Sunday, February 19, 2012

Aunt Thackray's Easy French Style Chicken Thighs

Home but don't want to spend time in the kitchen?  Try these easy to make chicken thighs.  I had these at our good family friends', the Seznec's, one summer evening with salad, crab cakes, asparagus and fresh bread.  Everything was seasoned delicately and was delicious!  Aunt Thackray's a native of the Maryland seashore, and her husband Uncle Jean-Francois, well, you guessed it, he's French.  Needless to say there was both Maryland seaside and French inspiration in our meal.  I enjoyed the entire meal, and later asked for a few of Aunt Thackray's recipes.  This chicken recipe seemed like the easiest one to try, and sure enough, it was a cinch.  My husband and I ate this chicken with a big salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing, but it would go nicely with other things such as zucchini and roast potatoes, or haricot verts and rice pilaf. 

French Style Chicken Thighs

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Olive oil
Herbes de Provence (make sure there is thyme in the mixture you have or buy)

1.  Line a shallow baking dish with foil and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2.  Season the inside of the chicken thigh with salt, pepper and herbs
3.  Flip over and fold the ends in so that the (would be) skin side is facing up
4.  Drizzle olive oil over the top of the chicken
5.  Season top side with salt, pepper and herbs
6.  Place in baking dish, making sure there is space in between each chicken thigh
6.  Place in the oven, and cook for 1:45-2hrs, basting about every 20 minutes (cooking time will vary depending on reliability of your oven! You might only need to cook the chicken for 1hr and 15min, so please use your best judgement!)
7.  Chicken is ready when most of the chicken juice is gone and the chicken pieces are golden brown in color

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Classic Chicken Curry

Well, I finally learned how to make my Dad's beloved chicken curry.  A typical dish that my family would make, I've been enjoying this dish since as long as I can remember.  This is the real deal, no yucky "curry powder" (curry powder as most Americans and Brits know it has absolutely nothing to do with chicken curry by the way) and no shortcuts.  My Dad claims that the key to this recipe is browning the onions - if they are not browned properly, over a low heat and in plenty of oil for about 30 or 40 minutes, the dish won't have the same flavor depth.

So I take you back to my childhood... enjoy!

Chicken Curry
4 Dinner Servings

1 chicken, cut into ten pieces, and skin removed
4 medium onions, or 3 large onions
3 peeled and diced plum tomatoes, or one 14.5oz can of petite diced tomatoes, rinsed and squeezed dry
3 whole cloves
3 whole cardamon, broken open
1 inch of cinnamon stick
2 tbsp crushed/grated ginger
2 tbsp crushed garlic
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Salt to taste
Canola or vegetable oil
Boiling water
1-2 Peeled and quartered medium potatoes

1.  Heat canola oil in a non-stick pan.
2.  Add cloves, cardamon and cinnamon stick.  Allow to sizzle in the oil until the cloves double in size (about 1 minute).
3.  Add the onions.  Cook for low for approximately 30 minutes, stirring often.  If it seems like the onions are sticking and burning, add more canola oil.  Onions are ready when they are golden brown and separated from oil.

4.  Add the tomatoes.  Cook until the oil separates from the tomato and onion mixture.

5.  Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin and cayenne powders.  Stir well.

6.  Turn the heat up.  Add the chicken, allow the meat to seal on all sides (until no pink is showing).

7.  Add enough boiling water to just cover the chicken.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a low simmer.  Cover with lid. 
8.  Cook on low using one of two methods - cook the chicken breast until just cooked, removing from the pan and adding back when the legs are cooked - about 1.5hrs, or, cook all the chicken on low for 2-3hrs until the meat is falling off the bone.  Add the potatoes approximately 45 minutes before cooking time is completed. 

9.  Serve with basmati rice.