixing and add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, and ricotta. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated. Do not over mix!
  7. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the blueberries and sprinkle with the remaining 2 T granulated sugar.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 1 hour 10 minutes in a standard oven, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake! (I am obsessed with not over baking…)
  9. Allow to cool 15 minutes in the pan.
  10. If using a springform pan, release the sides of the pan and remove. (safer & easier!!) If using a cake pan, place a flat plate on top of the cake and pan. Carefully invert the cake onto the plate by flipping both upside down. Then lift the pan off the cake. Gently pull the parchment from every nook and cranny of the cake, being careful not to break the cake. Rest your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and turn the cake right-side up onto the plate.

Note: This cake is best served the day it’s made but keeps, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to 2 days.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Cranberry Margarita

Per Bon Appetit, this is Thanksgiving-in-a-glass; we might make it Christmas-in-a-glass as well!! This cocktail was one of the biggest successes of our Thanksgiving celebration! We served it on Thanksgiving Eve so that I could enjoy it with everyone– it would have been too hectic (for me!) on Thanksgiving Day.

The cranberry jam used in the cocktail can be made up to 5 days in advance (wonderful) and can be made with frozen cranberries as well (a great use for leftover cranberries!). The glass rims are coated in salt, sugar, and Chinese five-spice powder which added a surprise flavor and aroma. Freshly squeezed juice is a must.

This recipe is from The Red Cat in New York City, via Bon Appetit. Great!

Yield: Serves 4  (I doubled the recipe for 6)

For the Cranberry Jam:

  • ¾ cup fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

For Assembly:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 lime wedge, plus 2 oz. fresh juice
  • 4 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 6 oz. tequila

To Make the Cranberry Jam:

  1. Bring cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy, 30–40 minutes.
  2. Mix in orange zest; let cool.
DO AHEAD: Jam can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

To Assemble the Cocktail:

  1. Mix salt, sugar, and five-spice powder on a small plate.
  2. Rub rims of Old Fashioned or Margarita glasses with a lime wedge; dip in salt mixture and fill glasses with ice.
  3. For each cocktail, combine ½ oz. lime juice, 1 oz. orange juice, 1½ oz. tequila, and 2 Tbsp. cranberry jam in a cocktail shaker; fill with ice.
  4. Cover and shake until outside is frosty, about 30 seconds.
  5. Strain into prepared glass. (We used a metal strainer.)

Cranberry Clafouti

Cranberry ClafoutiThis recipe is from Martha Stewart where clafouti is described as treading ground somewhere between cake and pudding.  It is a traditional French baked dessert that combines fresh fruit with a rich batter.  My mom loved to make cherry clafouti for dinner parties when I was growing up.  It is a simple dish that looks pretty and tastes delicious.  I made this with leftover Thanksgiving cranberries.  The recipe called for cranberry juice cocktail, but I used 100% cranberry juice instead.  The end result was still very sweet.  It serves 6.
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry juice, or water
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter six 1-cup custard cups or a 9-inch oven-proof baking dish.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries and cranberry juice cocktail. Bring to a simmer and cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving cranberries and juice separately. Return the juice to the saucepan and boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes.
  3. Combine the eggs, sugar, flour, milk, cream, and vanilla in a blender (or with a hand mixer) and blend at high speed until smooth. Stir in the reduced cranberry liquid.
  4. Divide the cranberries evenly between the prepared dishes. Pour the custard mixture over the berries, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake until custard is puffed and golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm.Cranberry Clafouti 2

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