Weekly Winner: One-Pan Peanut-Poultry-Potato ‘Palooza!

peanut chile chickenPeanut butter and chicken are like that unlikely paired odd couple you know.  “What do they see in each other?”  “How does that work? They’re nothing alike”.  Perhaps the answer is as easy as: They simply bring out the best or unexpected in each other.  Such is the case with Crispy Peanut-Chile Chicken with Sweet Potatoes.  While you maybe wouldn’t automatically think to combine spicy chiles, chicken, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and peanuts….once you do, you will understand the magic.

This unexpected recipe comes from Fine Cooking Magazine.  It comes together fairly quickly and easily –everything cooks in the same pan (easy cleanup!) so is quite doable for a weekday meal but also different enough and presents nice enough for a company dish.

Crispy Peanut-Chile Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, creamy or chunky
  • 2 Thai bird chiles, minced (keep the seeds from one of them)
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2-1/3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 6 cups), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 lb.)
  • 7 oz. cherry tomatoes (about 1 cup)
  • 2 oz. (1/2 cup) shelled roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Procedure:

  • Thoroughly combine the peanut butter, chiles, 3 Tbs. of the oil, the lemon juice, 2 tsp. of the garlic, and 3/4 tsp. salt in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Lightly sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt, and then add to the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour, massaging every 15 minutes.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 375°F. Heat the remaining 2 Tbs. of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, on medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, the remaining garlic, 2 Tbs. cilantro, and 1/2 tsp. salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and the garlic is fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes. Cover the pan, and cook until the sweet potatoes just start to soften, stirring once, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • Remove the lid from the skillet, and add the tomatoes. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and place smooth side up over the tomatoes, spooning marinade on top of each. Scatter the peanuts over the chicken, and then transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 30 minutes.
  • Heat the broiler on high, then cook until the top of the chicken and the peanuts turn light golden, 1 to 2 minutes, watching closely so that it doesn’t burn. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving, sprinkled with the remaining cilantro.

Weekly Winner: With A Little Help From My Friend

IMG_0731  I am not a breakfast person.  As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I have never included a single recipe for breakfast in here.  It’s not that I don’t eat breakfast, it’s just that I’m kind of a “grab and go” breakfast eater.  I realize that many people out there LOVE breakfast, either going out for it or making an extravagant weekend breakfast at home.  One such person is my BFF Ellen who was planning a visit this past weekend.

Ellen does not cook.  She does, however, greatly appreciate those who do.  So when we were planning what to do for her upcoming visit, I asked what her favorite breakfast was.  “Waffles and bacon,” she said.  Well see, that’s a problem.  Not being a “breakfast person” means I don’t own a waffle iron.  So I countered with “Bacon is never a problem in this house, but how about pancakes?”  Turns out, she also loves pancakes.  Another problem:  I’ve never in my life made pancakes … before this weekend.

Armed with a new culinary challenge, I knew plain, simple pancakes would not suffice.  No, if I was going to enter the breakfast world with pancakes…these were going to be special.  Enter this week’s Weekly Winner, Peanut Butter Pancakes with Jelly/Maple Syrup. 

So, on Saturday, into the kitchen we go to whip up this masterpiece.  For some one who never cooks, apparently she does have some experience in the pancake arena.  When the batter was mixed up, I was all set to add more milk to thin it out a bit.  “Oh no,” says Ellen “it looks perfect”.  And she was right. It was.

The pancake recipe comes from The Food Network.  The Jelly/Maple syrup was my creation.

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Makes about 12 pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar

1 egg

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk (plus extra if needed to thin)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, melted

2 Tbsp oil

4 Tbsp butter

Method:

Preheat a griddle or frying pan.  In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Slowly mix in egg, milk, peanut butter and oil until combined.  Add a little extra mil if batter feels too thick.  Let mixture sit 5 minutes.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter on griddle and move around to coat entire griddle.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake on griddle to form 5-inch pancakes.  The batter spreads as it cooks.  Fill griddle without crowding pancakes.  Flip when air pockets start to pop on the top.  Repeat with remaining butter and batter.

Jelly/Maple Syrup

In a small saucepan, combine one small jar of your favorite jelly with about 1/4 cup maple syrup.  Warm and whisk together.