Braised Chicken 
Thighs with Marinated Artichokes
 and Blackened Carrots

img_7695I love comfort food, but I also love some big, bold flavors, and this recipe for Braised Chicken 
Thighs with Marinated Artichokes
 and Blackened Carrots is right up that alley. Both of these beautiful dishes are from Food & Wine, and I whipped it up for my friend April and I for a weeknight catch-up. We were in heaven!

The chicken was absolutely divine — you brown and crisp up the skin in a skillet and then braise the thighs in the oven for an hour, so they are super juicy and fall right off the bone. I especially love braising olives and artichokes — it makes them so tender and sweet, and they absorb up the great flavor from the artichoke brine, garlic, sherry, lemon and fish sauce. It’s an amazing combo of acid, umami, salty and rich from the olive oil in the brine.

Look how beautiful that is!

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And the carrots! These were amazing — and it’s a must to make them with super fresh farmers market carrots, preferably smaller ones so they cook through faster. These are coated in an awesome spice mix including paprika, cayenne, garlic and oregano and topped with a vinaigrette of balsamic and honey. Wow, so much flavor happening and you get such a great sweetness from roasting them through in the oven. I could eat these as a meal on their own!

 

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TW’s Tips

  • When you eat the chicken, make up a bite that has a little bit of everything happening — chicken, olive, artichoke and lemon. Yes, lemon. Cut the entire slices, rind and all, into pieces and eat them — it’s such an awesome hint of bitterness alongside the other flavors. If you love tart, you will loooove this.
  • When the chicken is done, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the head of garlic and smash them up a bit in the sauce so you get that flavor all mixed in too.
  • I could have gone even heavier on artichokes in this one — don’t be afraid to add more.
  • I served this straight up, but you could definitely put it over rice to soak up some of the yummy sauce.
  • The carrots are blackened, so you may stir up quite a bit of smoke in the cooking of these — I sure did. And with all the spices, I was sneezing like crazy! Fair warning: open a window, turn on the hood and get the air moving around in the kitchen for these puppies — it’s worth it.
  • Don’t bother cutting of the ends of the carrots, just wash them well.

Enjoy!

Braised Chicken 
Thighs with Marinated Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (3 3/4 pounds)
  • Sea salt and pepper (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, plus 1/4 cup brine from the jar
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/2 cup semidry sherry, such as amontillado
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet or black steel pan, heat the oil. Add half of the chicken skin side down and top the pieces (not the pan) with a pot lid; cook over moderate heat until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer skin side up to a large baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Scatter the artichoke hearts, olives, garlic, lemon slices and thyme in the baking dish.

Pour off the fat from the skillet. Add the artichoke brine, stock, sherry and fish sauce; bring to a boil. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt, then pour the mixture around the chicken. Cover tightly with foil and braise in the oven for 1 hour, until the chicken is very tender.

Uncover and increase the oven temperature to 400°. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes longer, until the skin is crisp.

Discard the thyme. Transfer to plates and serve.

Blackened Carrots

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 pounds medium carrots, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small bowl, whisk the paprika with the oregano, cayenne and garlic powder. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 2 minutes, until the spices are fragrant.

Put the butter in a shallow bowl. Dip the cut side of each carrot in the butter and then coat in the spice mixture, pressing to help the spices adhere; transfer to a plate.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, add the carrots cut side down in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over high heat until blackened on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until the carrots are just tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey. Whisk in the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer the carrots to a platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

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Fennel & Garlic Shrimp

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I loooooove fennel. It’s such a weird vegetable — it’s white in color, has a core that needs to be removed, acts like a root vegetable (you eat the bulb vs. the plant that grows on top) and it tastes like nothing you would ever expect a vegetable to taste like — licorice or anise is the only way you can describe it, but it’s a mild version, not like biting into a piece of licorice. And then there’s the crunch you get. And on top of that, it’s so versatile! I’ve made dishes with fennel including a cheesy, rich potato fennel gratin, awesome salads, soups and roasted vegetables. It’s really awesome — you’ve got to try it.

This dish — Fennel and Garlic Shrimp — is a great use of fennel courtesy of Ina Garten. It’s fresh, garlicky and makes an awesome pan sauce that you sop up with crusty bread. Plus, it cooks up super quickly, so it’s a perfect weeknight meal.

TW’s Tips

  • I skipped the Pernod since I couldn’t find a nip and I knew this would be the only time I’d use it — but if you have it, it will add a little bit more licorice flavor
  • The shrimp took a little longer than stated to cook — just watch for them to get opaque and curled

Enjoy!

Fennel & Garlic Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped fennel bulb, fronds reserved
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound (16- to 20-count) shrimp, peeled with tails on
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • French bread for serving

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the fennel and saute for 5 minutes, until tender but not browned. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook at a very low sizzle for 2 to 3 minutes, until the garlic just begins to color.

Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, add them to the pan, and toss together with the fennel and olive oil. Spread the shrimp in one layer and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes on one side. Turn the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes on the other side, until they’re pink and just cooked through.

Off the heat, sprinkle with the parsley, 1 tablespoon of chopped fennel fronds, the Pernod (if using), the fleur de sel, and black pepper and serve it with bread to soak up all the pan juices.

Grilled Chicken with Garlic-Herb Dressing and Grilled Lemon and Radicchio

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I hope everyone had an amazing Memorial Day — I spent mine in New Hampshire hanging out with my parents and grandmothers. It was super relaxing and I got in lots of crossword time with my Dad, had lunch with my Grams and got to meet a dear friend’s daughter for the first time.

Weekends like this are best for cookouts, which I don’t get to do much of in NYC. This recipe is one you can do on the grill, but you can also make do with a grill pan on the stove if needed (and I do need most times!). And just check out how beautiful it looks plated up!

The secret to this Tyler Florence recipe is a really awesome vinaigrette loaded with garlic, parsley, lemon and thyme, and the perfect juxtaposition of the juicy chicken alongside the bitter radicchio with some great acid from the balsamic and the lemon. I love what grilling does to the radicchio, giving it a nice char and sweetness, and same with grilled lemon — it adds a little something that you don’t get from it when it’s raw.

TW’s Tips

  • You can make the vinaigrette a day ahead; keep in the fridge and bring to room temp before using.
  • The recipe calls for one chicken broken into parts; I love chicken legs so I used a big pack of legs for this, just aim for about 4 pounds of meat

Enjoy this chicken with some of your favorite grill sides — or make it a meal in itself.

Grilled Chicken with Garlic-Herb Dressing and Grilled Lemon and Radicchio

Ingredients

  • 2 heads garlic, cut in 1/2 horizontally
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole fresh thyme sprigs, plus leaves from 6 sprigs
  • 2 lemons, juiced, plus 2 lemons, halved
  • About 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped
  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces (or any combination — I used just legs)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 heads radicchio, preferably Treviso, cut into quarters
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut a piece of aluminum foil about 12 inches long.

Put the garlic on 1/2 of the foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle in some olive oil, and add 2 sprigs of thyme. Fold the foil enclosing the garlic, making a pouch, and add a couple teaspoons of water. Fold the foil over the garlic to enclose and fold in the edges 2 or 3 times to seal. Put the package in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or longer, until the garlic is soft. Open the package and let the garlic cool a bit, then squeeze out the cloves into a food processor or blender. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, the lemon juice, parsley, and thyme leaves and puree to make a thick vinaigrette.

Preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal grill to medium heat.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Put the pieces in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat with the seasonings and then refrigerate while you get everything else together.

Put the radicchio in another bowl, drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss; set aside.

When you’re ready to cook, take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel and carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a nonstick surface.

Season with salt and pepper and place the radicchio quarters on the preheated grill. Cook the radicchio for about 2 minutes per side until it has a nice char; pull it off the grill, place into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to steam and finish cooking.

Then put the chicken on the grill, skin side down, and grill. Grill the chicken for about 20 minutes, turning once, then baste with about half of the vinaigrette and keep cooking until an instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160 degrees F and the chicken is nice and caramelized all over, 15 to 20 more minutes. During the last few minutes, throw the lemon halves on the grill, cut sides down, and cook until just marked and smoky.

To serve, separate the radicchio into individual leaves in a big bowl. Add the chicken and the rest of the dressing and toss well. Serve with grilled lemon halves, squeeze the lemon over the chicken, and top with reserved dressing.

Mushroom-Tomato-Garlic Ravioli

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Ravioli is easily one of my all-time favorite foods. I don’t care what kind. Traditional meat, pumpkin, goat cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, salmon, you name it. The problem is that they’re kind of a pain in the ass to make. And when I say “kind of,” I mean “absolutely.” But I took one for the team (my team obviously) and threw these mushroom ravioli together and it actually wasn’t all that bad! And the result is wow. There are awesome flavors happening here including mushroom (my favorite…umami…yum), garlic, sage, sundried tomato, prosciutto…I mean, seriously. Lots of greatness happening here.

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IMG_5870Using wonton wrappers for the “dough” is pretty brilliant and easy. Just be careful when you are separately the thin layers that you don’t make little tears in them, because once you throw them in the water, the filling will slowly seep out into the boiling water.

And just look at the beautiful result! I will definitely make this again — it’s delicious and really impressive if you’re looking to show off a bit.

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  • Make the garlic in advance when you have the time to roast them — it takes a little while.
  • Find the wonton wrappers in the freezer section of the grocery store.
  • The food processor part of the recipe below didn’t go very smoothly for me. Because the filling is pretty chunky, it didn’t pulse together well. I ended up having to do lots of stirring, pulsing, stirring again and getting the filling down near the blades so it would mix up. It finally worked out, but there was a bit of elbow grease involved. I’m not sure there’s a better way to do it, except to perhaps try doing it in a couple of batches so there’s not so much in the processor bowl at once.
  • You can buy sliced mushrooms or slice them yourself.
  • Don’t even think about using dried sage. Fresh is essential.
  • The wrappers stick to everything, so don’t stack the ravioli.
  • Make sure you press down firmly around the edges of the ravioli to seal the edges.

Enjoy!

Mushroom-Tomato-Garlic Ravioli

Ingredients

  • 2 8-ounce packages sliced white mushrooms
  • 2 heads roasted garlic (see below for directions)
  • 9 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, 8 halved (about 1/3 cup) and 1 finely chopped
  • 8 fresh sage leaves, chopped (about 1-1/2 tablespoons), plus thin strips for garnishing
  • Salt
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pepper
  • 40 wonton wrappers
  • 4 slices prosciutto, thinly sliced crosswise into strips

Directions

Roast the garlic in advance. Cut the top quarter off the top of the garlic bulbs. Place them in a pie pan (or wrap them in foil) and drizzle the tops with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover them with foil and bake until the garlic is roasted and soft, about 45 minutes.

In a food processor, finely chop half of the mushrooms, the roasted garlic, halved sun-dried tomatoes and chopped sage; stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a medium skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushroom mixture and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly; stir in 6 tablespoons cheese.

Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat; add the remaining mushrooms. Cook until golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the chopped sun-dried tomato and season with salt and pepper; let cool.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; lower the heat and bring to a simmer. Lay 20 wonton wrappers on a work surface and place a bowl of water alongside. Place 1 tablespoon chopped mushroom mixture in the center of each wrapper. Using a pastry brush, dampen the edges with water; cover with another wrapper, pressing around the filling to push out the air and seal. Working in batches, add the ravioli to the simmering water and cook for 3 minutes; remove with a slotted spoon.

Divide the ravioli among 4 plates; top with the cooked mushrooms, prosciutto and remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on each plate and scatter the sage strips on top.

Grilled Chicken and Radicchio With Roasted Garlic-Herb Dressing

It’s not summer if you haven’t had grilled chicken! Am I right? This recipe takes your traditional chicken with BBQ sauce to the next level with an amazing roasted garlic-herb dressing. I took this from one of my favorite cookbooks ever — Tyler Florence’s “Tyler’s Ultimate.” I have so many favorites from that book it’s insane. This one didn’t disappoint either.

I love this recipe because it’s pretty simple — there aren’t many ingredients, there’s not a ton of prep, and the end result is simple and delicious. The chicken is super moist and topped with the garlicky herb dressing and a squeeze of grilled lemon, it packs a ton of flavor. I’d never thought about grilling radicchio, but it’s the perfect accompaniment to the chicken. If you’ve never had radicchio, it’s a bitter leaf vegetable (technically chicory) that is typically purplely-pink (definitely a real word) and white in color. I love it, and grilled with a little balsamic, olive oil and salt and pepper, it gets a little sweeter and caramelized on the edges. I personally love the bitter flavor as a contrast. Get a little bit of everything in one bite, and it’s a great combination of crunchy, bitter radicchio, moist chicken, acid from the lemon and fresh, herb-forward dressing.

I made this for my girlfriends Kim and Shahnaz for a night of reality TV indulgence, and paired it with a potato salad. It was a hit. I also love the family-style presentation — reminds me of my family’s dinner table growing up in New Hampshire. Enjoy!

TW’s Tips

  • I had a bunch of chicken drumsticks in the freezer, so instead of using a full chicken, I just used the drumsticks instead — it worked great! Same thing if you want to use up some thighs, etc. Personally, I think it’s a pain to cut up a whole chicken and I’ll avoid it by buying it already separated.
  • I don’t have a grill (I know, I know, workin’ on that) so I just used my trusty grill pan and another skillet side-by-side on the stovetop. A little bit of a hassle, but worth it.
  • I didn’t want to heat up my whole oven to roast the garlic, so instead I used my toaster oven — the perfect solution.
  • When you quarter the radicchio, don’t core it — the core will hold the leaves together while you grill it. You can core it once you’re done grilling, and you’ll want to — the core is tough and inedible.

Grilled Chicken and Radicchio With Roasted Garlic-Herb Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1-2 heads of garlic, cut in half at the equator
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole fresh thyme sprigs, plus leaves from 6 sprigs
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 lemon halves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 4-4 1/2 pound chicken, cut into 10 similar sized pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium head of radicchio, preferably Treviso, cut into quarters

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut a piece of aluminium foil about 12 inches long.

Put the garlic on 1/2 of the foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle in some olive oil, and add 2 sprigs of thyme. Fold the foil enclosing the garlic, making a pouch, and add a couple teaspoons of water. Fold the foil over the garlic to enclose and fold in the edges 2 or 3 times to seal. Put the package in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or longer, until the garlic is soft. Open the package and let the garlic cool a bit, then squeeze out the cloves into a food processor or blender. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, the lemon juice, parsley, and thyme leaves and puree to make a thick vinaigrette.

Preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal grill to medium heat.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Put the pieces in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil; toss to coat with the seasonings and then refrigerate while you get everything else together.

Put the radicchio in another bowl, drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss; set aside.

When you’re ready to cook, take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel and carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a nonstick surface.

Season with salt and pepper and place the radicchio quarters on the preheated grill. Cook the radicchio for about 2 minutes per side until it has a nice char; pull it off the grill, place into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to steam and finish cooking.

Then put the chicken on the grill, skin side down, and grill. Grill the chicken for about 20 minutes, turning once, then baste with about half of the vinaigrette and keep cooking until an instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160 degrees F and the chicken is nice and caramelised all over, 15 to 20 more minutes. During the last few minutes, throw the lemon halves on the grill, cut sides down, and cook until just marked and smoky.

To serve, separate the radicchio into individual leaves in a big bowl. Add the chicken and the rest of the dressing and toss well. Serve with grilled lemon halves, squeeze the lemon over the chicken, and top with reserved dressing.

Strip Steaks and Blue Cheese Spaghetti

As I’ve said before, I love cheese, and this recipe featuring blue cheese spaghetti had me intrigued. Blue cheese? With pasta? And steak? It sounded brilliant. I had to give it a whirl. The result was rich and delicious and made me feel like I should be drinking a dirty martini. (Tip #1: serve this meal with a dirty martini.)

Why a martini? This dish has big flavors that would stand up to it. The steak is hearty and delicious, cooked to a perfect medium rare. And the pasta is quite the accompaniment. The blue cheese is bold and pungent, and once you add in some spicy arugula and top the pasta with bacon, it packs even more punch.

TW’s Tips

  • The garlic chive butter to top the steaks makes a lot — wrap the extra in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to use later on veggies or warmed up bread.
  • I’d cut the pasta in half — it makes a TON and it’s really rich, so I ended up having to throw a lot of it away. And, it’s better when you first cook it, versus reheated.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 (8-ounce) NY strip steaks
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cream or half-and-half, eyeball it
  • 8 ounces blue cheese crumbles
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped, a palm full
  • 2 cups arugula, a small bunch, cleaned, trimmed and shredded

Directions

Put a large pot of water on the stove to bring to a boil for pasta.

Preheat broiler to high with rack on top shelf.

Preheat medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped bacon and cook until crisp.

Salt water for pasta and add spaghetti to the pot. Cook to al dente, with a bite to it.

Season the steaks with salt and pepper on both sides and arrange on slotted broiler pan.

Remove bacon to paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon and drain off most of the fat, return pan to heat and reduce heat to medium. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan and 1 tablespoon butter. When butter melts into extra-virgin olive oil, add in 2 cloves garlic and the shallots, saute for 3 minutes.

Arrange steaks on the broiler pan. Place under broiler – leave door to oven cracked ajar to limit flare ups and smoke. Cook 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, up to 5 to 6 minutes on each side for medium well doneness.

To the garlic and shallots, add in flour and cook a minute more. Whisk in stock, bring to a bubble, about 30 seconds then stir in the cream. When cream comes to a bubble, add in blue cheese and sage and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir until cheese melts. Reduce heat to lowest setting.

Soften 4 tablespoons butter in microwave on high for 15 seconds. Mix in chives and 2 cloves minced garlic and reserve.

Remove steaks from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Place 1/4 of the chive and garlic butter mixture on each steak to melt down over the meat as they rest.

Drain pasta and toss with sauce to coat and combine evenly. Taste to adjust seasoning.

Serve steaks with pasta alongside. Scatter the arugula and bacon bits across the top of the pasta.