Harissa Spiced Honey Roasted Chicken Thighs with Persimmons and Lemons

This spicy harissa and persimmon chicken is a little sweet, a little spicy, and packed with flavor! It’s the perfect one-skillet winter meal!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Marinade:
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-4 teaspoons harissa dry seasoning or paste, to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Chicken:
4 to 5 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup white wine
1 large shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 to 4 fuyu persimmons, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary,finely minced
1/4 cup water

 

DIrections:
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Place the chicken in a shallow dish or Ziploc bag, cover with the marinade and toss to coat. Let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature. For best results, allow the chicken marinate in the fridge overnight, just be sure to let it come to room temperature for an hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.Shake off excess marinade before searing the chickenm but do not wipe it all off as that’s what gives you the flavorful crust Sear the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side or until there is a golden brown crust. Remove from the skillet and place ona clean plate and set aside.

Pour in the wine to deglaze the skillet, then add in the thyme, rosemary, garlic shallots, persimmons and lemons. Add the water. Return the chicken back to the skillet and place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through to an internal temperature of 160°F and the skin is crisped.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

Cook’s Notes:

Yogurt:
You can substitute the Greek yogust with plain full fat yogurt.

Chicken:
Chicken Breasts can be used in place of the chicken thighs, if desired.


Persimmons:
There are two main types of persimmons that you’re likely to see at the grocery store between October and Januray, hachiya and fuyu.

Hachiya persimmons are elongated and shaped like a heart or acorn, they are very astringent, like quince, before they are ripe You don’t want to eat them unless they are extremely soft to the touch (almost soupy on the inside).

Fuyu persimmons are shaped like a tomato like the ones above in the photo, and have a delicately sweet flavor similar to peaches. They can be eaten when they are still very firm and are still delicious when they soften.For this recipe, you would want them on the firmer side.

Note that persimmons that are very firm will last at home for about two weeks if stored in the crisper draw in the fridge.


Turkish Red Lentil and Rice Soup

IMG_0335 lentils

Did you know that lentils are edible seeds from the legume family? They are well known for their lens shape and sold with or without their outer husks intact.Though they are  a common food staple in Asian and North African cuisines, the greatest production of lentils nowadays is in Canada.

For the most part, lentils have a number of health benefits. They are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and serve as an excellent source of protein. They  also pack health-promoting polyphenols and may reduce several heart disease risk factors and type 2 diabetes.

Lentils are often categorized by their color, which can range from yellow and red to green, brown or black. Red lentils are  are split and cook quickly. They’re great for making dal and soups and have a somewhat sweet and nutty flavor.  And the best part about lentils is that they are easy to cook and do not require pre soaking prior to cooking, making them perfect for soups and stews.

And with that being said, Turkish Red Lentil and Rice Soup fits the bill for healthy eating on a budget, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

This simple, yet robust soup is rich with spices and tomato. It gets a pleasantly thick body from white rice and  red lentils, which soften and break down during cooking. The Aleppo pepper is a wonderful addition, lending a gentle heat. If you can’t find it, order online or substitute with an additional teaspoon of paprika and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. 

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup red lentils
2 tablespoons long-grain white rice
3 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt, to taste
For the Aleppo pepper oil:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
For Serving:
Chopped fresh mint leaves or basil leaves
Lemon wedges 

In a large saucepan over medium, melt the butter. Once it has stopped foaming, add the onion then sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, paprika and cumin, then sauté for 1 minute.
Add the lentils, rice, water, vegetable broth and 2 teaspoons salt, then bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the lentils and rice are tender and broken down, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan. Add the Aleppo pepper and cook until a few bubbles appear and the oil is bright red. Remove from heat and set aside. Serve the soup with Aleppo pepper oil drizzled over each serving.
Serve with mint or basil and lemon wedges.

Shrimp and Fried Avocado Tacos

stacked-shrimp-fried-avocado-tacos-fwx
Photo Credit: Dennis Prescott, 2016.

 

Take your avocado obsession to the next level by rolling them in breadcrumbs, baking them to crispy perfection and stuffing them in a tortilla with a few spicy shrimp. This version of a textural dream that is crunchy, spicy, and refreshing, all at the same time.We are sure that your hunger for tacos will never be the same on Taco Tuesday!

Serves 8

Ingredients:
For the Avocados:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large egg whites
1 cup Japanese panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium firm but ripe avocados

For the Slaw:
1 lime
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 small red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for serving

For the Spiced Shrimp:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
24 medium (31-40 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
A squeeze of fresh lime juice

For Assembly:
8 small flour tortillas, warmed
Lime wedges, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Chopped tomatoes, for serving

Directions:
To make the avocados:
Heat oven to 425°F.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Lightly beat the egg whites in a second small bowl. In a third small bowl, combine the panko with the oil.

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit and peel. Cut each half into ½-inch-thick slices. Working with one slice at a time, coat avocado slices lightly in flour, then in the egg, letting any excess drip off and finally in the panko, pressing gently to help it adhere. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining avocado slices. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

To make the slaw: Finely grate the lime, making zest, into a large bowl, then squeeze in 2 tablespoon juice from the same lime. Whisk in the mayonnaise and a pinch of salt. Add the cabbage, scallions, and jalapeño and toss to coat; fold in the cilantro. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble to tacos.

For the shrimp: In a medium bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili and onion powders, paprika, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add in shrimp and toss to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or up to 24 hours for best results.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a a large heavy-duty or cast iron skillet on high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the shrimp.and cook until  just cooked through and slightly pink, about 3 minutes. Do this in batches if necessary with more oil; the shrimp should be in a single layer.   Turn off heat and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. 

To assemble:  Grill tortillas on stove top over the flame until lightly charred.  Fill the tortillas with the avocados and top with the cabbage slaw, followed by three of four shrimp. Serve with extra cilantro, lime wedges, sour cream and chopped tomatoes, if desired.

Enjoy!