Soy Ginger Chicken Fajitas

I’ve said before on the blog that I’m not a huge fan of most 30 minute or less recipes and with a few exceptions, I’m standing behind that. No shade to Rachael, but I just prefer to take a little bit more time with preparing my food. The longer that the spices have to cook, the more they can infuse into the ingredients and make them taste better. There are certain dishes–like braises or stews that I actually prefer to eat the next day after I’ve cooked them, just to give the flavors time to develop. I could name a few desserts that work the same way.

For the most part, it’s just better to have at least one hour of cooking time available for your dishes–better for the food and also better for your tastebuds. Now, I did say ‘for the most part’. There are exceptions to every rule.

After all, sometimes after a very long day when you come home hungry and dog tired,  the last thing you probably want to do is get out a bunch of dishes and stand over a stove for a prolonged period of time just to whip up a meal. You just want to sit down and be able to eat. I get it.

A perfectly cooked and steak can (and depending on the size, should) certainly be made in thirty minutes or less. With a tasty enough sauce, most stir fries can be whipped up in 30 minutes. I can make myself a delicious egg in the basket in less than 10. I’m certainly not above browning some ground beef, using a taco seasoning packet and taco sauce to make quick tacos. And if I REALLY don’t feel like cooking, yes. I too will pick up a rotisserie chicken, shred that bad boy and mix it into a homemade salad for dinner.

And then there’s fajitas. Chicken fajitas is another one of the ‘quick meals’ we whip up around here when no one feels like doing much labor intensive cooking, but we also don’t want to order out either. I usually make huge batches of it to last a few days and we can use the meat for various types of meals: tacos, salads, sandwiches, whatever. Today’s recipe is the latest version I made for us. Normally I stick to a Latin cuisine flavor profile, but this time I switched it up a bit. Here the chicken is flavored with soy sauce, mirin, ginger and sesame oil so that they have more of an Asian flair to them.

A few things I particularly love about this: first, it doubles as both a 30 minute meal, BUT the spices have also been given plenty of time to permeate the chicken and give them plenty of flavor thanks to a marinade that they sit in overnight. The night before, mix together the marinade and place the chicken inside. The next day when you’re ready to put dinner together, all you gotta do is cook the chicken over high heat so that it cooks quickly, then give a quick saute to some onions and peppers. That’s it. Plenty of flavor to go around for what’s a pretty low effort meal. I know I don’t have to say it but I will anyway: this was really good stuff. Please do help yourself.

Linking this up to Fiesta Friday #209, co-hosted by Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

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Soy Ginger Chicken Fajitas

Recipe Adapted from Williams Sonoma

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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup mirin
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced thin
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced thin
  • 1 large yellow sweet onion
  • A few tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil
  • Tortilla shells, for serving

Directions

Cut the chicken into small strips and place inside a gallon size Ziploc bag.

Combine the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and brown sugar in a bowl. Pour over the chicken in the Ziploc bag and seal. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate overnight.

Pour the oil into a large skillet and bring to a medium-high heat. Take the chicken out of the marinade and sear it in batches in the skillet until golden brown. Keep cooked chicken in a bowl you cover with foil until all of it is cooked.

Once the meat is finished, saute the peppers with the onions in the skillet until softened and slightly charred, about 5-10 minutes.

Spoon the chicken into tortilla shells with the veggies and serve drizzled with sweet chili sauce and/or sriracha.

Marcus Samuelsson’s Chipotle Chicken

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a habit of doing some kind of reading just before I go to bed. No matter where I am, whether it’s been at home, in a hotel while traveling, at my dorm room and apartment when I was in college, or even visiting at another person’s house, I always have a book that I carry with me and place on a night stand just beside the bed within arms reach that I read before I go to sleep. Besides the fact that I think it somewhat helps my body ‘wind down’ to sleep, I’ve always just really loved reading.

Now what exactly I read has shifted somewhat over the years. At first and for a while, I mainly stuck to fiction but as my interests have evolved, so has my reading preferences. For a while I was in a real historical non-fiction/biography kick, so I was reading those a lot.  But nowadays, my bedside reading mainly comprises of two things: cookbooks and food magazines.

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I’m serious you guys. That’s what I ‘read’ before I go to bed just about every night. I’m looking across from my bed right now and I can tell you exactly what’s there if you don’t believe me:

The Food Network Magazines from November 2014, December 2014, and January 2015 (they’re still there beacause I haven’t gotten around to cutting out the clippings of the recipes I want to try yet- but I will. Scout’s honor)

My recipe notebook for when I’m in the kitchen and recording a new recipe- it’s not very organized and it’s actually pretty beat up and stained with food from my haphazard kitchen adventures, but it does have a special place on my nightstand.

“Marcus Off Duty” by Marcus Samuelsson

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The third one has been a really particular favorite ever since I received it for a Christmas present from my older sister Ashley. I was just thrilled to get this book, guys. Number one, IT’S SIGNED by HIM (which literally made me scream when I opened it on Christmas Day, so not kidding) Number two, I’m a huge Marcus Samuelsson fan; aside from his MAD skills in the kitchen I really love his approach to reinventing comfort food as both sophisticated yet still approachable for ‘ordinary folk’ like me. Also, he’s one of the snappiest dressers I’ve ever seen, and rather easy on the eyes if you know what I mean *wink wink*

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The story of his rather extraordinary life is written in the wide diversity of his food, something that’s made very apparent in this latest cookbook of his. Ever since Christmas it’s stayed on my nightstand and not a day goes by when I don’t find myself coming back to skim through this book and pick something out that I really want to try out and make.

This recipe was the first one that I’ve gotten around to making because (of course) I’m always looking for new things to do with chicken. This may sound extreme for me to say, but it’s the truth so I’m gonna say it anyway: this is just about some of the best chicken I’ve ever had. Seriously. The marinade has so much complexity of flavors and they really do hit all the right notes; first you get the acidity from the lime juice, then the sweet citrus of the orange and chili sauce, and finally the heat from the adobo creeps up on you from the back of your tongue just as after you swallow. I have no idea how he manages to do that in just one recipe but I nonetheless bow down to Marcus’ greatness.

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One bite of this dish really makes you realize that this is somebody who not only knows how to cook, but also really understands the way the tongue processes and ‘reads’ flavors so to speak. What’s even more crazy is that he can do that with boneless, skinless chicken breasts- which I’ve noticed most chefs turn their noses up at as boring and tasteless.

This recipe originally called for the meat to be placed on skewers and either broiled or grilled. I did that, but I forgot to let my skewers soak overnight and could only let them sit in water for about an hour- which apparently wasn’t long enough to keep them from being scorched. No way was I letting burned, blackened, ugly skewers ruin my photoshoot, so I just slid the chicken off for the camera and dressed it up with how I ate it after it was done; wrapped in a tortilla with rice on the rice. So friggin GOOD.

I’m late to the Fiesta Friday #54 party this week, but that’s okay. Thanks to Angie@TheNoviceGardener for hosting, and  Sonal @simplyvegetarian777 and Josette @thebrookcook for co-hosting.

And HUGE thanks to Marcus for his cookbook, as well as this bomb.com chicken.


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Marcus Samuelsson's Chipotle Chicken

Recipe Courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson

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Ingredients

For the Marinade:

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo (or more to taste)’
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. chile powder

For the Chicken

  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 medium red onions, cut through the root into sixths
  • 18 (6 inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh

Directions

1. Make the marinade: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if you need to.

2. Make the chicken: Put the chicken into 1-gallon zip-top bag, add 1/2 cup of the marinade and massage to coat all the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours (or overnight). Reserve the rest of the marinade.

3. Preheat the broiler; if using a gas grill, preheat to medium.

4. While the grill or broiler is heating up, slide 1 piece of onion onto each skewer, followed by 3 pieces of chicken. Continue until you’ve filled all the skewers. Arrange the skewers in a single layer with salt and pepper and brush 1/4 cup of the reserved marinade.

5. Broil the chicken skewers, without turning them, until the chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. If grilling, they’ll take 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and garnish with the sesame seeds, cilantro and basil.

6. Bring remaining marinade to a boil in a small saucepan and serve with the skewers.

Pigeon {Chicken} Pies

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Game of Thrones Series {Wee1}

You guys remember when I mentioned in my Chicken Stir-Fry post that I was thinking about doing a series that was centered around the HBO tv show “Game of Thrones”?

Well, I decided to go ahead and do it. I really think this may be one of the best series that I will ever do on the blog. I’m so excited for it and I think you guys will  like the recipes I’ve decided to put out. Ideally, I would have started this 3 weeks ago when the show first returned for its 4th season. However, since things don’t always go according to plan, I’m gonna be a late bloomer and hit the series off today, on the day that the 4th episode premiers. As the show only comes on once a week, I also decided that I would post the recipes once a week, every Sunday. I’m hoping to have a GoT recipe every Sunday until the end of the season. Knock on wood that I can actually pull it off…

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For those of you that don’t watch it, Game of Thrones is a medieval/fantasy show that’s centered around a complex, intricate plot of characters that are all involved in schemes, intrigues and webs that involve a fight over an Iron Throne and who will sit on it. It’s based on a series of wildly popular books by George R. R. Martin that still isn’t complete as of yet. I’ve only read the first book, and now that I’m watching the show, I don’t feel the need to read the other books and ‘spoil it’ for myself so far as the plot goes. This is actually one of the rare times when I prefer the cinema experience to the book experience of a story. The show writers and actors have all done a phenomenal job of  bringing Martin’s story to life and I wait every season/week to see what’s coming up next.

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Don’t quote me on this (for any book loyalists out there), but I believe  that pigeon pies are mentioned several times in the book series. My inspiration for them however, came from the episode with the Purple Wedding- arguably the best episode of Game of Thrones, like ever. Why? Because Joffrey Baratheon (i.e., the worst character to have ever graced the screen of my television)……

STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT A HUGE SPOILER.

was poisoned at the conclusion of the episode. I have to be honest guys, when I saw him start choking and gasping after drinking the wine and I realized what was actually happening,  I literally stood up and screamed out a resounding “YES!”

Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so, anyway.

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Anyway, back to the food. Just before that “huge” thing happens to Joffrey, an enormous pie filled with live pigeons is brought out at  he and Margery’s wedding that is typically served at festive , royal celebrations. In lieu of that momentous episode, I thought I would make a rendition of ‘piegon pie’ for my first recipe of the GoT series on the blog. Although I’m sure they’re plentiful in King’s Landing, Pigeons are…kinda scarce in the grocery stores of my neck of the USA.  However, we’ve got plenty of chicken. So I decided, hey, I’ll just use chicken breast- it’s all the same so long as it’s still poultry, right?

My original plan was to make this into one big chicken pie, however at the very last moment I decided to try to make them into individual servings. I thought it would look more medieval/rustic, or whatever. Aren’t they cute? I can just imagine them being made in a medieval style Westeros bakery and then being hawked on the street by some portly guy pushing a wooden cart down some  narrow cobblestone street and-

Okay, never mind.

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However, I will say though, that doing it my way will require using quite a few pie crusts for the recipe to cut out the dough for the individual muffin tins (around 8 full crusts). If that’s too many for you, then feel free to dump the whole thing into one 11 x 14 dish, or into 2 deep dish pie crusts. That’s perfectly fine.

So let’s talk about taste. I’m totally fine with admitting that I used a Pillsbury pie crust for these. I definitely didn’t feel like making 8 recipes of pie crust. Nope, I didn’t. (If you do, then congratulations: you were Betty Crocker in a past life.) The store bought brand was stills a delicious crust; flaky and buttery and the perfect compliment to the filling.  Ohhh you guys the filling: rich, hearty and thick, bursting with huge chunks of chicken and vegetables in every bite. You could put away two or three of these babies easily…maybe even more (not that I would know about that from experience, though.)

In short, these pies were just as satisfying to eat as it was to watch the episode with the Purple Wedding. If that doesn’t tell you how delicious they are, then I honestly don’t know what will.

Stay tuned for next Sunday, where I’ll be sharing my next Game of Thrones recipe 🙂

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Pigeon {Chicken} Pies

Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie style chicken
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cups yellow onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 16 oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, peas and green beans)
  • 8 pie crusts (4 boxes of pre-made refrigerated crusts, like Pillsbury)
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Directions

1.  Remove skin from rotisserie chicken and discard. Pull chicken off the bones and discard carcass. Roughly chop chicken into bite sized cubes. You should have about 4 to 6 cups.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.

3. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add heavy cream, sugar, onion powder, pepper, rosemary, and coriander. Add the cubed chicken, onions and mixed veggies. Mix well.

4. Remove chicken mixture from heat and allow to slightly cool. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 2 12 cup muffins tins thoroughly with cooking spray. Roll out 1 pie crust at a time on a floured, smooth surface

5. Using a 4 1/2 inch round (like from a small bowl), cut out shapes for bottom crust. Line crust in bottoms of muffin tins, making sure that the edges come out over the tops of the tins.

6. Spoon cooled chicken mixture into crust lined tins, about 2 heaping tablespoons per pie. Use a 4-inch round to cut out shapes for the top crusts. Place crust over the tops of tins, crimping the bottom crust edges together with the top ones to seal the pies. Spray pie tops with cooking spray.

7. Bake pies for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before removing from muffin tins (they will be very hot).

 

 

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