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Portuguese Chicken & Rice (Arroz com Frango)

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Spring is a funny time of year here in the Northeast.  Some days it’s sunny and you want to stay outside and grill and enjoy the beautiful day and the very next week, you can have 5 days of clouds and rain.  It makes for an interesting trip to the market when trying to plan out meals.  One thing that works rain or shine and really can provide some rainy day comfort is this one pot Portuguese dish, Arroz com Frango (Chicken & Rice)!

I have loved chicken and rice ever since I was a little girl.  What’s not to love right?  There is a juicy flavorful chicken combined with equally flavorful rice and potatoes, not to mention the nuggets of chouriço that are tucked away in there.  It’s really everything you could want from Portuguese cooking all in one spot.

This meal is also quite versatile.  In my house, my dad has always been a big fan of chicken legs, so my mom always made it with just legs.  And if you like that, great, make it just like we do!  But, if you prefer thighs or even breasts, this recipe accommodates that too.  Also, we make this with beer as many of my Portuguese recipes have, but white wine works well too and if you don’t keep alcohol in the house, just use some chicken stock.  It will still be delicious!  The key here is those main Portuguese spices, the crushed red pepper, the chouriço (which is used as much for its flavor as for the meat itself), the garlic and of course the Portuguese All Spice (which can be swapped out for sweet paprika in a pinch).

It’s an easy recipe that has something for the whole family.  Take a look at how I do it…

Start with some fresh chicken. I prefer legs for this recipe, but thighs would be great and if you only do breast, then that works too. I also prefer that it have skin as the skin imparts quite a bit of flavor. It can be removed after cooking if you like.

Start by searing your chicken. (Sorry this picture is so dark! It’s a big dark pot.)

You want to get every side.

Remove the chicken from the pot.

Peel and slice up some hot chouriço.

Chop up a large onion.

Saute the onion in the chicken fat you have just rendered. If not enough fat has been rendered, then you can add some olive oil.

Add in chouriço.

Get a few cloves of garlic.

Smash them with your knife and this makes the peel easy to remove. Add the peeled garlic into the pot.

Chop up about 6-8 potatoes… You want about one small potato per piece of chicken you are using or 1 large for every two pieces.

Add in a bottle of beer. Use that bottle of beer to measure out about 6-8 more of water. (white wine can be substituted for the beer)

Measure out your rice. This is NOT par boiled, medium grain rice. Uncle Ben’s does not work here, neither does any kind of quick cooking rice. Just good old-fashioned rice. I like River Rice.

Add rice into pot.

Add in one small can of tomato sauce.

And one to two heaping Tbs. of ground red pepper.

Add in a good pinch of kosher salt.

Add in Portuguese All Spice. If you don’t have this handy, add in about a tsp. of sweet paprika. (NOT SMOKY)

Keep an eye on it, if the rice needs more water. Once the potatoes have cooked through and the rice is plump and has absorbed most of the liquid, You are through.

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Portuguese Chicken & Rice (Arroz com Frango)

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

3-4 lbs. chicken, skin on

8-10 small potatoes, peeled and diced

4 cups medium grain white rice

1 large onion, diced

1 beer (or 1 cup white wine or chicken stock)

3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

1 lb. hot chouriço, peeled and sliced

1 (6 oz.) can tomato sauce

2 Tbs. Pimenta moida (crushed red pepper)

1/2 tsp. Portuguese All Spice

1 Tbs. kosher salt

8 cups water

Instructions:

In a large heavy pot over high heat, sear chicken.  Remove chicken from pot and turn heat down to medium heat.  Add in onions, saute.  Add in chouriço and garlic.  Add chicken back in to pot.  Add in beer, water, rice, potatoes, tomato sauce, pepper, All Spice and salt.  Stir.  Cover and cook on low until potatoes are fork tender and rice has plumped to become fully cooked and absorbed most of the liquid.  Watch pot throughout cooking time, stirring and adding water if needed.  

*This is a gluten free recipe so long as white wine is used in lieu of beer.

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Pablano & Cheese Stuffed Chicken

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Eating healthy can be tough if you don’t have an arsenal of yummy recipes to fall back on.  A low carb recipe is always great to have in your back pocket.  This may look crazy, but really it’s just baked stuffed chicken with a latin flare.  Shhhh… don’t tell.

To make this recipe you need some basic ingredients, boneless skinless chicken breast, fresh pablano peppers and a melting cheese of your choice.

Place your pepper directly on your flame or under your broiler if you have an electric range. The goal here is to get those char marks.

Cut your pepper in half length wise. Remove the seeds and stem.

Place your chicken breasts on a clean cutting board. If you have plastic wrap, grab a piece and place it over the chicken (I usually do this, but I was out of plastic wrap).

Pound out the chicken until it thins out without breaking through the flesh.

This is what you should get when you are through.

Sprinkle with some kosher salt.

Then crack some black pepper onto it.

This is a block of Monterey Jack cheese. Any good melting cheese would work here… Use a pepper jack if you want a little kick.

Normally I always shred my cheese, but for this recipe, I like to slice it up because I find it holds up better with both the chicken and the pepper.

Season the pepper with some salt.

Now stack it all up on the chicken.

And roll.

At this point if you have tooth picks, you could secure your wrapped chicken.

This is intended to be a low carb recipe, so I am just sprinkling with some panko bread crumbs.

Place them in a baking dish lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.

Place a pad of butter on each. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until cooked through.

Place under the broiler for about a minute or two until you get some good color.

Pablano & Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin

1 Pablano pepper, charred and seeded

6 oz. jack cheese (Colby, Monterey or Pepper), sliced

2 tsp. Panko bread crumbs (or gluten-free bread crumbs)

2 tsp. salted butter

kosher salt

fresh cracked black pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

After chicken is pounded out thinly, season with salt and pepper, place 1/2 Pablano pepper on top, season with salt and pepper.  Then place sliced cheese on the pepper. Gently and tightly roll.  Secure with toothpicks if needed.  Transfer to a greased baking dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Place one pad of butter on each.  Bake 25-30 minutes until cooked through.  Remove from oven and start broiler.  Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes until bread crumbs become browned.

Let rest a few minutes, enjoy!

***note, use gluten-free bread crumbs if needed.

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Roasted Chicken

done1Ah the roasted chicken.  One of life’s culinary treasures.  A perfectly roasted chicken is a gem in any cook’s repertoire.  This recipe is a simple lemon herb roasted chicken and lends itself to a delicious gravy with a roasting rack made up of onions, lemons, carrots, garlic and compound butter and a lovely white wine.

I am forever surprised at just how many people have never made a whole roasted chicken either because they think it is too much work or they are intimidated by the prospect of cleaning and dressing the chicken.  Well rest assured, this recipe includes no giblets, no twine and minimal cleaning.  In fact this recipe is one of the easiest roasted chicken recipes you’ll find, you don’t even need a special pan.

This week, I am starting with your run of them mill roasting chicken.

The first step is to find a pan that will adequately fit your chicken… This Pampered Chef Deep Dish Baker looks just about right.

I remove the inside and toss them… Many people use these contents in gravy or stuffing, not me.

I then start to build a rack in the bottom of my pan. I suppose I could use a pan with a rack, but this is a delicious solution to not having a rack!

Crush up some garlic.

Add the garlic in.

Add on olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt.

I know a lot of people say you don’t need to wash your chicken, but I always do, and then I dry it up. The next few steps require the skin to be dry.

Next we will work on stuffing the chicken. Now, you really shouldn’t use actual stuffing to stuff your chicken as it will take you double time to cook it and the outter limbs of the chicken will be over cooked while the breast stays raw…. My point is it leads to uneven cooking and the stuffing rarely will get cooked all the way through. But I do like to put some things in that have moister and flavor.

So I start with some onions. Just a couple.

Then some lemon slices.

Again, we don’t want to over stuff, but some liquid in the cavity will help to keep the chicken moist.

Then take some more of that crushed garlic and pop it in there.

Add those lemons to the bottom rack too.

I like to keep fresh herbs on my windowsill. I find this to be much more economical than buying them each time I need them. Not to mention they are pretty.

So we will need Rosemary and Tyme.

Don’t forget that everything you do to the bottom cavity needs to also be done in the neck cavity.

Next step is to prepare a compound butter.  Compound butters are a great way to impart flavor right in with the fat.

I have a pretty large chicken and so I will use this entire amount. But if you want to prepare this ahead of time to use with your Thanksgiving turkey or just so you don’t have to repeat this stem… you can just roll it into a log, wrap in wax paper and freeze, then use what you like. Compound butter is great on steak, veggies, egg noodles, you name it!

I will start by putting some in each cavity.

Then the best way to really infuse the flavor into the meat of the chicken, your best bet is to go in under the skin. Gently lift the skin and you may need to gently separate the skin from the breast with your fingers. (be aware of rings you may have on)

And then take some butter and work it up under the skin.

Continue spreading the skin as you add it in... Then once it is in, it can be smooshed around from the outside of the skin.

Continue spreading the skin as you add it in… Then once it is in, it can be smooshed around from the outside of the skin.

Next, I fold in the winds.

You want to pin it down behind the bird.

You want to pin it down behind the bird.

This helps with even cooking.  Some people like to also tie up the legs, I find that leads to longer cooking time.

This helps with even cooking. Some people like to also tie up the legs, I find that leads to longer cooking time.

Add in some of the compound butter to the rack.

Add in some of the compound butter to the rack.

Once you have butter under the skin, its time to slather it all over the outside. This is why it is really important to have dry chicken. Butter won’t stick to water.

Place your chicken on your rack and add in your last addition.  There is a lot of moisture with the onions and lemon, but that isn't enough.  The last addition is some dry white wine.  Be sure the wine you use is a decent drinking wine.  This will flavor your chicken as well as keeping it moist.

Place your chicken on your rack and add in your last addition. There is a lot of moisture with the onions and lemon, but that isn’t enough. The last addition is some dry white wine. Be sure the wine you use is a decent drinking wine. This will flavor your chicken as well as keeping it moist.

I like to cover with some foil… but in order to do that and not have it stick, I spray my foil with cooking spray.

I am covering lightly as you can see. I like the hot air circulating. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to brown skin.

Baste chicken throughout the cooking process. When the temperature in the deepest part of the breast comes to between 160°F – 165°F, you are ready to take the chicken out of the oven and cover immediately with foil for 15 minutes or so.

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Roasted Chicken

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 6-8lb. roasting chicken

2 carrots, largely chopped

2 onions, quartered

1 lemon, sliced

3/4 stick unsalted butter, sliced rm temp

4-5 cloves garlic, crushed

4 sprigs rosemary, stripped, divided

6 sprigs thyme, divided

kosher salt

olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

cooking spray

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375°F.  Make compound butter: add chopped rosemary and thyme to softened butter with a tsp. kosher salt, mash together.  Remove giblets bag from cavity of chicken.  Wash and dry chicken and place on a washable mat.  Find a roasting pan large enough to accommodate chicken and vegetables.

Create rack for chicken:  in the bottom of your roasting pan add in chopped carrots, one onion diced into eighthed cubes, 2-3 cloves of garlic, 2-3 slices of lemon a sprinkle of salt (about 1 tsp) and a swig of olive oil (about 2 Tbs.) and 2-3 Tbs. of compound butter.  Add in 1/2 cup dry white wine.

In the cavities of the chicken add in a couple cubes of onion, a couple slices of lemon, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 sprig of rosemary and 1 sprig of thyme.  Be careful not to over stuff the cavities of the chicken.  Add in 1 Tbs. compound butter to the cavities.

Then making sure the skin of the chicken is dry, place chicken on your vegetable rack in the roasting pan and slather with remaining compound butter.  Spray foil with cooking spray.  Cover loosely with foil.

Place in 375°F oven for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F for 30 minutes and baste throughout cooking.  At this point check temp of chicken breast… overall cooking times will vary, but for planning, plan about 12-15 minutes per pound of chicken.  So for an 8lb. chicken you are looking at roughly 2 hours of roasting time.  When you are nearing the end of cooking, remove foil for the last 30 minutes or so.

*This is a gluten-free recipe.

 

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Roasted Paprika Chicken and Gravy

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Have you ever been to the grocery store and found chicken on a “Manager’s Special”?  It usually means they want to move the chicken out of store because they have a sell by date that is that day or the next, so they mark it way down… That was the case with today’s Sunday dinner.  I went to the market and found a big family size package of chicken drum sticks (10 in all) for $4.11.  I mean, how do you pass up a price like that? That’s like a $1.50  per pound.

So, I decided to take it home and make it into a lovely meal.  This dish is simple to put together with just 7 ingredients you probably have in your pantry already.  This recipe will work with any cut of chicken… if you find thighs at a good price, use those, breast, use those… But, I have to warn you, you may start making this meal even if the chicken isn’t on sale because aside from being inexpensive, it’s also super yummy!  With Crispy roasted skin that is pan seared first and a lush gravy over the top combined with melt in your mouth onions, mmmm.  I chose to plate my chicken on a platter of plain white rice, but you could certainly whip up some mashed potatoes or cous cous, or even buttered noodles.  I put it right on the platter mainly so it could soak up some of the silky gravy.

I should also mention that this chicken is on the table in under an hour and uses only one pan! Let me show you what I did…

Look at all this chicken!

Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Then sprinkle with Hungarian Paprika. Hungarian Paprika is one of my most favorite ingredients, it’s got a nice heat to it that isn’t overwhelming. However, if you don’t have Hungarian Paprika handy, just take some plain, run of the mill, sweet paprika and add a little cayenne pepper to it and you’ve got something pretty similar. (1 Tbs paprika + 1/4 tsp. cayenne)

In a heated skillet with about 1/8 cup of olive oil, place chicken seasoned side down.

Then repeat the seasoning process on the other side of the chicken as the first side is cooking.

Slice up a large onion… I have to tell you, I only used one onion, but you could definitely use two if you prefer, yum.

Slice up some garlic… My garlic was on some kind of steroids I think, so I just used one clove, but if you are using normal size garlic, you can use 3 cloves.

Turn the chicken in the skillet until each side looks lovely and golden brown just so.

Then add in your onions.

And your garlic.

Then just before you are ready to put it in the oven, drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

Then just before you are ready to put it in the oven, drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

This is what you should see.

Now place a lid on it and place in an oven heated to 350°F for 35-40 mins. (I should note that if your skillet is not oven safe, you may want to transfer to a baking dish at this point, cover with foil)

When it comes out of the oven, you should see that the meat is ready to fall off the bone.

On a family sized platter, make a bed of rice (or mashed potatoes or cous cous or buttered noodles)

Place chicken on rice and tent with foil while you make the gravy.

When you remove the chicken from the skillet, you will have a good amount of liquid left… this will be the base for your gravy.

There is one additional ingredient needed for the gravy… a heaping spoonful of corn starch. That’s it.

Be sure the heat has been off and wisk the cornstarch in to incorporate into your drippings until there are no lumps left.

You should see a nice smooth liquid. Now turn the heat to medium and constantly wisk.

When your gravy gets to this consistency, you could either thin out with a bit of water or if its thickened to your liking, then serve.

I like to pour the gravy right onto the platter.

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Recipe for Roasted Paprika Chicken and Gravy:

(Serves 5-6)

3-4 lbs. chicken drum sticks (or thighs)

1/8 cup olive oil

1 large onion, thickly sliced

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tsp. Hungarian Paprika

kosher salt

For gravy:

pan drippings

1 heaping Tbs. corn starch

1/2 cup water

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Sprinkle one side of raw chicken with kosher salt and paprika.  In a heated skillet add in 1/8 cup olive oil.  Next add in chicken, seasoned side down.  Once chicken is in the pan, season the other side that should be facing up.  Allow chicken to crisp up and become golden brown on all sides turning as needed, but not too often.

To the browned chicken add onions and garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

Once the chicken comes out of the oven, set aside and tent with foil.

Drippings will remain in your skillet.  With the heat off, add in 1 heaping Tbs. corn starch.  Wisk in until there are no lumps.  Turn heat on to medium and continue to wisk until thickened.  If too thick, add in water.  Wisk another few seconds.  Pour over chicken.

*note: This is a gluten-free recipe.

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Chicken & White Bean Casserole

done1Sometimes you just need to look into your cabinets and freezer and find a meal with what you have on hand.  That was the inspiration for this yummy casserole.  As a matter of fact, I think that is the inspiration for most casseroles!  When you haven’t had a chance to make it out to the market, it’s nice to be able to depend on a well stocked freezer and pantry!  This Chicken & White Bean Casserole is something that I made a few weeks ago for precisely that reason.

It’s got all the elements of making everything separately, but you get to just saute and throw it all in a pot.  The best part is, it’s ready in under an hour.  Every food group is represented here as well… Healthy brown rice for your grain; carrots, onions and kale for your veggies; chicken, white beans and cheese for your protein; and a touch of butter and olive oil for your fat.  You also have a warm creamy body to this dish and what every good casserole needs, a crispy crunchy topping!

Start by getting your rice going:

I’m starting with my frozen chicken stock… if you have canned or fresh you can use that too… just be sure you have at least 3 cups.

Once warm add in 2 more cups of warm water to make 5 cups of liquid. Add in rice.

To this add a pinch of salt. Cover and allow to boil while you prepare all your ingredients. This allows time for the rice to cook before you add in ingredients.

Now prepare all your ingredients:

I LOVE these individually wrapped organic chicken breasts and I keep them in my freezer all the time. So great to have on hand. So, I need to defrost before I get going with my veggies… and in warm water, they defrost in about 10 minutes!

Chop an onion.

Slice up some garlic.

Then mince your garlic

Peel and slice up two carrots.

Peel and slice up two carrots.

When that chicken has defrosted, dice it up.

Then let it sit with some salt while you saute the veggies.

Now get that non-stick skillet (or cast iron skillet) out:

Start sauteing by adding your onion to some olive oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Add in your garlic.

Next add in your carrots. Continue to saute a couple of minutes.

Once they are all lightly browned, add them right into the cooking liquid and rice.

Now add your chicken to that same non-stick skillet, no rinsing of the pan is needed… the chicken will pick up the flavors of that onion and garlic.

Add in a Tbs. of butter and continue to saute.

Lightly brown.

Add chicken to rice when rice is nearly done cooking.

Rinse your Cannellini beans.

Add in beans.

Grab 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning mix, rub between your fingers to be sure to activate all the oils in the dried herbs. Also add in another pinch of salt and some fresh cracked black pepper (or white pepper if you prefer)

When your mixture is still wet, but just about all cooked through, get your casserole out.

This is a large casserole dish… No need to butter or anything.

Pour your mixture in and start your topping.

Taste your rice for flavor (add in more salt and pepper if needed) then pour your mixture in and start your topping.

Now, start your topping on that same non-stick skillet:

Again to the un-rinsed skillet, add in kale.  Remember, this is about what you have on hand, so if you have spinach, use that (fresh or frozen), if you have escarole use that etc any leafy green will do.

To the kale add in some butter.

Add in cream.

Saute until wilted.

Shred some cheddar cheese. I have white sharp cheddar, you can use whatever cheese you have on hand. A mild cheddar, a parmesan or even a pepper jack would be great here if you don’t mind the heat. Also, if you have extra cheese on hand, an additional cup of cheese would be really great added right into the rice when it gets transferred to the casserole dish.

Add in your cheese.

Add in your cheese.

Melt in all that cheese.

Melt in all that cheese.

Add your creamy kale to the top of your casserole.

Now cover the top with panko bread crumbs, a light sprinkle of salt and some dabs of butter. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes at 350°F.

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Recipe for Chicken & White Bean Casserole:

(serves 6-8)

1 1/2 cups brown rice

3 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

2 chicken breasts, diced and lightly salted

2 carrots, sliced

1 onion. diced

2 lg. cloves of garlic, minced

1 can Cannellini beans, rinsed

3 cups kale, chopped

4 Tbs. butter, divided

1/2 cup light cream (or 1/2 & 1/2)

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

1 Tbs. italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Before preparing ingredients, start by boiling chicken stock and water adding a pinch of salt and adding in rice.  (Doing this first allows time for the rice to cook before adding in ingredients – as we are using brown rice, it takes about 20 minutes longer than white rice to fully cook through – adjust this time accordingly if you decide to use white rice)  Next, start your dicing and mincing of veggies, chicken and shredding of cheese.

Once all your prep is complete, saute onions with olive oil over medium heat in a non-stick skillet.  Add in garlic and carrots.  Saute until lightly browned.  Add to pot with rice.

Without rinsing the skillet, saute the chicken. Add in 1 Tbs. butter, continue to saute until lightly browned.  Add in to pot with rice.

Add in beans and seasoning to pot of rice.

In the same un-rinsed skillet add in kale. Saute with butter, add in cream and cheese.

Once the liquid is almost all incorporated to the rice in the pot (but not quite) add to a casserole dish.  Top with kale topping.  Then add panko and dabs of butter to the top of that.

Bake 20 mins until top is golden.

Enjoy!