Monday, May 4, 2009

Stupidly easy balsamic chicken

As far as recipes go, it doesn't get easier than this. I was once told that this dish is Mexican in origin, but to me it represents the fusion of cultures that comes of the Romance Languages Department that I've called home for the past 6 years.

8 chicken thighs (it's perfectly OK to leave the bones in and the skin on)
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
3 dried ancho chiles, rehydrated and some of the seeds removed

1. In a dutch oven or large wide bottomed pot, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil
2. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
3. Being sure not to crowd the pot, brown the chicken on both sides. (You may need to do this in batches.)
4. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to stew, covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Serve over rice.
Serves 4

Crab Enchiladas with Black Bean Sauce

These enchiladas just came together in my kitchen this evening. They were very much the product of what I had on hand so feel free to experiment with the contents of your own kitchen. The guiding rule is to keep the flavors fresh.


2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained--divided
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped--divided
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped--divided
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (substitute 1 1/2 tsp dried herbs if needed)--divided
juice of 2 limes--divided
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp rum or tequila
1 jalapeno pepper, some seeds removed, diced
1/4 cup vegetable stock or water
2 small cans (or one large can) of crab meat
1 poblano pepper, some seeds removed, chopped
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 cups shredded jack cheese
10 corn tortillas
Salt and Pepper
Sour cream

1. In a medium sauce pot, combine 1 1/2 cans of black beans, 1/2 the onion, 1/2 the bell pepper, cumin, 2 Tbsp of cilantro, the juice of one lime, tomato paste, rum, jalapeno pepper, and stock. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat while assembling the enchiladas. Stir occasionally.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining black beans, cilantro, lime juice, crab, and poblano pepper. Set aside.
3. In a saute pan, heat the canola oil. Add the remaining onion and bell pepper. Saute for 5 minutes over medium high heat. Add onions and peppers to the crab mixture.
4. Add the cheese to the crab mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Grease a rectangular baking dish and set oven to 350 degrees.
6. Begin stuffing the tortillas with crab mixture. Roll each tortilla around the filling and place the enchilada into the baking dish, open side down. Arrange the enchiladas in row, filling in the sides of the dish with extra enchiladas placed perpendicularly to the row.
7. Remove the black beans from the heat and either blend the sauce with a hand blender or puree it in a food processor. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, covering the entire pan.
8. Bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes. If desired, sprinkle additional cheese on top of the sauce.
9. Serve with sour cream.

Serves 4