When Christine Flynn, Niagara region chef and cooking teacher, wrote her easy-going cookbook A Generous Meal: Modern Recipes for Dinner (Penguin Canada, $40), she shared her main tips for turning out fast family meals: more than 100 recipes from around the world, plus a well-stocked pantry, fridge and freezer.
On hand in her Beamsville, Ont., kitchen are such specialties as tahini, chicken stock, Aleppo pepper, Kosher dills, and Brillat-Savarin cheese, to name some favourites. A few trusty pieces of kitchen equipment get regular use. This quick chicken dinner is easy to make with a high-speed blender and a cast-iron frying pan. She includes a recipe for her Harissa sauce, popular in Moroccan and Tunisian cuisine. Or you can trim preparation time by using a reliable ready-made version from a well-stocked supermarket.
Serves 4 to 6
4 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red or green long chili, or a jalapeño pepper, seeded, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock
4 bone-in chicken legs or thighs
Coarsely ground pepper
1 tablespoon (15 mL) sweet paprika
2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil or ghee
¼ cup (60 mL) Harissa*
*The cookbook includes a recipe for this condiment made with chilis, spices, garlic and oil. Chili sauce may be substituted.
Harissa sauce: Place peppers, garlic, chili and a little of the chicken stock in a high-speed blender and pulse to combine.
With the machine running at high speed, pour in the remaining chicken stock and blend just until it is of sauce consistency.
Chicken: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Pat chicken dry and season all over with salt, pepper and paprika.
In a large cast-iron frying pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering and sear chicken, skin side down, for 4 to 5 minutes, until skin is crispy and golden. Turn chicken and brown other side for 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
With the pan on medium heat, pour off all but 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the pan drippings and add Harissa sauce to the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until sauce begins to thicken.
Return chicken, skin side up, to the pan and transfer pan to the preheated oven. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes until chicken is cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees F/74 C).
Serve chicken with sauce spooned over.
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