Coq au vin (or rooster in wine) is a classic French dish. It’s flavorful, it’s rich, and it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare. First, you season the chicken, let it sit overnight, then brown it, add vegetables, and braise it slowly. Authentic coq au vin also requires lots of pots, lardons, which are thick matchstick strips of bacon, glazed pearl onions, croutons, and finally toast points! It takes hours to prepare it properly. It’s wonderful, but it’s also a major undertaking, and highly impractical for a weekday dinner. In contrast, this stovetop coq au vin takes about half an hour to make. Much better!
I have adapted this recipe from Pierre Franey’s 60 Minute Gourmet Cookbook. Being French he called it “Poulet Sauté au Brouilly” (or chicken sautéed in Brouilly wine). I say stovetop coq au vin or chicken with red wine sauce and mushrooms works just fine.
And, once you finish a bit of chopping and browning, stovetop coq au vin mostly cooks itself. You don’t have to fuss with it, you don’t need to use half the pots in your kitchen, and you don’t have to clean them up either. This version only requires a single skillet.
When choosing the red wine, look for one that’s fruity and flavorful, but not too tannic. Wines such as Zinfandel, Brouilly, Beaujolais, or Merlot are fine (I used Merlot). On the other hand, a Cabernet Sauvignon would be overpowering.
I’ve been craving chicken shawarma ever since I first saw The Avengers movie (years ago!) Since I’m in NY, and the city wasn’t really broken like in the movie, I even looked up the place where the last scene was filmed (when they were all sitting around eating shawarma). But somehow, I never managed to get there. I was re-watching the movie again recently and had the same craving again. Then I thought, wait, I know how to cook! Why go out and schlep all the way to midtown when I can make homemade chicken shawarma instead?
So, instead of going out, I went to the Internet and found a NY Times recipe. This dish is traditionally made on a spit or a rotisserie, but who has a roasting spit in their home? Not me, and certainly not in my tiny kitchen. The oven works just fine. If you want, you can roast the chicken first, and then fry it in a pan to make it crispier. I prefer my chicken moist and tender, so I skipped that step.
You make this dish in two stages. First marinate the chicken, make the yogurt sauce, and let both sit in the fridge. It’s best if it sits overnight, but allow at least an hour so that the flavors have time to blend together.
I put the chicken and the marinade ingredients in a plastic zip lock bag, shook it all up, and rubbed the sauce into the meat. One less bowl to clean! The yogurt sauce went into a small ramekin.
There are hundreds of different ways to make the sauce: with za’atar or sumac, with dill, mint, basil, mostly mayo, yogurt/mayo, and on and on and on. I’ve listed several different variations, just pick the one that suits your tastes and the ingredients you have on hand.
I could use za’atar and sumac, but I left them out of the instructions since they are a bit exotic in the US and I try to stick to ingredients that are readily accessible. The lemon zest, salt, and pepper that are in the recipe are a decent substitute for the sumac. You can combine thyme, sesame seeds, sumac (or lemon pepper), plus salt and make your own za’atar substitute.
If you like, combine the dry ingredients for the marinade together and keep them in a spice jar. Then, you just have to add fresh lemon juice and you’re ready to cook.
Serve this with a Greek salad, rice, olives, feta, or even (gasp) French fries. Fried or roasted eggplant would be great too.
These little ramekins are super-handy in the kitchen. I use them for dips, sauces, mixing up a quick salad dressing, nuts, slices of lemon to squeeze on fish, and olives. Use one for the olives, and another to hold the pits (works for cherries too). Or, you can even use them for spare change.
If you want try try actual za’atar, make sure to look carefully at the ingredients. Some of them have wheat (?!?) in them, and others are just thyme (which is the English translation). You want a mixture of sesame seeds, thyme, oregano or marjoram, and sumac. This one delivers what it should. Use it for the yogurt sauce, add it to roasted vegetables or fish, or sprinkle it into olive oil and serve with pita bread.
Sumac adds a pop of bright red color, as well as a citrusy, lemon flavor to food. It’s great with hummus, over fish, mixed in salads, or on potatoes. There’s no additives, salt, or other fillers in this jar, just sumac.
If you’re hungry, chicken thighs are a great answer to the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” You can get this chicken and mushroom skillet recipe from walk in the door from work to ready to eat in about half an hour.
And, it only requires one pot! Less clean up is a good thing, in my book. You don’t have to marinate the chicken, or leave it overnight, or fuss with it. Pan fry the chicken, slice the mushrooms, onions, and garlic, and let it simmer.
There’s no separate gravy to prepare either. It creates its own sauce right in the pan.
The funny thing is, I “invented” (or thought I’d invented) this recipe one night from ingredients I had lying around. It turns out that it’s nearly identical to a recipe in one of Jacques Pépin’s cookbooks. I don’t pretend to be his equal, but if you’re going to “borrow” an idea from someone, start at the top!
Although, I will say that his recipe requires two pots and mine only needs one. Yes, I do count the washing up necessary to make something (it makes a difference when you don’t have a dishwasher).
Serve the chicken with rice or crusty bread to sop up the sauce. The vegetables in the photo were just some frozen mixed vegetables that I microwaved with salt and lemon pepper.
A quick one pot chicken dish with mushrooms, onions, and garlic.
1 chicken thigh, bone-in
salt and pepper
1-2 T olive oil
2 tsp flour
1/3 C chopped onion
1 clove minced garlic
2-3 sliced mushrooms (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 C chicken broth (plus one or 2 T if needed)
pinch dried thyme
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a small skillet on medium heat.
Put the chicken in the pan and cook five minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook another five minutes.
Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sprinkle everything with the flour and stir to distribute it evenly.
Pour the chicken broth into the pan and sprinkle the thyme over the chicken and vegetables.
Cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the chicken and set it on a plate. Stir the remaining vegetables and scrape up the brown bits at the bottom. If it's too dry, add another tablespoon or two of chicken broth. This should deglaze the pan and create a sauce. Cook for another few minutes until the sauce thickens.
Pour the mushroom sauce over the chicken.
Chicken and Mushroom Skillet Recipe Substitutions and Variations
stir a splash of dry white wine into the sauce (or use the wine instead of the chicken broth)
add 1/3 cup of frozen broccoli to the mushroom mixture
Two of my friends have been raving about this chicken chili verde recipe for years. I finally decided to try it myself, and they were right.
Ideally, this should be made with Hatch chiles. Unfortunately, while New York is a wonderland of food, fresh Hatch chiles are a bit scarce. So, I had to make do with the canned variety. If you can get them fresh, by all means use them! Instead of regular canned tomatoes, I used tomatoes mixed with green chiles.
There are no beans, just chicken, peppers, a few spices, and chicken broth. It’s not too spicy, and easy to put together. The hardest part is waiting for it to simmer!
Amazon only sells this single can to Prime members (or if you have access to their fresh service), but if you do, then go for it. They’ve got the Hatch chiles too, but you have to buy an awful lot of them at once!
The beauty of this Indian royal chicken cooked in yogurt recipe is that it’s delicious and can be made fairly quickly.You can just serve it with naan or make some rice to help soak up the sauce.I have adapted this from Madhur Joffrey’s recipe. Her recipe is for four people, my version is dinner for one person.
I made a few other minor changes as well. The original recipe calls for both dried and fresh coriander.I don’t generally have fresh coriander (and if I did, it would spoil), so I used a bit more dried instead.
She also says to use cardamon pods. I keep thinking about buying them, but then I remember they break my “no hard to get ingredients” rule.So, I leave them out.One day, I will have to try it with the cardamon, though! If you can get them easily and want to use them, you’ll need two. Add them with the cloves and cinnamon. Make sure to remove all of the whole spices before serving. You don’t want to crunch down on a clove.
Finally, I used black raisins instead of golden raisins, because that’s what I had.
I had sliced almonds, but you can substitute slivered, or blanched if that’s easier. You might even use whole ones, or throw them in the mini-chopper to chop them up.
There’s also a fun bit of chemistry here.When you add the raisins to the hot pan, they plump up and revert back to grapes!
Put the yogurt in a small bowl. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Mix that all up until it’s smooth and set it aside while you prepare the chicken and the rest of the recipe.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper
Turn the heat on a burner to medium-high. Add the oil to a large skillet and heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cloves, cinnamon, (cardamon pods if using) and the bay leaf. Stir that together. Add the chicken thigh and brown it on both sides for about 2-3 minutes per side.
Once it’s brown, remove the chicken and place it in a small bowl.
Now add the almonds and raisins to the pan and stir them up. Keep an eye on it because the almonds will turn brown quickly and the raisins will magically transform back into grapes. Once they do, add the chicken back to the pan along with the yogurt mixture.
Stir that to combine everything. Increase the heat and bring the chicken/yogurt mixture to a simmer (not quite boiling). Stir when you add the chicken and yogurt and again after about 10 minutes. Cover, turn the the heat down to low and cook for another 10 minutes (twenty minutes total).
Take the cover off, increase the heat slightly, and cook down the sauce until it thickens. Remove the whole spices (cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamon pods if you used them, and bay leaf) and discard them before serving.
Substitutions and Variations for Indian Royal Chicken Cooked in Yogurt
try it with ghee (clarified butter) instead of oil, sliced onions, and ginger paste (full recipe here)
I’ve been fighting a terrible cold, so I needed soup. Specifically soup with curry or something spicy to cut through the congestion and fight those germs! So I turned to the Silver Palate cookbook and made curried chicken soup. I think it’s working!
A couple of notes on this. First, I used hot curry, which I don’t think I will do again. It was good for the cold, but a bit much for the soup. Next, I took the photo and realized I forgot to add the half-and-half! It’s creamy curried chicken soup!
If you don’t want the half-and-half, that’s fine. It’s good either way (I added it to the second bowl I ate).
Finally, the original recipe says to defrost the peas first. I don’t think that’s really necessary. Peas cook fairly quickly, unless they’re all stuck together in the box.
Making this soup is much easier (and less messy) if you have a stick blender. Just put the blender in the soup, press the button, and puree it. Otherwise, you’ll need to strain it, put the solids in a standing blender or food processor and then add some cooking liquid. Full instructions are in the recipe.
If you have the hand blender, this soup requires very little effort. Cut up the vegetables, add the stock, rice, and chicken, and just let it cook.
I’ve cut the original recipe in half, so it makes 2-3 servings instead of 4-6. Eat one right away and freeze (or save) the rest for another day.
A slightly spicy curried chicken soup with carrots.
3 T unsalted butter
1 cup (about one medium) onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 T curry powder
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 chicken thighs (bone-in)
1/4 C long grain white rice
1/2 C half-and-half*
5 ounces (about 2/3 C) frozen peas
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add the onions, carrots, and the curry powder. Stir that around to combine everything.
Next, reduce the heat to a low flame (or temperature setting). Let the vegetables and curry cook on low for about 20 minutes. Stir the mixture every once in a while so it doesn't stick and cooks evenly.
Add the stock, chicken, and the rice. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it's boiling, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer (it should bubble occasionally). Let it cook for about 25 minutes until the rice and the chicken are cooked.
Carefully remove the chicken (use tongs) and set it aside. Let it rest for 10 minutes until it's cool enough to handle. Once you can touch it, cut it up into small pieces and keep it separate on the cutting board for now.
If you have a hand blender, stick it in the pot and puree the soup. If not, strain the soup into a bowl and put the solids into a blender or food processor with about one cup of liquid. Blend until smooth, adding more cooking liquid if necessary. Then put everything back in the pot.
Add the half-and half to the pot (if using), along with the diced chicken. Discard the bones, or save them for stock. Add the peas and heat the soup for 15 minutes until the peas are cooked.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*It's supposed to be creamy chicken curry soup. I forgot to add the cream. It was delicious without it. You can also add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top.
After all the soup, turkey, and holiday food, it’s time for something a bit simpler. Until, of course, the next holiday comes along. The market had some beautiful Campari tomatoes on sale, right next to the fresh mozzarella. I couldn’t resist. So, I put that together with some basil, leftover roast chicken, and a fresh loaf of ciabatta bread. Voila! The chicken caprese panini sandwich.
This is more of a guide than a recipe. There’s not a lot of measuring.
I started with leftover roast chicken, so I didn’t need to make the chicken. If you already have cooked chicken, just pop it into the sandwich. Some leftover rotisserie chicken would work nicely. All you have to do now is grill the bread, melt the cheese, and add the tomatoes and basil.
If not, see the substitutions and variations section below for ideas on how to cook the chicken,
The bread does tend to slurp up the olive oil, but really it’s worth it! The sandwich gets golden brown, and the cheese is gooey and melty. It’s your favorite childhood grilled cheese sandwich for grownups!
Do use the fresh mozzarella if you can get it. It’s far more flavorful (and I think it melts better) than the pre-packaged kind.
Turn a caprese salad into a full lunch with some chicken and grilled bread.
2 T olive oil
2 slices ciabatta bread (or a small baguette, you want something crusty)
1/4 C shredded cooked chicken
1-2 slices fresh mozzarella
1 Campari tomato (or half a small beefsteak tomato), sliced
2-4 basil leaves
Heat the oil in a small frying pan
Add the two slices of bread, side by side.
Let the bread cook until it turns golden brown (about 3-5 minutes).
Add the cooked chicken and the mozzarella cheese. Put the second slice of bread on top of the first one, to make a sandwich. If you like freshly cooked tomato, add it with the cheese. If not, slide it in after you remove the sandwich from the pan.
Cover the pan and let the sandwich cook for 30 seconds or so until the cheese melts.
Add the tomato (if you haven't already) and the basil.
Substitutions and Variations for Chicken Caprese Panini Sandwich
Saute some mushrooms (do that first) and add them to the sandwich at the end.
Start with fresh chicken breasts (season with salt/pepper/balsamic vinegar/olive oil) then gently cook in olive oil
Or, season the chicken with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook that in a bit of olive oil
Add some avocado
Get an extra serving of veggies and put in a few spinach leaves
Or, try cooking it in the broiler instead (less oil needed)
I adapted this crispy lemon chicken thigh recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. It’s full of lemon flavor from lemon juice, lemon pepper, and lemon zest. The lemon is balanced by brown sugar for sweetness and a bit of paprika for a hint of bite. You can eat it hot, or cold for lunch the next day. It’s also good for picnics while the weather is still good.
I cut the original recipe down to serve one (instead of six), but also made a few other small changes. The cookbook recipe called for lemon extract. It’s an ingredient I’m never going to use up (unless I make lots of lemon chicken). So, I increased the lemon juice a bit.
I then swapped the plain black pepper for lemon pepper. Lemon pepper is a bit exotic, but I do use it for other things (try it on string beans or broccoli). This way, I kept the lemony flavor without having to buy a special ingredient only to use a spoonful or two (which annoys me).
You end up with a crispy crust, almost like fried chicken, except there’s very little oil, less mess, and you can bake it in the toaster oven.
Incidentally, the recipe on the facing page of the cookbook is for Chicken Monterey, made with orange juice. I haven’t done it, but I bet orange juice and zest would work for this too. You might try a bit of orange juice concentrate, or upping the zest to substitute for lemon pepper/extract. I’d also reduce the brown sugar, since orange is sweeter than lemon.
Crispy lemon chicken thigh recipe with three kinds of lemon, plus brown sugar.
1 chicken thigh
2 T lemon juice
1 heaping T flour
generous pinch of salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
2 T neutral oil (such as canola or sunflower)
1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp chicken stock
one slice lemon
Pour the lemon juice in a bowl and add the chicken. This is best if you let it sit in the fridge overnight (or do it in the morning). If not, let it sit for half an hour.
Preheat the toaster oven to 350 degrees.
Discard the lemon juice and dry off the chicken with a paper towel.
Take a small plastic zippered bag and add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, paprika, and lemon pepper). Add the chicken to the bag, zip it shut, and shake thoroughly until the chicken is completely covered with the flour mixture.
Heat the oil in a small skillet and fry the chicken (turning once with kitchen tongs) until it gets brown and crispy. This should take about 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the skillet and place it on the toaster oven tray. Sprinkle it with the lemon zest and the brown sugar.
Pour the chicken stock around the chicken (not over it). Put the lemon slice on top.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
I served this with a baked potato, so I put that in the oven first, while the chicken sat in the lemon juice.
It’s too hot to do much cooking, but this Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad doesn’t require too much time standing over the stove. You only have to boil the egg and the potato. You can use leftover chicken if you have it, or grab a rotisserie chicken from the market.
I call it (in my head) Fairway Market salad, because that’s where I got the idea. It’s pretty flexible, but the constants (at least for me), are the chicken, spinach (and/or mixed greens), boiled potato, and hard boiled egg.
You can change it to suit your own tastes or whatever you have in the fridge.
Since it was too hot to roast a chicken, I got a rotisserie chicken and used that for my salad. If you want it vegetarian, or don’t have a cooked chicken, you can leave it out. On a cooler day, make an extra chicken thigh and season it with lemon, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I adapted the salad dressing recipe from Ina Gartner.
Spinach Egg Potato and Chicken Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
A healthy, summery salad, full of veggies. This is flexible, so add different vegetables, nuts, bacon, or cheese to suit your taste (and what's in your fridge).
One to two large handfuls mixed greens and/or spinach leaves (washed thoroughly and patted dry)
One large egg
One small potato
1/4 cucumber, sliced
4-5 grape tomatoes, sliced in half (or one small beefsteak tomato, sliced in wedges)
1-2 slices prosciutto or cooked bacon (optional)
3-4 sugar snap peas (string removed and cut up into chunks)
1/3 C shredded cooked chicken
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp chopped garlic
2 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil
Cut the potato into chunks, and add them to a small pan filled with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes.
While the potato is cooking, fill a small enamel pan with water and add the egg. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes (use the longer time if the egg is right out of the fridge). Remove the egg, and rinse it under cold running water to stop the cooking process and make it easier to peel.
When the potato cubes are done, strain them, and rinse under cold water (so you don't have a hot potato in your cold salad).
Now, add the greens, cucumber, tomatoes, bacon or prosciutto, snap peas, and whatever other veggies you like, to a large bowl. Add the chicken.
Mix together the mustard, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Gradually add the olive oil, stirring with a whisk or a fork so that it blends together.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it.
If you're lazy, you can cook the potato and the egg in the same pan. Remove the egg after 10-12 minutes of simmering. Let the potato cook another 10 minutes. This way, there's only one pan to wash instead of two.
Substitutions and Variations for Mixed Greens Egg Potato and Chicken Salad
Make the dressing with lemon juice instead of vinegar
Add some whole or sliced almonds
Top with grated parmesan or manchego cheese
Cook a couple of slices of bacon and crumble them over the top
This recipe for chicken mango stir fry combines the sweetness of mango and bell peppers with the heat of hot chile. The combination gives it plenty of eye appeal, as well as flavor. This is easy to put together, and flexible too. Use snap peas or snow peas instead of regular peas, if you prefer. Add more fresh chiles, try some mini corn cobs, or give it a Thai spin with lime, cilantro, and basil.
Unless you’re baking (which is less forgiving) the idea is to have fun with your food. Change the ingredients to suit your own tastes, or to fit whatever you happen to have in the fridge that day.
You can put this together in about 20 minutes, so it’s a great option when you’re in a hurry.
I used fresh vegetables, but you can just grab a package of mixed frozen Asian veggies and use that instead. That will save some time too and cut the whole thing down to fifteen minutes.
I wouldn’t use the frozen bell peppers though, they tend to be soggy.