Baharat Spiced Persian Roasted Chicken

109726378_3067051656677298_2260557059472754986_oBaharat is often used in Arabic cooking- most commonly in Persian and Turkish dishes to add spice and a little heat to meat dishes, couscous, and tagines. The warm exotic flavors of Baharat are an easy way to spice up simple dishes and give them a little intrigue.

The word “Baharat” simply means “spices” in Arabic, and this wonderfully complex blend has a unique balance of flavors. The chicken is rubbed down with salt and Baharat Spice, seared on the stove and finished in the oven until golden and crispy. Serve with saffron rice, cucumber yogurt sauce and salad and you’ll have a simple, delicious, Middle Eastern style dinner.

baharat-spice-mix

Photo Credit: Feasting at Home, 2014.

Baharat consists of cumin, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, peppercorns, allspice, star of anise and black lemon. For the record, black Lemons are actually dried limes, and owe their misnomer to the English translation from Arabic. They are typically used in Middle East cooking to add sourness or acidity to chutneys, soups and stews and even ground into flat breads.Ground Black Lemons have a sweet-tart flavor that is unique and really has no substitute. You can order black lemons from specialty gourmet markets found online. For this recipe, if you cannot find black lemons, you can omit them. However, in this case I used finely grated lime zest and a pinch of sugar.

Traditionally, to make the Baharat spice mix, you would normal roast whole spices and then place all the spices in a coffee grinder, and pulse until it is ground. In this version, ground spices were used. It’s perfectly fine to substitute ground spices, although the more whole seeds you have, the better the flavor. But don’t let the lack of the whole seeds stop you from making this dish.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
For the Chicken:
4 – 6 Chicken thighs, bone in, skin on.
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Baharat Spice Blend:
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cardamon
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground star of anise
1/2 teaspoon finely ground lime zest

For the Cucumber Salad:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 large English cucumber, thinly sliced
2 –3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, dill, parsley and cilantro
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 small  shallot, minced
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
A pinch of cayenne  pepper

For Serving:
Cooked Jasmine Rice
Cucumber Salad, see recipe below.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 º F.

Place the cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Set aside.

To make the  Barahat Spice, add all the spices to a small bowl and stir to combine.

Sprinkle both sides of  the chicken generously with kosher salt. Rub in a generous amount , abut ¾ teaspoon of Baharat Spice on both sides of each piece of chicken.

Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Sear chicken, in hot oil, skin side down for 3 – 4 minutes, until golden and crispy. Turn over and sear other side, turning heat down to medium. Sear another 3 – 4 minutes. Place the skillet in the middle of the oven, uncovered, and baked until cooked through, about 15 – 20 minutes or until internal temp reaches 170 º F ( for thighs) and juices run clear. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

To make cucumber salad, drain the cucumber slices and pat dry with paper towels. Add the cucumber the remaining salad ingredients to a medium bowl. Gently fold to combine.

To serve family style, arrange the chicken on a platter and garnish fresh mint leaves, if desired. Serve the chicken with the Jasmine rice and cucumber salad.

 

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Ginger Shrimp and Asparagus Stir Fry

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An easy stir fry that you can quickly prep ahead of time for the whole week! Simply add jasmine rice and you’re set! If you don’t have a wok, use a saute pan or even a cast irons skillet. Just make sure you get it nice and hot before starting—stir-fry is a high-heat, quick-cooking operation. And, if you do have a wok, gold star goes to you! Use it!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons water, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons safflower or other high-heat oil
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
8 shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced into 1/4-inch strips
1 Fresno chile or jalapeño, sliced into thin rings
2 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
Cooked jasmine rice, for serving

 

Directions:

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water, lemon juice, orange juice, rice vinegar and sugar. Set aside.

In another small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of water and the cornstarch. Whisk with a fork until the cornstarch has dissolved. Set aside the slurry.

Heat a large wok,  sauté pan or a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan evenly. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the shrimp, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and chile and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the asparagus and continue to cook for an additional minute. Add reserved soy sauce mixture to the pan and cook for 1 minute.

Stir the slurry to be sure the cornstarch hasn’t settled, then add it to the stir-fry. Toss and cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve immediately with jasmine rice.

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Garlic Butter Chicken Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

These garlic butter chicken meatballs are low-carb, gluten free, and all around better for you without skipping out on any of the tastiness.

meatballs
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 pound ground chicken
5 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 pound zucchini noodles (zoodles)

Directions:
In a large bowl mix together ground chicken, 2 garlic cloves, egg, Parmesan, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper then form into tablespoon sized meatballs.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and cook meatballs until golden on all sides and cooked through, 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and wipe out skillet with a paper towel.

Melt butter in skillet then add remaining 3 garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add zoodles to skillet and toss in garlic butter then squeeze in lemon juice.

Add the meatballs back to the skillet and heat just until warmed through. Garnish with Parmesan to serve.

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