OK, so here’s a few really good chicken recipes from around the world:
Adobo - Chicken Cooked In Soy Sauce & Vinegar (This is from the Philippines, not Mexico - same name, different recipe)
Holland America Line Chef
8 chicken thighs or drumsticks, skinless and trimmed of fat
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar (see tip below for options)
3-6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, crushed lightly
1 cup water
3/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil Chopped scallions, for garnish
Accompaniment: Cooked white rice or couscous
In a large kettle combine the chicken, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 1 cup water, cover and marinate refrigerated for 20 minutes to an hour (up to 3 hours is OK)
Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer it, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the soy sauce and simmer the mixture, covered, for 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken with tongs to a plate and boil the liquid for 10 minutes. Let the sauce cool and remove the bay leaves.
In a large skillet heat the oil over high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it sauté the chicken, patted dry, in batches, turning it, for 5 minutes, or until it is browned well. Transfer the chicken to a rimmed platter, pour the sauce, heated, over it, and serve the chicken with the rice (or couscous).
Tip: For a more authentic version, use Sukang Maasim (Cane Vinegar found in Asian markets). White vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and rice vinegar work well too.
Cape Malay Chicken Curry (South African)
Milk Street Cookbook – Fedela Tolker
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 4-ounce chunk fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 5 pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 serrano chilies, stemmed and halved lengthwise
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon), plus lemon wedges, to serve
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, torn
Cooked basmati or jasmine rice, to serve
Build the flavor base of the Cape Malay curry on lightly browned onions, using whole fennel seed and cumin seed, allowing them to add both texture and flavor. While the original recipe broke down a whole chicken for her dish, the ease of boneless, skinless thighs (which stay moister and taste richer than chicken breasts) changed the choice…
SEASON THE CHICKEN AND SUBMERGE: In a bowl, mix the fennel, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and the turmeric. Use 1 tablespoon of the mixture to season the chicken.
In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until just smoking. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic and chilies, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and remaining spice mixture, then submerge the chicken thighs.
Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 25 minutes, adjusting the heat to maintain a steady but gentle simmer. Also, don’t cut the potatoes smaller than 1-inch chunks; smaller pieces will overcook and break apart. Stir in the potatoes, cover and return to a simmer. Cook until the the chicken and potatoes are tender, another 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a large plate. Remove and discard the ginger, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and chili halves, then continue to simmer over medium until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, using two forks, pull the chicken into bite-size pieces, then return to the pot and stir to combine, taking care not to break up the potatoes. (Don’t pull the chicken into fine shreds after simmering—the pieces should be bite-size).
Stir in the lemon juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with mint. Serve with rice and lemon wedges.
Savory Moroccan Chicken Stew
4 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, halved
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 medium yellow onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
28 oz diced tomatoes, with their juices
8 oz canned chickpeas, drained
1 quart chicken stock
3 Tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 teaspoon ground)
1 large pinch saffron (optional)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ cup golden raisins
½ cup dried apricots, halved
½ cup prunes (dried plums), halved
½ lemon, juiced (as an alternate to juice and zest, ½ preserved lemon, julienned)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. In a large pot, brown the chicken in batches over high heat. Set aside.
In the same pot, add the onions and sauté until translucent making sure to scrape up any remaining drippings from the chicken. Add the garlic, turmeric, ginger, cumin, nutmeg, saffron and cinnamon sticks. Once the spices are fully incorporated and aromatic, return the chicken to the pot along with the tomatoes, chickpeas, and enough stock to submerge all contents of the stew (may be less than 1 quart). Cook uncovered for one hour.
TIP: You can make the stew up until this point and then refrigerate it overnight. Just reheat an hour or so before your guests arrive and continue with the remaining ingredients.
Place the raisins, prunes and apricots in a shallow bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit for 20 minutes until re-hydrated and plump. Add to the pot with 2 Tablespoon of the cilantro and the juice of half a lemon. Simmer for 10 more minutes.
Garnish with a sprig or two of cilantro and some remaining apricot halves and serve over couscous.
NOTE: to make the veggie version, substitute 3-4 diced zucchinis or squash for the chicken and double the chickpeas.
Chicken Pastilla With Cinnamon And Almonds
Moroccan meat pie with Spanish origins. It is usually made as one large dish, but I like to make pastille “cigars” for perfect individually portioned, handheld mezze.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus plenty more for brushing the phyllo
½ onion, thinly sliced
½ bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 pound ground chicken
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon orange blossom water (see sidebar)
6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup sliced almonds
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel and cook, stirring
occasionally, until the vegetables have softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add
the chicken and continue cooking, stirring to break up the meat, until it begins to brown,
about 8 minutes. Add several big pinches of salt, the cinnamon, and orange blossom
water. Stir to combine.
Brush one sheet of phyllo generously with oil and layer 2 more sheets on top, brushing
each generously with oil. (Keep the rest of the phyllo under a damp towel to prevent it
from drying out.) Cut the 3 stacked sheets in half lengthwise, putting one half aside. With
a short side facing you, top the stacked phyllo with half of the chicken mixture, leaving a
small margin all around all the sides. Roll into a cigar shape, cutting the phyllo once it’s
overlapped a bit (you should get 3 cigars from each half of the phyllo stack). Repeat with
the other half of the phyllo stack, then repeat the process with the remaining 3 sheets
phyllo to make the rest of the cigars.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the cigars on a baking sheet and brush them with
the beaten egg. Top with the sliced almonds. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Dust the cigars with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.
Makes 12 pastilla “cigars”