Thursday, February 25, 2010

Indonesian Spiced Chicken Thighs and Chickpea and Cauliflower Kind of Casserole Thing

This was a 5:00-what-am-I-cooking-for-dinner-that-involves-a-new-vegetable-prep things. One of my loose goals for 2010 was to cook vegetables with more forethought and less afterthought, so I stepped up to the plate last night. (heh, heh.) It's Thursday, so the pickins are getting slim around here for fresh veggies and I was just not in the mood for salad. I'd already decided on Pam Anderson's Grilled Indonesian Spiced Chicken Thighs. That's one of my standbys and you'll be seeing that one again on a weekly menu post. It's quick, easy, and gives you a chance to use some of that turmeric you may have bought for the Arroz Con Pollo.

So having established the primary flavor area for dinner, I sat down with my copy of Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Special thanks here to my neighbor Morgan, who loaned me her copy so I could see what use I could make of it for preparing better vegetables. I flipped through it for cauliflower recipes since that's about all I had that was fresh. And I found a great looking recipe for cauliflower baked with chickpeas.

No, of course I know that chickpeas aren't some hybrid chicken/pea combination. I wouldn't eat it if it was. I hate peas. (Yeah, you heard me.)

I didn't take pictures of this dish because it wasn't very pretty. And you people know if we started out not pretty, with my photography skills, there's nowhere to go but down. But it was quite tasty. I put dinner in front of Pootie and he ate a little and said "Wow. This is good. I'm surprised. I didn't think it would be." It always surprises me when he says stuff like that - he's such a great eater - will try anything - and almost always is just happy to eat whatever I cook. Turns out, he DOES have an opinion sometimes. Of course, I was pushing cauliflower on him again, and he doesn't like it. If he did that to me with peas, I'd probably refuse to eat.

Indonesian Grilled Chicken Thighs
This is a slightly modified version of Pam Anderson's original one. I've removed the accompanying salsa because I didn't have mango. Also, I always cook these on a foil and parchment lined pan on the grill instead of straight on the grill. I'm willing to give up the pretty grill marks in exchange for not having to clean that thing.
Recipe By : Pamela Anderson who you can follow on Twitter @ThreeManyCooks
Serving Size : 6

1 Tbs ground ginger
1 Tbs ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
3 Tbs vegetable oil; more for the grill
1 Tbs Asian chile paste (like sambaloelek) (I used Sriracha)
1 Tbs dark brown sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about -- 8 large, 10 medium, or 12 small)

1. Mix the ginger, coriander, turmeric, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in an 8-inch skillet over low heat. Add the spices to the hot oil and heat until they bubble and become fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Return the spice blend to the bowl; stir in the chile paste, brown sugar, and salt. The mixture will be thick and pasty. Add the chicken and toss to coat evenly.

3. Now. Listen. This is where we part ways. I do this, as I mentioned, on a foil and parchment lined baking sheet on my gas grill. You could do that, or you could also bake it in the oven at about 400F since it's February and I know some of you don't have easy access to the grill this time of year. Prepare a hot charcoal fire or heat a gas grill with all burners on medium high for 10 min. Clean the hot grate with a wire brush (see? I'm just too lazy to do this part.) and then lubricate it with an oil-soaked paper towel. Put the chicken on the grate  and grill (covered on a gas grill or uncovered over a charcoal fire) until one side has dark grill marks, 5 to 6 min. for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs. Turn and continue to grill until well marked on the other sides and cooked through, 5 to 6 min. longer for large thighs or 4 to 5 min. for medium and small thighs.
I don't flip them, since I don't put them directly on the grill. They cook about 10 - 12 minutes total.

Baked Cauliflower and Chickpeas in Spicy Indian Tomato Sauce
Modified from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Serves 6
2 Tbs. olive or vegetable oil
1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets and rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh jalapeno
2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. chili powder
large pinch sugar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped roughly
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Put a medium pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno and saute until the onion is limp, about five minutes. Add the garam masala, the chili powder and the sugar and stir until incorporated. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until they have rendered their juices a little, about 3 minutes. Add the cilantro and the coconut milk and stir. Add the chickpeas and cauliflower and stir to evenly distribute.

Pour all of this into a 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked through.

Shopping List:

1 small head Cauliflower
Fresh ginger (you need about an inch, so a small piece)
1 - Jalapeno

2.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs

Spice Aisle
Chile powder
Garam Masala
Ground ginger
Ground coriander
garlic powder
kosher salt
black pepper

Asian Food Aisles
Asian Chile Paste (you can use Sriracha)

Other Aisles
Vegetable or olive oil
Dark brown sugar
28 oz can Chickpeas
28 oz. can Whole Tomatoes
1 can coconut milk

If you would like a printable, .pdf version of the recipes and the shopping list minus my brilliant commentary, click here. You must have Adobe reader installed on your computer to view this file.

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