Tag Archives: chicken

Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}

Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}While many of my food memories of my childhood in Texas revolve around Tex-Mex and barbecue, I also have a place in my heart for Lebanese food. My dad began going to a Lebanese restaurant called Hedary’s in the 1970s and, over time, got my mom, my sisters, and myself hooked on their mezze, lahem meshwi, and steaming hot pillows of fresh pita. And tabouleh. And the rice pudding. And the sodas that came in short, round glass bottles.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}For years, Hedary’s (“heh-dah-rees”) was our restaurant of choice for weekend dinners and special occasions alike, and as we grew up and moved away, a must-go whenever one (or all) of us came back to Fort Worth to visit. That is, until they closed the original location near my parents’ neighborhood a couple years back.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Our unanimous family-favorite Hedary’s entree was Frarej, a roast chicken dish made with tons of lemon and garlic and served with tender potatoes, tomatoes and onions. It somehow towed the line between light and bright and deeply comforting and was always the centerpiece of our extensive order.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej appears to be specific to the Hedary family—I’ve never seen it on any other Lebanese menu, the owners of my beloved Sahadi’s have never heard of it (nor have my Lebanese friends), and a quick internet search turns up only recipes by people like me who are trying to recapture the magic of this dish from a now-closed restaurant in a strip mall in Fort Worth, Texas.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}My older sister started making a version Frarej at home when she was in graduate school and has honed it over the years. She gave me her recipe when I wanted to impress a new boyfriend* a few years ago and since then, I have slowly made adjustments—not many though—until I achieved a Frarej I could make and eat any day of the week.

*I’m the sort of person who will try to seduce you with garlic. This is why I’m single. Although, to be fair, that boyfriend stuck around for a few years so…?Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Start by chopping (or pressing) 8-10 cloves of fresh garlic. Mix that with 1/3 cup of olive oil, 2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, and pour it all over a bunch of sliced Yukon gold potatoes and onion wedges.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Let that roast for 15 minutes at 500F (yes, 500F) before stirring in some tomato wedges and topping it all off with some bone-in skin-on chicken thighs that you’ve given the lightest coating of olive oil. Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Throw that back in a 500F oven (again, yes, that hot) and let it go for 45 minutes, occasionally spooning accumulated liquid over the chicken, but otherwise leaving it alone. You’ll know it’s ready when the chicken is gorgeous and golden and the potatoes are tender. Your kitchen should also smell ahhh-mazing. Lemony and garlicky and chickeny—amazing.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej will be good the day it’s made—what could possibly be bad about juicy roast chicken, lemony potatoes, sweet onions and tangy tomatoes?—but the leftovers are where it’s at. I turned down a dinner invitation a couple weeks ago just because I wanted to eat the Frarej leftovers* in my fridge. The vegetables absorb all the lemony, chickeny fattiness and are just so…effing…delicious.

*This is actually why I’m single.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}

Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}
inspired by Hedary’s Restaurant, adapted from E1’s recipe
makes 4-6 servings

2 small Spanish onions, sliced into 8 wedges each
1 1/2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, sliced in quarters
2/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 3-4 large lemons)
1/3 cup olive oil + more for coating chicken
8-10 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
3 pounds skin-on chicken thighs (about 6-8 thighs)
4 large or 5-6 small Roma tomatoes, sliced in quarters
chopped Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 500F.

Toss onions and potatoes together on a large rimmed sheet pan.

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a liquid measuring cup or small mixing bowl. Stir together with a fork (it won’t emulsify). Pour mixture over potatoes and onions and toss together with your hands. Bake for 15 minutes.

Pat chicken thighs dry. Rub them all over with olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Remove onions and potatoes from the oven. Stir in tomato wedges. Carefully nestle chicken thighs over the top.

Roast for 40-45 minutes, spooning a little of the accumulated liquid over chicken every 15 minutes. It’s ready when chicken is golden and cooked through, and vegetables are tender and browning in places. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley if desired.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. They will get more and more delicious as time goes on.Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}Frarej {Lebanese Lemon Chicken}

Advertisements

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsIt has come to my attention that a shocking amount of my friends and acquaintances have never attempted to roast a chicken. In fact, some have admitted to being terrified of the process. Not intimidated. Terrified.

Y’all, that’s sort of ridiculous. If you fall into this category, let me be the one to tell you that roast chicken is one of the easiest things in the world to make.

It’s chicken, not rocket science.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsHere’s everything you’ll need to make a quality roast chicken: salt and pepper, olive oil, garlic, rosemary (or thyme), a lemon, a lot of onions, and a whole chicken.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsFirst things first—slice up the onions and layer them in the pan. You want at least two layers of thick onion slices.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsDry off your chicken with paper towels and lay it on that bed of onions. You want it breast-side up, meaning that the neck and tail will be down. Grease the inside and outside of your bird with olive oil and give it a good massage with salt and pepper.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsRoast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsTuck the wingtips under the breast. This helps the chicken to cook more as a cohesive unit and keeps the wings from drying out. They may move as they cook—that’s okay.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsStuff the lemon, garlic, and rosemary (or thyme) in the cavity, and slide the chicken into a 475F oven. Yes, 475F. This initial burst of high heat helps the skin turn golden. As the cooking time moves on, the heat will be turned down to 450F and finally 400F. This keeps the chicken from burning or drying out throughout the long roasting time.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsWhen you finally remove the chicken from the oven, it’ll be golden and beautiful. When I roast chickens, I nearly always get comments on how aesthetically pleasing they look.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsRoast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsBut who cares about looks—it’s all about flavor! And this chicken has plenty of it. The skin is crispy, the meat is moist, and everything is well seasoned.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsRoast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsRoast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsAnd that’s to say nothing of the soft roasted onions that are coated in rendered chicken fat (aka schmaltz). Seriously, if you’ve never tasted a sweet onion that’s been cooked in chicken fat, you’ve been deprived.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy OnionsBetter make up for lost time.Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions
makes one 5 pound chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2-3 pounds sweet onions, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 1/2-2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 5-5.5 pound raw whole chicken, giblets removed
1 lemon, sliced in half equatorially
1 small-medium head of garlic, sliced in half equatorially
2 sprigs fresh rosemary or 10 sprigs fresh thyme

***Make sure your oven is fairly clean before starting. The high heat in this recipe can cause smoke if there is any significant grime on the walls or floor of your oven.***

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 475F.

Grease the bottom of a 9×13-inch casserole dish (or other large high-sided pan) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Top with layers of onion slices. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together salt and pepper.

Use paper towels to blot chicken to remove excess moisture—make sure to do this inside the cavity, too. Place chicken, breast-side up, on the bed of onions.

Coat chicken inside-and-out with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Massage salt and pepper onto chicken, including the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic, and rosemary (or thyme).

Put pan in the oven. Roast for 90 minutes, reducing the heat to 450F at the 30 minute mark and 400F at the 60 minute mark.

Chicken is done when a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (not touching bone) reads 165F. Juices should run clear.

Remove chicken from oven and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.

Uncover pan. Lift chicken and pour any excess liquid from the cavity. Place chicken on a cutting board and remove lemon halves, garlic, and thyme/rosemary. Carve chicken (here’s a tutorial).

Use tongs or a wooden spoon to stir onions together with rendered chicken fat (aka schmaltz). Serve chicken and onions together, spooning schmaltz over the top as desired.

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Roast Chicken with Schmaltzy Onions

Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de PolloEverybody has a favorite chicken soup recipe—until very recently, the Chicken Noodle Soup in the archives was mine. I still love that soup (I feel less affection for those horrible photos), but now that I’ve started making this Sopa de Pollo, it’s going to have to settle for being my second favorite.

It seems harsh—pushing aside a recipe I’ve loved for years in favor one that I started making on a whim last fall—but my version of this Mexican chicken soup is so easy, healthy, and deeply delicious that I’m only sorry I didn’t find it sooner.

Sopa de PolloThis Sopa de Pollo is adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s recipe. I saw her version a couple of years ago and then totally forgot about it until I was standing in the produce section of the grocery store a couple of months ago with no idea of what I wanted to make for the week. A quick Google search for Mexican-style chicken soup recipes led me back to Molly’s recipe, and now I’ve spent two months tweaking it and serving it as much as possible. Really. I’ve made it twice at my day job, once for my parents, another time for my little sister, and three more times just for me. I may or may not have a whole batch in the freezer right now. That may seem a little extreme for something I just started making a couple of months ago, but it’s just. that. good.

Sopa de Pollo

So, what makes this soup so outstanding? Well, for one, it only takes an hour start-to-finish. If that doesn’t have you putting ingredients on your grocery list, I don’t know what will. Speed isn’t everything though—let’s talk flavor.

Sopa de PolloSopa de Pollo

The broth here is flavored with a 1/2 bunch of whole cilantro sprigs and a handful of fresh mint leaves, in addition to the chicken and a good pinch of salt. The herbs soften and add incredible depth of flavor as they cook. There’s no need to remove them after cooking either, but you absolutely may if you’d like; just tie the herbs together with twine before you drop them into the pot, and lift them out with tongs when you’re done.

Sopa de Pollo

This Sopa de Pollo is chock full of vegetables, too. You’ll find big chunks of carrot, celery, onion, and zucchini in this soup, in addition to crushed whole garlic cloves and chayote. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a mild-flavored gourd that looks like this:

Sopa de Pollo

I find chayote at a regular supermarket, but if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it, feel free to leave it out. My sisters would tell you to swap it for corn. For that matter, you can add or subtract any vegetables you want here—make the soup you want to eat, y’all!

Sopa de Pollo

Take my favorite and make it yours.Sopa de Pollo

Sopa de Pollo
lightly adapted from Orangette
makes about 6-8 servings

3 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces (I use chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination)
2 quarts chicken stock
4 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 stalks celery, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium white onion, diced large
2 medium zucchini, quartered, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 chayote, peeled, seed removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 bunch cilantro
leaves from 4 sprigs of mint
Kosher or sea salt, to taste

Combine chicken pieces and stock in a stockpot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, chayote, garlic, cilantro, and mint leaves. Once the soup returns to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove pot from heat and use tongs to fish out chicken pieces.

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin and bones and tear the meat into large pieces. Return meat to the pot. Taste for salt and adjust as necessary.

Serve in shallow bowls. Soup will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Sopa de Pollo

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup

Being from Texas, I have a deep abiding love for all things southwestern, especially Tex-Mex. If it has salsa, guacamole, melted cheese, pinto beans, or tortillas, I love it and I would like seconds thankyouverymuch. But since I am a New Yorker (can I finally call myself that after eight years?), there aren’t many Mexican restaurants or grocery stores that carry much besides packaged taco seasoning, and that simply won’t cut it. Also, that stereotype of New Yorkers being busy every minute of everyday? Totally true. When we get up and leave in the morning, we pack our entire lives into one supposedly-convenient bag. There are no cars for carrying those rain boots or options to make a quick trip home on lunch hour. This week is especially crazy because we are finally expecting snow. So now, in addition to everything else, everyone is preparing for the snowpocalypse (mostly by standing in line at Trader Joe’s). On my list for storm prep? Buy new winter boots and make a big pot of this Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup.

This recipe is adapted from one that my mom made when I went home to visit in 2010. Nearly every time I make the trip to Texas, my allergies flare up and I can barely enjoy the family time. Knowing what was in store once I landed on Texas soil, my mom did what really good moms do–she made the ultimate cure-all, chicken soup. But instead of the traditional variety with carrots and celery, she used salsa and pinto beans, and threw it all in the slow cooker. She served it ladled over rice, and it hit the spot. Simple, comforting, and full of shredded chicken and beans, it was just what was needed to keep my allergies at bay (…somewhat–I don’t promise any miracles 😊). When she told me it had been made with a jar of Pace Picante, I was shocked! This soup was so much more than the sum of its parts.

When I got back to Brooklyn, I put it into my regular dinner rotation, with a few adjustments. I ditched the jarred salsa in favor of homemade, and as I lack a slow cooker, I made it on the stovetop. Where the slow cooker would probably take four to eight hours, my version takes one hour from start to finish! My mom calls this recipe Chicken Chili, which is absolute sacrilege, apparently. In Texas, chili is not supposed to have beans. It’s something I’ll never understand. So, with Henry’s help, it’s been renamed. Whatever you call it, it’s delicious.

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup begins as many soups do, with sautéing diced onion and minced garlic together until they are soft and fragrant. Stir in some chili powder and cumin, followed by two cups of salsa. I like to use the Restaurant-Style Salsa that I posted yesterday. It’s a snap to put together and is super smoky and flavorful. You may also use a jar of your favorite prepared salsa. I think a tomatillo version would be great here! Next, place two pounds of bone-in chicken breast in the pot, followed by four cups of chicken stock. If the chicken is not completely submerged, add water until it is. By using bone-in chicken in addition to chicken stock, we are giving the broth a double dose of chicken flavor. Cover the pot, bring the soup to a boil, and then let it simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot, toss the bones, and shred the meat before adding it back in. Then throw in some pinto beans that you’ve drained and rinsed, and let everything cook for just ten more minutes before enjoying.

 I like to serve this soup similarly to my Red Posole. I put out little plates of shredded cheddar, chopped cilantro, and diced avocado, so everyone can customize their bowls. Having eaten this soup on four occasions this week, I highly recommend crushing some tortilla chips over the top as well. So. Good. You could also take a page from my mom and serve it over rice. And a side salad couldn’t hurt 😊

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup is a warm, comforting meal perfect for cold weather. Simple, nutritious and brimming with the flavors of the southwest, it’s a favorite in our home. I’m sure it’ll become a favorite in yours, too.

 Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup
makes 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cups salsa
2 lbs bone-in chicken breast, skin and excess fat removed
4 cups chicken stock
water
2 15 oz cans (3 cups) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt (or to taste)

Suggested Accompaniments:
diced avocado
chopped cilantro
shredded cheddar cheese
cooked white or brown rice
crushed tortilla chips

Heat a 4-6 quart heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and swirl it around to coat the pan. Sauté onions until soft and translucent, five to seven minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Pour in salsa, and stir to coat everything. Lay chicken breasts in the pot and pour in chicken stock. If chicken is not completely submerged, add water until it is. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce it to a simmer for 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Use tongs to remove chicken breasts from the pot. Allow to cool five minutes before shredding with two forks. Add shredded meat back to the pot, followed by pinto beans. Let simmer uncovered for an additional ten minutes. Check the seasoning and add salt to taste. Serve warm with accompaniments of choice.

Spicy Southwestern Chicken Soup can be covered and refrigerated for up to five days.