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Archive for November, 2013

West African Peanut Stew

West African Peanut Stew is one of the current favorites at our house. It’s a creamy peanut butter flavored thick soup with cooked veggies (any my additions, below). I love it because I love most things peanut and savory, and it’s VERY easy to make and healthy. Molly loves it because it’s peanut butter so kinda tastes like kid food. And Michael likes it because it’s hearty and filling and super flavorful. It’s a great one-pot dinner with all your protein and veggies built in. I’ve also used this recipe recently when bringing meals to families who are gluten-free.

My adaptations are as follows:

1. Use my favorite chicken shortcut and buy a rotisserie chicken from your usual grocery store. Shred the white meat and add at the very end. The meat is already cooked and flavorful so you really only want to rewarm it – it will get tough quickly if cooked too long or too hot.

2. I add a can of chickpeas (drained) for extra protein and umph.

3. As suggested, serve over brown rice or just stir it in for a thicker meal for kids.

4. Since we aren’t hard core vegetarians, I usually use chicken stock since that’s what I keep stocked at our house. Either chicken or vegetable stock is fine.

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About a month ago, I finally made my way through a back issue of Food and Wine that arrived around the same time my baby did…and was sitting gathering dust for a few months. I was hesitant to throw it away because it looked very interesting – an anniversary issue with years worth of ‘best of’ recipes. They did their top 20 recipes for the past (30? I think?) years. Though I don’t often make chicken, I was intrigued by the dish labeled the “Best Chicken Dish” – Roast Chicken with Bread Salad. Considering how many chicken dishes must have been showcased in the magazine over the years, it seemed worth trying.

I made this last weekend when we had friends for dinner. It was amazing. Simply salting (I didn’t have time to add the garlic or thyme under the skin) the chicken overnight produced an extremely crispy and golden brown skin and insanely moist meat. We put the chicken in a cast iron pan on the grill to 500, instead of the oven, since our oven tends to smoke above 425. You pour the pan juices over the bread salad recipe, which is essentially just super delicious croutons. I found them a bit too crispy, and that the chicken didn’t make quite as much pan juice as I wanted. Next time I would add some chicken stock and white wine to the pan juices, simmer a bit, then pour over the croutons so that they are a bit more moist. The flavor, though, was out of this world. If you’re making it for company, be more efficient than I was and follow the ‘make ahead’ directions on the bread salad so that you have very little to do once guests have arrived.

I served it with this Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad which is very flavorful, healthy and can also be made in advance. We had a nice Sauvignon Blanc alongside which was perfect. And a pumpkin pie for dessert, to keep it very fall-ish feeling. All around a really delicious and fun meal to serve for a special occasion!

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