Tangy Pepper-Lime Chicken

My “Tangy Pepper-Lime Chicken” is delicious! I found the original recipe, “Pepper-Lime Chicken,” in the Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook (1989 edition) that my mom gave me for my sophomore year of college when I first lived in an apartment. I’ve been making it ever since and while adhering mostly to the recipe, have found a way to make it even more deliciously tangily limey.

The original recipe has you broil chicken and then start brushing it with a lime glaze as it cooks. This is very tasty and works well if you don’t have time to marinate it beforehand, or forgot. For a more intense flavor though, marinating overnight makes a big difference. And then a few years ago when I got a vacuum sealer machine for food, I found that marinating the chicken in the vacuum-sealed marinating dish is even better–you can get a really great flavor in just 20 minutes (way more flavor than if you just marinated it in a bowl for 20 minutes). Now I put the chicken in the vacuum marinating dish the night before, and then, while I’m broiling the chicken, I put the marinade in a pan on the stove and reduce it to a syrupy glaze and use that to brush the chicken in the last several minutes of broiling. Those two steps give it a super POW of flavor. 🙂

So you can do whichever you have the time and equipment for and it will be yummy. Here’s the recipe…

Tangy Pepper-Lime Chicken

Adapted from Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook, 1989

Ingredients

  • 2-2 1/2 pounds chicken legs and thighs (preferably pastured)
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded lime zest (preferably organic)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (preferably organic)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (preferably organic)
  • 6 cloves, garlic (preferably organic), crushed
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper (preferably non-irradiated)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed (preferably non-irradiated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (preferably Celtic)

Directions

No-Marinate Version (Short on time or forgot):

  • Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry.
  • Place the chicken pieces, skin side down, on a broiler pan and position the pan about 4-5 inches from the heat.
  • Broil on high about 20 minutes or till lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, make the lime glaze by combining the lime peel, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, thyme, and sea salt in a bowl.
  • Brush this glaze on the chicken, turn all the pieces over and brush with more glaze.
  • Broil another 5-15 minutes, brushing with more glaze occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside; juices are clear)

Marinated Version (You have more time)

  • Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry.
  • Make the lime glaze by combining the lime peel, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, black pepper, thyme, and sea salt in a bowl.
  • Put the chicken pieces in the bowl with the glaze (or in a vacuum-seal marinating dish and seal).
  • Put the dish in the fridge to marinate as long as you have time for–half an hour, all day, overnight, whatever.
  • When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the glaze (reserving the glaze) and place the pieces, skin side down, on a broiler pan and position the pan about 4-5 inches from the heat.
  • Broil on high about 20 minutes or till lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, put the reserved glaze in a saute pan on the stove and heat to simmering, reducing the liquid. Stir occasionally and keep an eye on it. You want to reduce the liquid by about half. It may not take the whole 20 minutes while the chicken is first broiling; if it’s ready just turn off the heat.
  • Brush the reduced glaze on the chicken, turn all the pieces over and brush with more glaze.
  • Broil another 5-15 minutes, brushing with more glaze occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside; juices are clear).

Makes about 6 servings. Good cold or reheated if you have leftovers.

Tips

Whether marinating or not, do keep an eye on your chicken, especially near the end because the glaze can be prone to burning–make sure you don’t have the rack positioned too close to the broiler element. If it’s getting blackened you’ll want to lower the rack or broil on low until the chicken is done.

You can also grill the chicken instead of broiling it. As above, rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Prepare the glaze as directed. Marinate the chicken in the glaze if you have time. When ready to grill, you want to grill the meat over medium coals so you’ll need to let them burn down a little so you don’t burn the chicken. Put the chicken skin side down on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 20 minutes. Brush with glaze, turn pieces, brush with more glaze, and continue grilling for another 15-25 minutes, brushing with more glaze occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside; juices are clear).

I like a lot of lime zest in this dish, more than the original recipe called for.

The marinade is ready for the chicken.

Chicken marinating in a Food Saver brand marinating dish that’s vacuum sealed. Reduces by quite a bit the time needed to really infuse the flavors.

We had it with broccoli (creamy dipping sauce on the side), buttered corn, and glazed beets.…

Grain-Free Omelet Muffins

These tasty muffins reheat quickly in a toaster oven. Make a dozen and have them all week for breakfast! Shown here with homemade pork sausage.

I stumbled across Cheeseslave’s “Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Muffins with Coconut Flour” a month or so ago and I am loving them! I was a bit tired of scrambled and fried eggs and omelets for breakfast–mostly because of the time involved to make them each morning. These tasty muffins can be made and refrigerated, then warmed in the toaster oven each morning. I’ve been making a dozen each Sunday and then my breakfast is so fast!

Grain-Free Omelet Muffins

I’ve been playing with the recipe, using sausage instead of bacon sometimes, adding various veggies and herbs. It is very easy, forgiving and versatile. Give them a try!

The recipe below is adapted from the Cheeseslave recipe, which is itself adapted from a recipe in Bruce Fife’s book Cooking with Coconut Flour.

Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. pastured bacon OR 1 c pastured loose pork sausage (or half and half!)*
  • Optional: 1/3 cup each of onions, bell pepper, and/or mushrooms, finely diced
  • Optional: 3 T chopped parsley AND/OR 2T chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and/or oregano (can substitute dried; use about half that)
  • 6-8 pastured eggs**
  • 4 T. bacon drippings
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 6 T. coconut flour
  • 1/2 t. aluminum-free baking powder (Rumford and Bob’s Red Mill are two options)
  • 8 oz. flavorful pastured cheese (such as sharp cheddar or pepper jack), shredded
  • Additional bacon drippings, or butter or lard (if you are greasing your muffin tin vs. using paper baking cups)

*I know a pound of bacon and a cup of sausage don’t sound equivalent but remember you cook so much fat out of the bacon you aren’t left with that much!
**Cheeseslave said the original recipe (for six muffins) called for three eggs, and she thought she’d like hers a bit eggier and recommended four. So, doubling the recipe as I have, that’s 6-8 eggs. If you have jumbo eggs, maybe just use six; if you have small eggs, use eight. You can just use seven if you want to split the difference or aren’t sure what size eggs you have. I have found the recipe is pretty forgiving.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. GENEROUSLY grease muffin tin or use paper liners (these stick a lot; I recommend parchment paper baking cups***).
  3. Prep the bacon and/or sausage: Fry bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels, crumble when it’s cool enough to handle, and set aside (reserve drippings). And/or crumble the sausage into a skillet and fry, breaking it up with a spatula into small chunks as it cooks, until cooked through, and set aside.
  4. Sauté vegetables until tender (use some of the reserved bacon drippings) if using, set aside.
  5. Chop herbs if using, set aside.
  6. Shred cheese, set aside.
  7. Lightly beat the eggs in a mixing bowl and add 4T of bacon drippings and salt.
  8. Stir in coconut flour and baking powder, mixing until there are no lumps (the coconut flour will want to clump together).
  9. Stir in the bacon and/or sausage, cheese, and optional vegetables and herbs. (It will seem like a lot of cheese; it’s fine.)
  10. Spoon batter into muffin tin (I use a small gravy ladle); I fill mine about 3/4 full. You could end up with a little more than 12 muffins worth of batter, depending on your mix-ins. Just line or grease another muffin tin and use the batter up.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  12. Cool on wire rack.

Can be reheated in a toaster oven with excellent results! About 10 minutes at 250 degrees does it.

Note: It’s best to get all your ingredients prepped in advance (steps 1-6) before starting the mixing at step 7. If you stir the warm drippings into the cold eggs and let that sit while you’re getting veggies, herbs, and cheese ready, for example, the drippings will congeal and it’s harder to get it and the coconut flour blended (as I learned the hard way).

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Crockpot Hunter-Style Rabbit Stew

Among the many offerings from my Amish farm buying club, I’d considered trying the domestic rabbit raised by one of the farmer’s sons, and finally bought one. But it sat in my freezer for quite a while–until today that is. Well, three days ago anyway, when I put it in the fridge to thaw. But it went into the slowcooker today and I had it for dinner tonight.

Crockpot Hunter-Style Rabbit Stew

I looked at number of recipes before settling on this one: http://www.food.com/recipe/rabbit-hunter-s-style-203224?oc=linkback. I’ve copied it below with additional notes of my own. I knew rabbit was quite lean, and so I thought a recipe with added fat, cooked slowly, would viagra online help ensure it would be tender and flavourful. And it is, that! I am not sure I’d pick rabbit over beef or chicken, but it was good, and satisfying, and I’ll enjoy the leftovers tomorrow. And it was fun to try a new meat.

As noted below, I found this link for How to Cut Up a Rabbit useful, and I learned a new term, silver skin. I had dealt with this thin connective tissue on beef before, but didn’t know what it was called. There’s a fair amount on a rabbit, and it’s best to cut it away as much as you can. It shrinks in cooking, pulling at the muscle tissue so your pieces of meat look funny, and becoming unpleasantly chewy to boot. I didn’t have too much trouble getting most of it off. A sharp knife is your best friend. See photo of me removing some of the silver skin below.

Another thing How to Cut Up a Rabbit told me is that rabbit fat has an unpleasant taste. I decided to take the hunter’s word for it, and removed most of the fat that came off easily (although I didn’t make a fetish of getting every last bit off). I was bummed to hear this–can any readers confirm that this is true? (Does wild or domestic rabbit make a difference here?) Rabbit is already lean, so I hated to remove what fat was there, because (usually) fat helps the flavor, and importantly, it provides fat-soluble vitamins that help you assimilate the protein and minerals in meat. Without adequate fat, when you eat meat, your body will rob fat-soluble vitamins from its reserves. American Indians knew if hunting was poor and all they could catch was rabbits (or other very lean meat), they’d soon develop “rabbit starvation.” So, while I removed most of the visible fat, I was generous with the added bacon fat.

Ingredients

  • 1 2.5-3 lb rabbit (I had a 3.37 lb rabbit, and this recipe worked out fine)
  • salt –where to buy salt
  • freshly ground black pepper –where to buy spices
  • 4 slices bacon (pastured), additional bacon drippings are also good (see intro notes above)
  • 4 shallots (organic), chopped
  • 3 garlic (organic) cloves, minced
  • 2 T all-purpose flour (I would assume you can substitute arrowroot powder) –where to buy flour
  • 1/2 c dry white wine (I did use white, but I bet red would be good as well)
  • 8 oz tomato sauce (organic)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 t chopped fresh thyme (organic) (for dried you can use less, but I like a lot of seasoning. I had only dried and used a full teaspoon) –where to buy herbs & spices
  • 1 t minced fresh basil (organic) (ditto above about using dried) –where to buy herbs & spices
  • 1 1/2 c sliced fresh mushrooms (organic)
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (organic) for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Rinse the rabbit, pat dry, and cut into serving size pieces, removing as much of the silver skin as you can (I found How to Cut Up a Rabbit very helpful; see also intro notes above about removing the fat).
  2. Season the rabbit liberally with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Cook the bacon over med-high heat in a large skillet until crisp.
  4. Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels (leaving the fat in the skillet), crumble, and set aside.
  5. Add the rabbit pieces to the hot bacon fat and brown on all sides, then transfer them to your crockpot.
  6. Add the shallots and garlic to the skillet (this is the point where I added extra bacon drippings I had on hand) and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle in the flour, then add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  8. Pour in the tomato sauce, water, thyme, and basil and bring to a boil.
  9. Pour the sauce over the rabbit; cover and cook on high for 2 hours.
  10. Add the mushrooms to the crockpot; cover and continue cooking on high for an additional 1 ½ to 3 hours, until the rabbit is very tender and falling off the bone. (I was out of the house for more than three hours, and it seemed perfect when I got home slipping off the bone.)
  11. Adjust seasonings to taste; garnish with chopped parsley and crumbled bacon.

 

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Homemade Pork Sausage

It’s nice to make your own sausage from ground pork, so you can control what’s in it. It’s so easy to add a tasty blend of seasonings and shape the meat into patties. Tasty with eggs for breakfast (or grain-free omelet muffins, shown above), or as a main dish for dinner.

Homemade Pork Sausage

 

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, to make it spicy–adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp dried sage, optional–for a more “breakfast sausage” type flavor (I like it both ways!)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules or 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1 pound ground pastured pork

Instructions

  1. Crush fennel seeds lightly in mortar and pestle* (or more finely if you don’t like obvious bits of fennel seed in your sausage).
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except fresh garlic if using) to mortar and grind them together with the pestle a bit more.
  3. If using the fresh garlic instead of garlic granules or powder, add that to the meat separately.
  4. Put the ground pork in a bowl.
  5. Add dry seasoning mix, plus fresh garlic if using.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Form into patties.
  8. Let the seasoned meat sit in the fridge for a few hours if possible to allow the flavors to blend. Or you can freeze them for later use.
  9. Fry up the patties when you’re ready.

*If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you could also use a spice mill or coffee grinder. Or use fennel powder and you won’t need to grind. You can also leave the seeds whole for a more rustic vibe.

Makes 8 two-ounce patties.

You can also store the dry seasonings, mixed together, to have on hand for later use. Just add to a pound of ground pork when ready.

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