Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jamaican Jerk Chicken

I’ll admit I was skeptical about this recipe. But after one bite, I wasn’t skeptical at all. It was deliciously flavorful and less labor intensive than we thought it would be. Warning: it’s pretty filling.

Ingredients:
1 tb Ground allspice
1 tb Dried thyme
1 1/2 ts Cayenne pepper
1 1/2 ts Black Pepper freshly ground
1 1/2 ts Ground sage
3/4 ts Ground nutmeg
3/4 ts Ground cinnamon
2 tb Salt
2 tb Garlic powder
1 tb Sugar
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c Soy sauce
3/4 c White vinegar
1/2 c Orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, Seeded and finely chopped (if you can’t find this, feel free to use a habanero)
1 c white onion Chopped
3 Green onions finely chopped
4 6-oz Chicken breasts Trimmed of fat, up to 8-oz each

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, garlic powder and sugar. With a wire whisk, slowly add olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice and lime  juice. Add the Scotch bonnet pepper (we used habaneros since we couldn’t find Scotch Bonnet), onion and green onions and mix well. Reserve about a cup or so of the marinade to use later. Add the chicken breasts, cover and marinate for at least an hour, but the longer the better! Remove the breasts from the marinade and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. If you prefer a sear, turn on the broiler and broil each side first for a few minutes and then bake. Or if you prefer, fire up the grill and cook for 6 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. While grilling or baking, baste with the left over marinade. Heat the rest of the leftover marinade and serve on the side for dipping (we just did this on the stove). If you prefer more intense flavors, feel free to double the spices.

My opinion:
Even without doubling the spices, this was plenty hot. It was the right combination of sweet and spicy and the chicken was very moist. We will try this on the grill next time! The rice and slaw will be in another post. I”m having trouble locating the original recipes to link back to at the moment.

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Green Chili Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Green Chili Chicken macaroni and cheese

In case you missed it, we love macaroni and cheese and have graduated from the blue box to homemade amazingly delicious recipes. While we love, love, love our original recipe, every now and then we want something a little different. Not to mention, some of our favorite San Antonio memories involve sitting at a table at Silo and sharing the amazing green chili and orzo macaroni and cheese with friends. J found this Serious Eats recipe, which with a few modifications is really close.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk (we used fat-free because it’s what our local HyVee had)
2 eggs
2 bone-in, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound total) (we used boneless skinless because it’s what we had on hand)
Kosher salt
Half pound dry elbow macaroni (Or the whole box like us)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces grated American cheese (or your favorite mild cheese, we like Monterrey jack cheese)
8 ounces grated pepperjack cheese
1 (3.5 ounce) can chopped green chilies
1 cup homemade or store-bought salsa verde (in a pinch you can use the Texas Two-Step green chili stew)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
6 scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:
Combine cornstarch, evaporated milk, and eggs in a small bowl and whisk until homogenous. Set aside.

 

Season chicken with salt. Place chicken breasts in a large Dutch oven or stockpot and cover with water by 4 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes after a boil is achieved. Using tongs, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.



Return water to high heat until boiling and add pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barely al dente. Drain pasta and return to pot. While pasta is cooking, pull chicken meat into bite-sized shreds and set aside, discarding bones (which is why we used boneless, skinless in the first place.) 
When pasta is cooked, return to low heat. Add butter and stir until melted. Add evaporated milk/egg mixture and cheese. Stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped chilies, salsa verde shredded chicken, cilantro, and scallions.

Green Chili mac and cheese

We baked this for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven to let it set.

My opinion:
This is now my second favorite macaroni and cheese recipe ever. Plus, it freezes well.

Hot and sour soup

homemade hot and sour soup

J grew up eating the decadent hot and sour soup at King Doh, authentic Peking and Szechuan cuisine. After several years of trial and error, we finally found a recipe that is really close to the original. To celebrate the Chinese New Year last night, we made a big pot.

Ingredients:
2 quarts chicken stock
2 ounces dried black mushrooms (we had trouble finding these and had the must success using fresh shiitake mushrooms)
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon red chili paste (in a pinch, we combined Thai chili oil, Sriracha sauce and Hoisin sauce to make a paste)
1 small can bamboo shoots
1 small can water chestnuts (you can buy them already sliced)
1 small can straw mushrooms
18 ounces firm tofu, drained and cubed
three small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons sesame oil
green onion, chopped (to garnish)

Directions:
If using dried mushrooms, reconstitute them in water according to package directions. Heat oil in wok or large pot. When the oil is hot, add ginger, chile paste and chicken, cook for about two-minute. Add bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and mushrooms, cook for about a minute. In a bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper and sugar and pour into wok. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes (don’t rush this. The simmering is what seals in the hot and sour flavors). Add tofu and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water and add to soup and cook until thickened (this will make the soup cloudy and thick, but don’t add too much cornstarch or it will gelatinize . Stir soup in one direction to get current going then add beaten egg, it will look feathery. Stir the soup brining the contents from the bottom to the top> Garnish soup with green onion and serve.

My Opinion:
Make sue you leave the soup on low for seconds. The second bowl is always better than the first. The only thing we might add in the future is some shrimp or an onion. The soup is even better the next day!

Here’s a photo of the King Doh version.
King Doh Hot and Sour Soup

Green Chicken Enchiladas


Using the tomatillo salsa recipe as a base, we made these amazing Green Chicken Enchiladas. While a bit time consuming, the recipe makes more than enough to freeze half and reheats very well. If you plan to freeze, just leave off the cheese!

Ingredients:
1/4 to 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa (for the chicken mixture), plus 1/4 for the bottom of the pan and about 1/2 to 2/3 cup for the top (under the cheese)
2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium Onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin
1/4 cup All-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
Chopped cilantro leaves
3 pounds boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 large Flour tortillas (we used the burrito sized ones)
1/2 pound Monterey Jack (or Mexican blend) cheese, shredded
2 cups Sour cream, if desired
Chopped tomatoes and cilantro leaves for garnish, if desired

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roast chicken in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until cooked though.  Let cool and then shred.  Set aside. For more flavor, season the chicken with salt, pepper and cumin prior to roasting.  While the chicken is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and caramelized , approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin then cook for another minute. Sprinkle on the flour and stir to ensure the flour doesn’t burn.  Gradually add the chicken stock. Continue stirring over a low simmer until the flour cooks and the liquid thickens. Turn off the heat, add 1/4 cup of the tomatillo salsa and some additional fresh chopped cilantro and fold in the shredded chicken meat. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

To make the Enchiladas, take a large baking dish and smear the bottom with some of the reserved tomatillo salsa. Mix the salsa, cheese and the chicken mixture together in a bowl.  Put a scoop of the shredded chicken-enchilada mix  in an Enchilada. Fold the tortilla over the filling and roll to enclose it. Place the tortillas in the baking dish and continue to do the same with all eight tortillas. Finally pour the reserved enchilada sauce and top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Garnish with cilantro and tomato, sour cream and guacamole if desired.

My opinion:
Perfect for a hot, summer evening.

Thai Chicken Fried Rice with Basil


If you can’t already tell, I love Asian cuisine. Since we’ve been eating at home more often, J has tried to recreate my favorite dishes at home. He finally got my favorite Thai dish down. I won’t say it’s as good as my favorite Thai restaurant in town, because it might be better!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil (or peanut or sesame, whatever you have on hand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh Thai red chili pepper chopped (or if you can’t find fresh, rehydrate dry, or just use your favorite rooster sauce)
8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces and velveted (again this is the secret!)
2 cups cooked rice cold (cooked and cold, really cold. Like from the refrigerator cold. Also, use Jasmine, You’ll thank me.)
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 tablespoon Fish sauce
1 tablespoon Soy sauce (if you want to be adventurous try golden soy sauce if you can find it)
2 tablespoons shallots chopped
1/3 cup Thai holy basil (regular basil or Thai purple is also delicious)
1 tablespoon Fresh Cilantro, chopped (we’ve occasionally accidentally left this out, opps!)

Directions:
First velvet the chicken by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Stir the chicken to separate and stir again. Simmer for about 2 minutes until the chicken turns white. Drain the chicken. In a wok or large skillet, stir-fry garlic in oil until golden; then add chilies and chicken and stir-fry until chicken is cooked. Add rice, sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce, and stir-fry, mixing gently. When well mixed, add shallots, basil leaves and cilantro; cook another minute or so, and serve. If you desire, serve with lime wedges, chile sauce, fish sauce, or soy sauce at the table.

My opinion:
Could I really say more than I said above? I. love. this. dish. LOVE.