South of the Border for Peruvian Chicken

No wood-fired stove here, as we were so fond of seeing during our time in Mexico, where we had some of the tastiest chicken we have ever eaten; however, this is still quite good in the oven.  The chillier days that kept us indoors gave me a good excuse to cook, so as promised, here are a couple of our favorite recipes to whet your appetite.

Peruvian Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lime

Many of my favorite recipes come from Cook’s Illustrated, which is where this recipe can be found.  And because I cannot leave well enough alone, I did modify this just a wee bit, using Serrano chilies with seeds included and chicken thighs only.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped coarse
  • 3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 T. pepper
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2 t. smoked paprika
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 2 t. finely grated lime zest + 1/4 c. lime juice
  • 1 t. minced Habanero chile ( I used Serrano with seeds included)
  • 1 – 3.5-4 pound chicken (I used thighs with skin on)

Directions

  • Process all ingredients except chicken in blender.
  • Rub paste over and under skin of cleaned chicken.
  • Marinate chicken in fridge for at least 2 hours (more is better).
  • Roast chicken in 325º oven for ~ 45 minutes, until thigh meat registers 150º.
  • Turn oven temp to 500º and roast until thigh meat registers 175º, another 10-15 minutes.  Skin should be nice and crispy and golden.
  • Enjoy!

A great side dish with this meal is roasted butternut squash.  This is one of our favorites, for its ease and delicious flavors.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Herbes de Provence

IMG_4009

If you like butternut squash, and really who doesn’t , I think you are gonna love this!

Ingredients

  • 6 c. (1 1/2″) cubed peeled butternut squash (~ 2 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 t. dried herbes de provence
  • 3/4 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, cut into wedges

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Place above ingredients in shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray and toss well.
  • Bake at 425º for 30 min or until tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Yields 4 servings of ~ 1 cup each.
  • Prepare for your taste buds to do the happy dance!

Top this off with some sautéed garlicky greens and your favorite cocktail and life is definitely good! 🙂

Kale is King

Today I am naturally crazy for kale, the king of veggies, one of the healthiest foods on the planet.  Some of you may be thinking (yuck) bitter taste, or I just don’t know what to do with it.

My father and I didn’t have what I would call a healthy relationship but what he did teach me was the benefit of eating my veggies.  As youngsters my siblings and I were relegated to assisting with the planting of the garden (more like the size of a small field) and the maintenance, hoeing, picking, etc.  From there some of us were moved into the kitchen (yours truly) for the canning of those fresh-picked beauties or blanching to freeze for future meals.  I’m sure I did some whining at the time but am forever grateful for those lessons.

A nutritional powerhouse, the list of benefits derived from kale goes on and on.  It is a cruciferous vegetable, much like broccoli, cabbage, or brussel sprouts, so has cancer-preventive properties and provides cardiovascular support.  It is a super antioxidant, a detoxifier, an anti-inflammatory, is chock-full of vitamins A, C, K and many minerals, such as potassium and iron.  Kale is unusually high in fiber, which is sorely lacking in many diets and is a great way to flush out fats and toxins from our system.

This super veggie comes in many varieties:

(photo compliments of gardenaction.co.uk)

Curly – more pungent, peppery flavor

(photo compliments of az plant lady)

Ornamental – more mellow flavor and tender texture

(photo compliments of mvseeds.com)

Dinosaur (Lacinato or Tuscan) – slightly sweeter and more delicate taste

Here are just a few ideas for enjoying this amazingly versatile veggie:

Green Drink (made in blender)

  • ½ green apple
  • 1/2 cucumber (peeled)
  • 1/2 c. baby spinach or kale (or more to your liking)
  • 1/2 lemon (peeled)
  • 1 small piece ginger root
  • 2 c. filtered water

Green Drink (made with juicer)

  • 6 kale leaves
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 2 green apples
  • ½ lemon (peeled)
  • 1 sm. piece ginger root
Butternut Squash and Kale Hash  – This is soooo good!
(make without eggs for vegan version)
Raw Kale Salad (makes a large recipe)
  •  ½ bunch kale
  • ½ head red cabbage (can be made with green cabbage if red not available)
  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • 5 scallions
  • ½ pkg. arame seaweed
  • Lots of raw almonds (2+ cups) and raw sesame seeds (1/4 cup)
  • Equal parts of organic toasted sesame seed oil and organic tamari

Chop kale, cabbage, pepper and scallions.  Put the almonds in a strong plastic bag and chop them in the bag with a mallet until coarsely chopped.  Soak the arame in water for 10-15 minutes.  Rinse and strain.  Put everything together and add sesame oil and tamari to taste.

For a quick “get your greens” dish, sauté kale with garlic in extra virgin olive oil (just until tender ~ 5 minutes).  Remove from heat and add sea salt and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice.

So now, no more excuses.  This king of veggies can be a regular addition to your meal planning.  Eat your greens and enjoy!

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