Seared Chicken Thighs with Coconut, Tamarind and Spiced Vegetables

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed and pat dry

2 tablespoons minced garlic, grated on a Microplane

2 tablespoons minced ginger, grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons cumin seed

1 teaspoon coriander seed

1 teaspoon brown mustard seed

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

3 large carrots, peeled and medium diced

3 medium delicata squash (2 pounds), ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/3-inch half moons

1 (5.4-ounce) can coconut cream

3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Season the chicken all over with 1 teaspoon of salt.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle-lower position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Open a few windows and/or turn on the oven hood/fan; it might get a little smoky!

Heat a heavy 5.5 quart Dutch oven over medium-high until hot, then add the oil. It will most likely start to smoke. Swirl the pan to distribute the oil and place the chicken thighs skin side down in the pan. Cook until the skin turns golden brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken and transfer to a plate, skin side up.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, mustard seed, turmeric, cayenne and black pepper. Stir continuously until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the onion, carrots, squash and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and place the chicken atop the vegetables, skin side up.

Transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the thighs reach an internal temperature of at least 175 degrees, approximately 30 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, add the coconut cream, tamarind, brown sugar, lime juice and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to a small bowl. Stir to combine until the brown sugar and salt have dissolved. Set aside.

After 30 minutes, remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a plate, skin side up. Stir the coconut tamarind sauce into the vegetables.

To serve, add a scoop of vegetables to a shallow bowl. Top with cilantro leaves, followed by a chicken thigh (skin side up).

Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Pomegranate Seeds

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

 

1 (3½-4 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, then cut into 1-inch cubes

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)

⅛ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

1 teaspoon yellow curry powder

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (1 tablespoon)

⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped roughly, for serving

Crème fraîche, for serving

Pomegranate seeds, for serving

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 475ºF.

Add the squash, salt, a few good cranks of pepper and a healthy drizzle of olive oil (enough to fully coat all the squash) to a large bowl and mix well.

Spread the seasoned squash in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan and roast, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes, until nicely caramelized and cooked through. Remove from the oven and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the onions, chile flakes, curry powder and thyme to a small pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the cinnamon, roasted squash and stock to the caramelized onions. Cover, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and orange juice and purée with an immersion blender until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley, a dollop of crème fraîche, and some pomegranate seeds.

Mahi Mahi Curry

I mostly cook French/Mediterranean/California style cooking, but sometimes I just want something different. More flavors, more spices-a trip beyond the Mediterranean. This dish is all about something new – going a bit beyond my comfort zone as far as recipe development. It may look like a lot of ingredients, but trust me, this dish is well worth it. Warm, balanced, flavorful, delicious. It’s like a vacation for your palate – no passport necessary. (Bonus: it’s a sustainable seafood dish!)

Mahi Mahi Curry

Mahi Mahi Curry

Yield: 4 servings

 

3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided

1 large yellow onion, diced small, 3 cups

1 fennel bulb, diced small, 2 cups

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 serrano pepper, seeded and deveined, diced small

1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 ¼ teaspoon ground fennel

¾ teaspoon turmeric

1 sprig fresh curry (approximately 16 fresh curry leaves)

¾ teaspoon garam malasa

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and julienned

1/2 pound small red potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds

1 14-ounce can light coconut milk

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 ¼ pounds US Atlantic mahi mahi filets, cut into 6 equal sized pieces

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes

½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1 lemon, halved

 

In an oval Dutch oven over medium-high heat add 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil. Heat the oil until it’s shimmering, approximately 1 minute.

Add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and lightly caramelized, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Add garlic, Serrano pepper, ginger, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, cumin, fennel, turmeric, curry leaves and garam masala. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.

Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if pan feels dry after adding the spices and then add bell pepper. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to break up any brown bits. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for approximately 3 to 5 minutes, until bell pepper has softened.

Add the potatoes, coconut milk and stock. Stir and cover. Let simmer on medium-low for 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are al dente.

In the meantime, remove fish from refrigerator. Pat dry and season (both sides) with 1 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper.

In large sauté pan oven over high heat add 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil. Heat the oil until it starts to smoke, approximately 1 minute.

Add fish pieces and let cook, undisturbed, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the fish is seared nicely on one side. Remove fish from the pan and set aside.

Going back to your oval dutch oven, once potatoes are al dente, add the tomatoes, stir and then nestle fish pieces in the pan, seared side up, and continue simmering, uncovered, for 15 to 25 minutes until fish flakes apart easily. If your filets are thin, it will take a shorter amount of time, so check on your fish for doneness frequently. (My oval dutch oven had an inner ring of rapid simmering liquid in the center of the pan and I nestled my fish around that inner circle of bubbliness so it wasn’t directly in the boil, but just snuggled up to it.)

Remove from heat, squeeze half a lemon over and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional lemon as needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve to hungry guests. Have lemon wedges on hand.