THE humble chicken is a worldwide menu superstar.
No other meat is as widely used in as many varied preparations. Instead of settling for boring baked chicken breasts, try one of these easy recipes and give your chicken an international flair.
QUICKIE CHICKIE THAI CURRY
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tsp red Thai curry paste (available in the Asian food aisle), or more or less to taste
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup low-sodium chicken
broth 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce (nam pla) or soy sauce
1 tsp light brown sugar
1½ cups bite-sized cauliflower florets
2 cups baby spinach
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Lime wedges to garnish
Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the red pepper and onion; cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about four minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and curry paste; stir to combine well. Add the chicken pieces and cook, stirring, until mixture is very fragrant, about two minutes. Stir in the broth, coconut milk, fish sauce or soy sauce and brown sugar; bring to a simmer. Add the cauliflower; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the spinach and lime juice and cook until spinach is just wilted. Serve immediately over jasmine or basmati rice, with lime wedges to garnish. Makes four servings.
GREEK LEMON CHICKEN
You could add half a cup of pitted Kalamata olives for the last 15 minutes of cooking time.
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced (use more or less depending on your taste)
1-2 tsp dried oregano (again, use more or less as desired)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
6-8 small red-skinned potatoes, cut into half-inch slices
1 large green pepper, cut into strips
1 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges
½ pound mushrooms, wiped clean and stem ends trimmed
4 bone-in chicken breasts, skin-on (you can remove the skin after cooking if desired)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first seven ingredients in a small bowl; set aside. Grease a large baking dish or roasting pan (preferably stoneware, for some reason it works best).
Place the potato slices, green pepper, onion and mushrooms in the pan; drizzle half the lemon juice mixture over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and drizzle the remaining lemon juice mixture on top; rub it into the chicken with your fingers. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the centre, about 1 hour, basting with the pan juices every 15 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
½ cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
¼ lb mozzarella or Fontina cheese, grated or thinly sliced
1 medium onion, grated or very finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 540-ml can crushed tomatoes
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
To make the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat combine the onion and two tablespoons olive oil. Sauté for two to three minutes; add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and sugar. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat completely dry. Working with one chicken breast at a time, place the chicken between two layers of plastic wrap and with a meat mallet or heavy rolling pin flatten meat to between one-quarter and one-half-inch thickness.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the eggs in a medium bowl and whisk them briefly; place the breadcrumbs and half cup of the Parmesan cheese in another medium bowl. Heat the one-quarter cup of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Using tongs, dredge the chicken pieces one at a time first in the beaten eggs and then in the crumb mixture to coat evenly. Pat the crumbs onto the chicken with your fingers to make sure they stick.
Gently sauté the coated chicken cutlets in the olive oil until they are evenly brown, about three to four minutes per side. Spread about three-quarters of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish.
Arrange the browned chicken pieces on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the chicken and sprinkle with the chopped basil. Top with the grated or sliced mozzarella or Fontina cheese, then sprinkle with the remaining half cup of Parmesan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until sauce is bubbling. Makes four servings. firstname.lastname@example.org