Nom Nom Paleo

Whole30 Deliciousness: Dorie Greenspan’s When In Doubt, Chicken-In-The-Pot

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I’m obsessed with good food so I’ve always checked out food blogs to get ideas about what to cook or where to eat.  But since going Paleo, I’ve been dismayed to find that most of the recipes on my favorite food blogs are, unfortunately, carb-heavy dishes with Neolithic ingredients that I’ll be able to cook only as an occasional F-off/cheat meal.

That’s why I got so excited when I found Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Chicken-In-The-Pot. Dorie is an effing genius in the kitchen, and her well-written blog is so much fun to read. She’s definitely one of my food-blogging idols.

I made Chicken-In-The-Pot tonight with some modifications to make it Whole30 compliant and to customize it for my tastes. Dorie’s recipe is super-simple, really flexible, and the resulting dish was amazingly delicious.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • Approximately 2/3 cup avocado oil (in place of extra virgin olive oil)
  • 4 heads of garlic, broken into cloves, but left unpeeled
  • 16 shallots, peeled and trimmed
  • 8 carrots, peeled, trimmed and quartered
  • 4 celery stalks, trimmed and quartered
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary 
(she calls for 3 sprigs but my sprig was extra bushy – and I don’t really like this herb)
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 16 prunes (USE THEM! Don’t be afraid to add fruit to your savory dishes!)
  • 3 pounds of organic chicken drumsticks (you can also use 1 chicken, whole or cut-up but I like all dark meat)
  • 1 small green cabbage cut into 8 wedges (try Savoy cabbage)
  • 1 ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (I used extra chicken broth and the vinegar to replace the white wine called for in the original recipe)

Here’s what I did:

I preheated my oven to 450° F, assembled all my ingredients, and prepped my veggies.

(I ended up cutting the cabbage into eight wedges post photo, by the way.)

In two batches, I browned the garlic, shallots, carrots, and celery in a couple tablespoons of avocado oil over medium high heat…

…and placed the browned vegetables in my large Dutch oven. I added the herbs, lemon zest, and prunes to the vegetables and mixed everything together.

Don’t be leave out the prunes – they help balance the dish.

I love this brand:

(These super moist, sweet prunes make Sunsweet prunes taste like dessicated turds. I’m just sayin’…)

I seasoned my drumsticks with salt and pepper…

…and browned them in avocado oil over medium high heat (the browning part is optional per Dorie).

Then, I put the drumsticks on top of the vegetables in the Dutch oven and I added the cabbage wedges.

I whisked the chicken broth, ½ a cup of avocado oil, and apple cider vinegar together and poured it over the cabbage.

After adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper on top, I laid a sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil over the top of the cabbage, put my lid on top, and crimped the edges of the foil up and over the lip of the lid to form a tight seal.

Lastly: Into my oven for 70 minutes.

It smelled so good when I took the cover off!

I served the chicken with garlic and purple cauliflower mashed “potatoes” and baked Japanese yam.

Good stuff. I can’t wait to get Dorie’s new book in the mail in two days…

Sous Vide Crispy Chicken Thighs

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About a month ago, I posted videos of Michael Voltaggio’s recipe for sous vide crispy chicken thighs but tonight was the first time I actually made them. Man, his recipe is awesome. I’m competent in the kitchen but this recipe (and the SousVide Supreme) will make you look like a phenomenal cook. The only hands-on stuff I had to do was season the thighs, vacuum seal them with a pat of butter, dump them in the water bath, and brown them. I seasoned the thighs differently from how Mr. Voltaggio did but I followed his technique and that’s the part that will make you look like you have mad skillz.

Here’s what I assembled:

  • 6 skin-on, boneless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Your favorite seasoning
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, ghee, or duck fat
  • 2 tablespoons of lard

I started with my store-bought, skin-on, boneless thighs.  Hey, if you guys have great knife skills debone the thighs yourself.  I don’t have the skills or the time or the inclination. Sorry.

[Update on 5/30/12: I have since honed my deboning skills and I routinely use bone-in and skin-on thighs. I save the bones for quick pressure cooker bone broth.]

I patted the thighs dry and then I seasoned the flesh side with salt and pepper and some seasoning (I used garlic powder and dried thyme).

 Then, I vacuum sealed each thigh with a pat of butter.

I dunked all six thighs in my SousVide Supreme set at 150 F and I left them in there for 1.5 hours. When I took them out of the bath, I dunked two thighs in an ice bath (to cook off later in the week) and I stuck the other four thighs in between two baking sheets with my cast iron skillets on top for around 30 minutes.

I removed the flattened thighs from the plastic bags and dried them thoroughly.

I heated 2 tablespoons of lard over medium heat (not high) and when the lard started smoking, I added two thighs, skin side down.  I left them undisturbed for 5 minutes and then I flipped them over and fried them for an additional minute. 

Then, I removed the chicken thighs and placed them on a wire rack…

…before sprinkling some fleur de sel over the crisped skin.

You can serve the chicken thighs with your veggie sides of choice

These thighs are awesome.  Super crispy skin and juicy, tender, flavorful meat. It takes so little time and tastes so good!  Definitely a dish I’d serve company because you can sous vide it ahead of time and just crisp up the skin when it’s time to nosh. I can’t wait to fry up my remaining two thighs in the fridge…

Paleo Take Out: Rose International Market (Mountain View, CA)

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We’re throwing a birthday party for our kindergartner this Sunday, so I fought the crowds at Costco to get some supplies. Truth be told, he’s requested pizza for his party, so we ain’t throwing a 100% Paleo birthday bash for our son. It won’t be a complete carb-fest, though. I’m sous viding some flank steak and chicken breasts to serve along with stuff to make your own Cobb salad (e.g. salad greens, crumbled bacon, diced avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, crumbled blue cheese, and goat cheese).

After my Costco run, despite having grilled meat on sticks two nights in a row, I still had a hankering for more. So I made a pitstop at Rose International Market, a family-run Mediterranean market that also serves grilled kabobs from a small window out back by its parking lot. Sound sketchy? Whatevs. The kabobs are cheap and tasty.

I was really hungry so I ordered 5 kabobs: 2 koobideh and 1 each of chicken, lamb hearts…

…and mixed veggies.

Each order comes with some lavosh and a bag filled with herbs and a quarter of a raw onion. When I got home, I chucked the raw onion and lavosh and added some herbs, labneh, and cherry tomatoes to my plate.

I ended up eating just half of what I ordered (Fitbomb finished the rest for dinner). The koobideh and chicken were my favorite kabobs. Next time, I’m definitely gonna pass on the mixed veg kabob. The vegetables are of inferior quality and inconsistently cooked — they somehow managed to be charred and raw at the same time. Also, the texture of the lamb heart was a bit on the tough and rubbery side. In the end, these skewered meats aren’t the best I’ve ever had, but this place does satisfy my kabob cravings. And I did mention that it was cheap, right?

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

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Tonight, I start my week of graveyard shifts again. Harrumph. On days when I switch back to being nocturnal, I sleep my regular 8 hours the night before, get up and run errands during the day, and then take a 2-3 hour nap in the late afternoon before getting up to make dinner. 

Since I had a big-ass bag of pre-peeled garlic cloves in the fridge, I decided to make Ina Garten’s recipe for chicken with forty cloves of garlic for dinner (well, technically, it’s breakfast for me).  The only modifications I made: Using pre-peeled garlic (why wouldn’t you?) and leaving out the flour that Garten uses as a sauce-thickening agent. I don’t think Cognac is Paleo but I used it anyway.

Assemble:

  • 40 cloves of pre-peeled garlic
  • 2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths (I used 6 thighs and 6 drumsticks)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (it’s easier than plucking and chopping the leaves)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, sauté the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don’t want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium.

When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to sauté all the chicken in batches. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done.

Plop the chicken on a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

Here’s what I assembled (yes, that’s a bottle of Two Buck Chuck):

The chicken browning in the Dutch oven:

All the legs and thighs piled up post-browning:

Browning the cloves of garlic in the rendered fat:

Simmering the cloves in wine and Cognac:

Simmering the sauce after the chicken has been removed:

Finished!

Next up: Some easy side dishes.

Baked sweet potatoes from my toaster oven:

and nuked organic green beans:

My dinner/breakfast plate: