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Category: chicken | fowl | turkey

The Rekindled Friendship of A Dreamer in Paris {And Blanquette de Poulet à l’Ancienne}

Foreword, from La La Land

My aunt used to live in Paris
 
I remember, she used to come home and tell us these stories about being abroad

And I remember she told us that she jumped into the river once, barefoot

She smiled
Leapt, without looking
And tumbled into the Seine

The water was freezing
She spent a month sneezing

But said she would do it again
Here’s to the ones who dream

Foolish as they may seem
A bit of madness is key
To give us new colors to see

Prologue, A Visit 13-Years in the Making 

Sometime in 2016…

“We’ve had twelve years of foreplay; it’s about time we see each other, don’t you think?”

Months later …

“Happy new year to you too. I wish you a happier 2017 than 2016. I also wish you the opportunity to travel to Paris!”

Some days later …

“Are you free on the weekend of …. ?”

“I am no longer free because you are coming?” (Isn’t that just the most perfect line for a story?…)

[Read more…] »

Lemon Honey-Mustard Chicken Thighs

Inspiration can come from anything. Anything at all.

I’m such a reluctant planner, and oftentimes I have hardly any patience in the kitchen. I want to get in and out as quickly as possible. Sort of contradictory, as I love to cook and it relaxes me and makes me lose myself in creative thought.

But lately, with everything that we have going on, including an imminent move, it’s hard to concentrate for too long. Plus, I’m trying to prove to my father that he too can make all these dishes I’m making for us. They really are that easy and simple to make. We’ll see if I am actually successful in my endeavours and he’ll cook for himself…

So the other day, I made this chicken dish which couldn’t be easier to put together and make. I had leftover dressing from a salad (which I’ll share soon) and decided that was the going to be the flavour of the day! Instant inspiration! It includes a slight modification from the salad dressing with the addition of butter and honey to add a little bit of depth. And it uses ingredients that probably most of you regularly have on hand.

Simple. Easy. Quick. Delicious. Father Approved! No planning required. Keeper!

[Read more…] »

Spring with Kiko {Chicken a l’Orange + Patatas a lo Pobre}

“Hi little guy. Are you walking your mistress?” asked our friendly neighbour who was raking leaves and preparing his garden for the summer season ahead. Kiko and I were walking by, with the little guy rather dragging me down the hill behind him. (By the way being called mistress was fairly enchanting especially since I’ve been reading the Outlander series, whose story takes place in the 18th century.)

Kiko is my parent’s mini schnauzer. He’s a very affable little thing, although quite prone to being fearful of people. On the other hand, he loves other dogs. Being rather small doesn’t stop him from wanting to greet, sniff and play with all the hounds we encounter on our walks, no matter how large they are. And while he’s generally fun and loving, he is also stubborn. When he digs in his hind legs, there’s no budging him until he gets what he wants, which in most cases is just a stop for him to bury his nose in the ground and mark his territory. Marking his territory takes place what seems like every two seconds though.

[Read more…] »

Chicken with Plums

No, not the movie, but a real dish. It’s been a few days since I’ve posted a recipe and that’s due to the changes I’ve been making to the blog. It’s been quite an ordeal, but I hope this new format makes it nicer for all of you, and me too!

I’m sharing a dish, which I made last night for dinner and made a little extra for lunch for me today. Unfortunately, I ate rather late today and the sun is gone.. hence no natural light for pictures. It’s hard fitting in a time window with good lighting during the autumn and winter in London. It’s dark by about 16:30.

I hope you give this a try and enjoy! By the way, it’s made with duck fat, my new favourite fat.

CHICKEN WITH PLUMS

Ingredients, for 4:

2 kg chicken pieces (I used half legs, half thighs)
10 plums, halved and pitted
3 medium red onions, julienne
3 cloves garlic, sliced
4-5 sprigs thyme
1/3 heaping cup of Groningen, wholegrain mustard (the brand I used contains no sugar or additives)
1/3 cup duck fat, plus some extra for dabbing chicken pieces
1/3 cup white wine
1-2 tablespoons raw honey
sea salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Season the chicken with sea salt and pepper. Use a dish for the stovetop that can go to the oven as well, or use a pan, for the following. Over medium heat, melt the duck fat and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Add the onions and garlic to the duck fat and poach until the onions are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the thyme, raw honey and mustard and mix well. Cook until the honey has become liquid, just a couple of minutes. Pour the mixture over the chicken pieces and mix to coat well. Place the chicken pieces into an ovenproof dish. Pour the wine over top. Place the halved plums around the chicken pieces. And add a few dabs of duck fat on top of the chicken. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the chicken is done, turning the chicken pieces over around half time, and coating with the sauce.

*****

POLLO CON CIRUELAS

Ingredientes, para 4 comensales:

2 kg de piezas de pollo (yo utilicé muslos y contra-muslos)
10 ciruelas frescas, cortadas por la mitad y sin hueso
3 cebollas medianas, rojas, cortadas en juliana
3 dientes de ajo, cortados
tomillo fresco, unas 4-5 ramitas
3-4 cucharadas grandes de mostaza con semillas de mostaza
3 cucharadas grandes de grasa de pato, y poco extra para poner por encima del pollo
1-2 cucharadas grandes de miel cruda
75ml de vino blanco
sal y pimienta, a gusto

Como hacer el pollo con ciruelas:

Precalienta el horno a 180C. Salpimienta el pollo. El siguiente paso lo puedes hacer en el mismo recipiente que vaya a ir al horno si sirve para la hornilla también, sino en una sartén grande. Derrite la grasa de pato, sobre fuego medio. Agrega las piezas de pollo y dora las por ambos lados. Retira el pollo de la sartén (sin grasa) y dejar a un lado en un bol o recipiente hondo. Pocha las cebollas y ajos en la misma sartén con la restante grasa de pato, unos 5-7 minutos. Añade el tomillo, la miel y la mostaza. Cuece unos minutos hasta que la miel se haga líquida. Vierte la mezcla de miel sobre las piezas de pollo y remueve hasta cubrir bien. Pasa el pollo y la salsa a un recipiente para el horno. Échale por encima el vino y  coloca las mitades de ciruela entre las piezas de pollo. Hornea durante unos 35-40 minutos o hasta que el pollo este bien hecho, dandole la vuelta a mitad de tiempo.

Chicken Masala

I am not passionate about the Indian cuisine; in fact, there are only a few dishes that I truly enjoy, and mostly have to be without much chili. Of course, I opine like this without ever having set foot on the Indian sub-continent… maybe a trip to India would change my mind and taste buds… In the meantime, tikka masala or chicken masala is one dish that I do like to order when going out. And it so happens that this dish is almost considered part of the national British cuisine! When eating out however, I’m always weary of the sauce and what is used to thicken it. Additionally, it’s invariably served with rice.

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So when I saw a version by The Urban Poser for a masala side dish, I knew I had to try it. What I’ve created below is an adaptation of Jenni’s recipe.

The unique component is the method of cooking the cauliflower “rice”, which makes the vegetable crunchy instead of mushy. My husband is not a fan of cauliflower “rice” and the only way I’ve enjoyed it before is as fried “rice”. However, after eating this, my husband was very complimentary and said he had not even noticed it was cauliflower at all!

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That’s quite a positive comment coming from his very critical palate!

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I created my own mixture of Garam Masala spices, based primarily on the recipe Jenni recommends, and added a few other spices of my own. You can, of course, simply substitute for a ready-made Garam Masala mix. The chili, I added separately in order to control the spiciness to my preference. Feel free to add more or less chili, depending on your taste.

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Also, I would recommend using dark chicken meat instead for a tastier and more moist version of this dish. I just didn’t have any on hand.

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(These last photos are the progression of the cauliflower cooking, so you can see the colour transformation.)

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Chicken Masala
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • 500g chicken breasts, washed and cut into bite-size pieces (if you prefer to use dark meat, it’s tastier)
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons green paprika pepper, chopped or julienne
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, partially peeled and chopped
  • 3 teaspoons Garam Masala, from the mixture below*
  • coarse sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • lard
  • butter
  • fresh cilantro
  • For the Garam Masala:
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Instructions
  1. Mix the spices for the Garam Masala and set aside.
  2. Clean the cauliflower and cut into large florets. “Rice” with a food processor. Set aside.
  3. In a wok or large shallow pan, melt about 2 tablespoons of lard.
  4. Cook the chicken pieces until done, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to brown on all sides. Remove from pan when done and set aside.
  5. In the same pan over high heat, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter or oil of preference.
  6. Immediately add the “riced” cauliflower and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  7. Allow the cauliflower to fry until it starts to brown a bit, then stir it around, again spreading into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Repeat a few times until the cauliflower starts to get brown and with slightly black flecks all over it. Remove from heat and transfer to a separate dish. Set aside.
  8. Again in the same pan, add another tablespoon or a bit more of butter and melt over low heat.
  9. Add the onion, garlic and pepper and sauté until the onion pieces are translucent.
  10. Add the carrots and zucchini and stir fry until “al-dente” or to your liking.
  11. Add 3 teaspoons of the Garam Masala mix, sea salt (to taste) and the chili powder. Stir well and cook about 1 minute.
  12. Add the chicken pieces and mix well.
  13. Add the 1/3 cup water and mix well. Cook until the water has evaporated, but a bit of sauce is left.
  14. Turn off the heat and add the “riced” cauliflower. Mix well.
  15. Serve immediately and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.

 

Puchero, Spanish Bone Broth & Egg Drop Soup

Growing up, I used to hate eating puchero or bone broth soup. I found it dull and boring, except for its slightly more special version as “sopa de picadillo”, which is with bits of jamon serrano, diced hard-boiled eggs, rice and maybe a tomato.

Later when we would go on the yearly El Rocio pilgrimage, for some odd reason, I loved a hot cup of “caldo” (broth) especially in the early mornings before eating breakfast. It was always chilly out as we started our journey each day around dawn and there was usually no time to eat a proper breakfast before the entire hermandad (brotherhood) would get the horses, mules and carriages ready for the camino (road). Caldo is something we have around all day during El Rocio pilgrimage, drinking a cup or glass at any time. It actually “does a body good” and as the Spaniards say is a “reconstituyente”, providing strength and adding needed protein, gelatin, salts and warmth.

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Of course, back then I didn’t realise the goodness in each cup of puchero/caldo/bone broth as I do today. Now I not only appreciate it, but make it frequently to drink alone, use as the base for a soup or for the dough of Spanish croquetas. As soon as you eat a few spoonfuls, you start to feel the energy pumping into your body! 😉

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The recipe I’m sharing with you today is simple. And you can alter it depending on the bones you have available or want to use. I particularly like using jamon serrano bones or pork bones with chicken meat and bones. It makes for a clear broth that is very tasty. But you can substitute for beef, lamb or a combination of all. It’s up to you. I also added two knobs of kelp seaweed to add iodine to the soup. It’s important to get enough iodine in our diets to ensure proper thyroid function. As we are using more and more sea salt or Himalayan rock salt in Paleo cooking, we are not always getting enough iodine as when we used iodized table salt.

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Jamon serrano bones provide a special flavour; however, if you don’t have access to jamon serrano, you could try asking in a specialty shop if they’ll sell you the bones after the jamon is done. Or if you’re up to it, give a good jamon serrano a try, by buying the whole leg and eating it at home like Spaniards do!

A good brand to buy is 5J’s; it can be more expensive, but the quality has never disappointed us. It’s so deliciously balanced, almost sweet to the palate and melts in your mouth. Ahhh.. I think it’s time to buy another one again in Spain! 😉

Jamon Serrano can be made with the back legs (jamon) or front legs (paleta/paletilla) of white pigs or the Black Iberian pig, which is an endemic species from southern Spain and Portugal. The best jamon comes from the Black Iberian pigs, especially if it’s fed only acorns. I recommend giving this one a try!

The cooking times for puchero/bone broth can vary. I let mine simmer about 6 hours on the first day and then another 4 hours on the second day. You don’t need to do that; but if you do, you must keep adding water, as it evaporates, and adjust for salt. You can also make the broth in a few hours and use the same day. But the longer you simmer, the more intense flavour and the more nutrients you will get out of the bones and ingredients.

Buen Provecho.

Puchero, Spanish Bone Broth & Egg Drop Soup
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • 1-2 ham hock or large piece of jamon serrano bone with meat on it
  • 3 chicken breasts or 4-5 pieces of chicken on the bone, whichever you have
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut in halves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and whole
  • juice of one lemon (optional)
  • 3-4 carrots, cut into large chunks (no need to peel unless you want to eat them later)
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
  • 2 knobs kelp
  • sea salt, to taste
  • filtered water
  • For the egg drop soup:
  • 1 beaten egg per person
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, place all of the ingredients (except the egg) and add enough water to fill about 3/4 full.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a soft boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 6-8 hours, adding water as necessary.
  4. Also remember to skim the ugly fat that comes to the top every once in a while, for a clearer and nicer broth.
  5. You can freeze the broth in small containers to use at a later date or you can immediately drink it, use as a soup or base for another recipe.
  6. Here, I’ve eaten it as an egg drop soup with 1 minced, chicken breast, some carrot pieces and a beaten egg.
  7. For the egg drop:
  8. Bring some of the broth to a boil in a small saucepan.
  9. Beat the egg, and slow pour it into the boiling broth, while stirring with a fork to create the stringy appearance.

Chicken Curry, Karlos Arguiñano

When I lived in Spain, I used to watch the Karlos Arguiñano cookery show on TV. He’s what we now call a celebrity chef. Karlos is from the Basque Country; and although he owns a few restaurants and has many cookery books out, he continues to participate in TV shows and collaborate with many magazines. He’s a lot of fun to watch, and apparently is really “down to earth”, according to a friend of mine who has had the pleasure of meeting him in person.

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Whenever I’m in Spain, I like to get as many foodie magazines as possible for inspiration for new dishes. Oftentimes though, I bring them home and then forget about them…so as I was doing some cleaning the other day, I found one of these weekly collectibles in Karlos’ series.

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This recipe is an adaptation of his version of curry. Additionally, I’ve created my own curry powder mix.

Chicken Curry, Karlos Arguiñano
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Spanish-Indian
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Serves 2-3.
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg chicken pieces (I used thighs and legs)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3-4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 paprika pepper, sliced (I used yellow, but any colour will do)
  • 2 tablespoons curry mixture*
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4-1 cup water
  • coconut oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • *For the homemade curry mixture:
  • Mix together the following:
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, brown the chicken in some coconut oil or lard.
  2. In the meantime, in a saucepan over low heat, with some coconut oil or lard, poach the vegetables (onion, carrots, garlic, and pepper).
  3. When the vegetables are soft, set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Puree them with an immersion blender or food processor.
  5. Season with salt, to taste. Set aside.
  6. Once the chicken is browned on all sides, add the wine, water and curry mixture.
  7. Cook on low heat/simmer for 35-40 minutes until the chicken is done.
  8. Add the vegetable puree and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  9. Serve immediately.
  10. *For the spice mixture: if you do not have ground spices, simply use a coffee grinder to grind up the seeds.

 

Paleo Stuffed Turkey Breast

What happens when you buy something you don’t normally get at the food store? Well.. easy.. new dishes! 😉

I usually buy breast meat to cut up in chunks or the whole bird, but hardly ever the entire turkey breast. So, some research was in order for ideas and I decided to make it stuffed. I’ve stuffed meat before, in the traditional German style, rinderroulade, which is very nice and I’ll share with you as soon as I make it again. But turkey breast is dryer and thick, so I was careful to add ingredients that could add some juice to the dish.

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Using a combination of bacon, vegetables, pears and pine nuts, the flavours were great together and the meat was very juicy.

For the gravy, which was delicious, I simply used the drippings and added some arrowroot powder to make it thicker.

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Paleo Stuffed Turkey Breast
Recipe Type: Main
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
Serves about 4-6.
Ingredients
  • 2kg turkey breast with skin
  • 4-5 slices of butter (about 1cm each)
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • oven string with which to wrap the breast
  • For the stuffing:
  • 2-3 tablespoons organic, grass-fed lard
  • 1 leek, clean, peeled, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, cleaned and diced
  • 5-6 medium brown mushrooms, diced
  • 3 pieces of pork back rashers or bacon, cooked and diced
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 pears, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (if you have fresh, use the leaves off a couple of sprigs)
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • a sprinkle of turmeric
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For the gravy:
  • turkey drippings
  • arrowroot powder
Instructions
  1. For the turkey breast:
  2. Rinse and unwrap. If it needs to be “flattened” out, do so by placing a piece of cellophane paper over top and “beating” with a meat tenderiser or a rolling pin.
  3. Set aside.
  4. For the stuffing:
  5. In a saucepan over low heat, melt the lard.
  6. Add the leeks and soften.
  7. Add the celery, garlic and mushrooms, and cook until the celery is just about tender.
  8. Add the cooked pork rashers/bacon bits, pears, pine nuts, and spices and herbs.
  9. Cook for about 2 minutes.
  10. Season to taste.
  11. To stuff the breast:
  12. Place the stuffing on one side of the turkey breast and roll the meat over into a “roll”.
  13. With the string, hold the breast together.
  14. Place into an ovenproof cooking dish.
  15. Place the butter pieces over top.
  16. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then turn over and bake another 25-30 minutes, basting in between.
  17. To check if the turkey is done, use a meat thermometer to check; the internal temperature should be at 165-170. Cook longer if necessary.
  18. For the gravy:
  19. Place the turkey drippings (try to get just the drippings without the fat) in a small saucepan.
  20. Add some arrowroot powder (depending on the amount of drippings, about 1-2 teaspoons) and cook until thickened.
  21. Adjust for seasoning if necessary.
  22. To plate:
  23. Slice the turkey breast and serve with gravy and favourite vegetables or side dishes.

 

Pollo al Ajillo (Garlic Chicken)

This dish is a favourite amongst many of my friends who grew up in Spain. There are a number of variations, just like with any traditional dish that is typically made at home.

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We have a wide repertoire of “al ajillo” dishes in Spain and you can generally find one or two on restaurant and bar menus; the most popular are “gambas al ajillo” and “pollo al ajillo”.

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It’s a simple, easy and delicious recipe that I hope you will make often at home. Serve with some sweet potato (or turnip) fries and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro for extra flavour.

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Pollo al Ajillo (Garlic Chicken)
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Spanish
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
Serves 3-4
Ingredients
  • 1.5 kg chicken pieces (I used legs)
  • 1 1/2 head of garlic, about 25 cloves, minced
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup (250ml) white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or more, if desired)
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a large, deep pan or wok, over low heat, pour about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the wine, lemon juice, minced garlic and chili powder.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, until the wine is reduced and the chicken pieces are cooked.
  5. About half way done, season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Chicken aux Herbes de Provence & Savoury Rhubarb

It’s rhubarb season and I’m embarking on using this colourful vegetable in savoury and sweet dishes. Its tangy or tart flavour makes for an interesting contrast, especially in this recipe.

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To counterbalance the tanginess, I used sweet orange juice and orange pieces, plus I incorporated white potatoes. I know many of you on Paleo do not use the potato at all; however we do eat it occasionally. If you do not want to use it, another mild-flavoured tuber can be substituted.

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The chicken comes out tender and juicy even with the longer cooking time due to the marinade. In fact, I ate the leftovers for breakfast the following day; and even after heating it up in the microwave (yes! horrible of me!), it was still not dry.

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I hope you give it a try…and also embark on experimenting with this interesting vegetable.

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Chicken aux Herbes de Provence & Savoury Rhubarb
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-3
Serves 2-3.
Ingredients
  • 1 kilo (approx. 2 lbs) chicken pieces (I used thighs)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons herbs de Provence
  • 1/3 cup orange juice, freshly squeesed
  • 1 whole orange, sliced thinly, reserve a few slices for garnishing
  • 3-4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces, or diced
  • 3 stalks rhubarb, rinsed and cut into 1 1/2 inch slices
Instructions
  1. For the marinade, prepare the night before or early in the morning:
  2. Rinse the chicken pieces and set aside.
  3. Peel the garlic cloves; and using a mortar and pestle, ground all of them. (To make the task easier, I cut them in half lengthwise, so they do not “jump” out of the mortar, as I’m grinding with the pestle.)
  4. Add the sea salt and pepper and crack until small pieces are formed.
  5. Add the herbs, olive oil and orange juice and mix well. (If your mortar is not large enough, transfer to a bowl or plastic bag, which you’ll use later to store the chicken in the fridge for marination.)
  6. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plastic bag, large enough to hold all the pieces and the marinade.
  7. Pour the marinade into the bag as well, seal, and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4-5 hours.
  8. Cooking the dish:
  9. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  10. Place the potato and rhubarb in an oven proof cooking dish.
  11. Place the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables.
  12. Pour the marinade over the chicken and the vegetables.
  13. Bake for 40-60 minutes, turning the chicken over occasionally, until the chicken is done and the potatoes are tender.
  14. About half way through, add the slices of orange, and continue cooking.

 

Paleo Chicken Tagine

I absolutely love, love, love Moroccan food. I think I first fell in love when I wasn’t even old enough to be aware of it on our family’s first trip to Morocco when I was a little child. And later, I had a French teacher in school, whose husband was Moroccan… I still remember the traditional dinner she prepared for us at home, which included mandarines in rose water as dessert, a sweet treat I’m still daydreaming about and haven’t yet figured out exactly what it was!

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Strangely enough, I don’t have a proper Moroccan or Maghreb cookbook and should put that on my list to get… but I have a ton of printed recipes from the Internet. I always go to them for inspiration, although today I turned to a friend, Pedro, who’s Colesterol Sin Fronteras blog is full of Moroccan dishes, since he’s also passionate about this marvelous land, their food and culture.

And although we do eat white potatoes occasionally, I omitted it from this recipe and substituted other tubers that I had on hand, plus added some fennel, which provides a unique, anise-like flavour. (By the way, did you know that fennel is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe, the alcoholic drink made from botanicals that supposedly was the culprit of Vincent Van Gogh’s “madness”?)

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Paleo Chicken Tagine
Recipe Type: Easy
Cuisine: Moroccan
Author: The Saffron Girl
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1kg chicken pieces (legs and/or thighs)
  • 1 lemon, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small fennel, chopped
  • 2 carrots, in small chunks
  • 2 sweet potatoes, in small chunks
  • 1 parsnip, in small chunks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup whole small olives
  • 1/4 cup fresh red pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • sea salt, to taste
  • water
Instructions
  1. In a deep and wide pot or a tagine clay pot, heat the olive oil over low heat.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and poach until soft.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
  4. Then add the pepper and lemon and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to almost cover everything.
  6. Cook on low for 35-40 minutes, adding more water if necessary, and stirring occasionally. The remaining sauce should be thick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lavender Duck with Roasted Veggies

I’m a “sucker” for anything unusual. Last year, I purchased a few different kinds of edible flowers and keep trying to sneak them into desserts and recipes. My favourite so far is lavender because of its fragrance, which is very appealing to me. And when I cam across a recipe for duck with lavender, I was hooked.

The original is slightly different, as it calls for duck breasts instead of a whole bird, and the cooking process is therefore also different. I omitted the maple syrup, as I want to keep any sugars out of my cooking, as much as possible; and in this case, I really don’t think it’s required. But here’s the original, in case you would like to follow that instead.

LAVENDER DUCK 

Ingredients, for 2 (using a 2.5 kilo duck)

  • 1 whole duck, cleaned
  • 1 medium orange, cut in half
  • 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon edible lavender
  • butter (preferably “grass fed”)

For the Vegetables:

  • 3 large beetroots, peeled and cut into medium pieces
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 large leek, sliced
  • olive oil

Process:

For the duck:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Clean and rinse the duck inside and out, letting the water run through thoroughly.
  3. Place the duck in a glass, oven proof dish. Place the orange, cut in halves, inside the duck. (I place one facing up and the other facing down, so the juices of the orange will disperse evenly.)
  4. Mix the cumin, fennel and coriander together and with a mortar and pestle, roughly crush the spices. Set aside.
  5. Rub the outside (both sides) of the duck with butter. I used about 30g.
  6. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Then rub the spices on both sides. Drizzle with some of the lavender, and save the rest to drizzle on the other side, once you turn the duck over.
  8. Bake at 180C for about 1.5 hours, depending on the size of the duck, turning and basting every 20 minutes or so to cook evenly. (Recommended cooking time is about 20 minutes for every 500g.)
  9. When the duck is finished, whilst cutting, discard the orange pieces.

For the vegetables:

  1. Prepare the vegetables. Set the sweet potatoes, celery and leek aside.
  2. Place the beetroot in a glass, oven proof dish. Drizzle with olive oil, stirring to coat well.
  3. Bake for about 25-30 minutes (on the bottom shelf below the duck), then add the sweet potatoes, celery and leek to the same dish. Drizzle with some more olive oil and stir to coat well.
  4. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  5. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve: 

Cut the duck into the desired serving pieces, serve with the vegetables, and add some fresh lavender overtop as garnish. (Don’t use too much, just a pinch, as the flavour and fragrance can be overpowering.)

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