Weekly Winner:  Great Gobs of Garlicky Goodness

I have learned that when you introduce chicken, yogurt and garlic to a dinner party, wonderful things are bound to happen.  Chicken Tikka Masala, one of my favorites, starts with these three and when two of the three eventually find their way into a sauce for the third? Well that’s pure dinner magic.

I realize marinating chicken in yogurt is not new, but I still tend to be amazed at the results.  You just can’t beat it for tender, juicy, succulent chicken.  That’s just what happened when I decided to try out this recipe for Garlic-Curry Chicken Thighs with Yogurt Sauce which was delivered to my email inbox via Epicurious.

This is one of those meals that basically, once you get it marinating, your done.  It cooks itself without any fussing, turning or basting.  Just throw it in the oven and enjoy the garlicky-chickeny aroma which will waft through your house.

And yes, a final note to my mother, sister and whoever else may be concerned over the lack of vegetables on the plate.  There was a dinner salad that did not make it in the photo.

Garlic-Curry Chicken Thighs With Yogurt Sauce

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 head of garlic (about 12 cloves), peeled and finely chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp curry powder

2 cups plain Greek yogurt, divided

2-1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided

12 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Procedure:

  1. Mix garlic, curry powder, 1 cup yogurt, 2 tsp salt, and 1/4 cup water in a large bowl.  Working in batches, add chicken thighs and turn to coat, using your hands to rub marinade under skin of each thigh.  Transfer to a resealable plastic bag and chill at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 425F.  Transfer marinated chicken, skin side up, to a 13×9″ baking dish.  Roast chicken until skin is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165F, about 35 minutes.  If chicken skin starts to burn, move pan to a lower rack to finish cooking.
  3. Transfer chicken to a  serving platter, reserving the pan juices.  Whisk lemon juice, 1/4 cup pan juices, remaining 1 cup yogurt, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl.  If sauce is too thick, add more pan juices.  Serve sauce alongside chicken.

Weekly Winner:  A Peculiar Little Pasta

I honestly did not know what to expect with this pasta dish.  It was one of the few recipes that, having read it, I just couldn’t imagine what it was going to taste like.  I knew I liked everything listed in it, but could not fathom the final outcome.

Orecchiette with Sausage, Chickpeas and Mint.  Who thinks up these things?  Apparently Food and Wine Magazine does.

So when a free night arrived, I decided to whip this up.  It all seemed a tad beige to me and I happened to have some spare baby arugula in the house so I threw that in for a bit of color.  Then I read the final line of the recipe: “Dollop with yogurt”. What?!?  Why?!?  I was actually going to forgo that step.  Then I did a quick taste test with and without the yogurt.  OK, seriously, these recipe creators know what they are doing!  It was way better with the yogurt!

Granted, it may not be much to look at, but it is one tasty pasta dish.  It is oddly appealing and somewhat addicting.  It’s the type of dish you just keep going back for one more forkful.  Do try it, but definitely don’t leave out the yogurt!

Orecchiette with Sausage, Chickpeas and Mint

Ingredients:

1 lb orecchiette

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 pound loose sweet Italian sausage

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 cup small mint leaves

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Salt

Pepper

Plain yogurt, for serving

Procedure:

  1. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the orecchiette until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
  2. Wipe out the pot and heat the olive oil in it. Add the sausage and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and nearly cooked through, 7 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chickpeas, orecchiette and reserved cooking water and toss over moderate heat until the pasta is hot and coated in a light sauce, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mint and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Dollop with yogurt.