Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘daring cooks july challenge’

Almond Chicken Makhani


Almond butter…the reason for this recipe…so simple and so good…and really…why not make your own.  It takes hardly any time, and you can control the salt and what kind of oil and how much to add!  If you haven’t done this before…do it.  It is an interesting exercise to see what flavor you get…and how much salt is necessary for your tastes…and there are hundreds of recipes that involve some kind of nut butter.

Start with almonds, throw them into the food processor and grind away.   It will be very loud!  You might have to yell to hear yourself think!

Continue to grind, and it will begin to look mealy.  If you like your nut butter chunky…you have a couple of options.  You could grind a completely smooth batch, and then add some roughly chopped almonds, or you can grind a portion of the nuts to the consistency you want and then add whole nuts for a few more pulses of the blade.

You will need to add oil at some point, otherwise, you will have more of a nut paste.  Remember also, that the type of oil you use will have an impact on the flavor as well…so I would stay away from very strongly flavored oils, unless your goal is to make a garlic almond butter to use in savory dishes…just don’t plan on making any nut butter and jelly sandwiches.  And, salt really helps bring out the flavor of any nut butter and is overly present in many commercial varieties.

On to the task at hand.  Chicken Makhani!

If I had known that this was this easy to make…I would have saved many a take-out night when we lived in Boston.  Makhani was one of the first Indian dishes that I explored…and turns out…I loved it.  And who wouldn’t…the description on almost any Indian restaurant’s menu of ‘butter chicken‘ is pretty irresistible.  I recognize, that this is not a completely authentic makhani recipe…but the basic flavor profile is there.  I swapped out typically used cashews for almonds and yogurt for milk.  Perhaps I’ve misnamed…but it is what my mouth thought of!

Almond Chicken Makhani
recipe adapted from www.morepleasebymargie.blogspot.com

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
4 (6 oz / 170 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste

Spice Blend:
1.5 tablespoons  garam masala seasoning
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Sauce:
4 tablespoons  butter
1 large onion, cut in half pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
⅓ cup almond butter
⅓ cup  milk
½ to ¾ cup  chicken broth or water, more as needed
1 cup frozen peas

Cook the chicken.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. If needed, cook the chicken in two batches to avoid crowding the pan.  Set aside on clean plate and keep warm.

Prepare spice blend. Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion (I sliced half the onion in strips and left the other half whole) and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine.

Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly.

Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer.

Whisk in almond butter and milk until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce. The almond butter is thick so it takes a while to make a smooth sauce. Return to simmer.

Add broth or water (I used water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer. Add more broth (or water) as needed to thin sauce as desired.

Remove onion (the half or both halves if you followed the recipe exactly) from sauce and discard. Stir frozen peas into sauce. Transfer chicken to sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until peas and chicken are heated through.

Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a few sliced almonds.

This was great on the table that night…and even better as leftovers the next few days.  I would make one change when making this again…as the flavors were a little heavy on the cinnamon.  Woody remarked that our kitchen smelled like a CinnaBon stand when I reheated it the following night.  It is a definite keeper,  as a recipe and a method!

Savory Pecan Cream with Chicken & Egg Noodles


The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

*Important*  The following recipe does not include any cream, milk, or half and half, despite appearances and taste…no cows were involved in the making of this dish.  (I know…it’s hard to believe – since I love the stuff and rarely abstain from a little pour, a touch of cream, a dollop of dairy.)

I was intrigued with the challenge this month and was excited to try a couple of the recipes…unfortunately…somehow July has been a challenging month to find the time.  I was able to complete the challenge on time…but getting a post written is often times the greater challenge.

Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms

Ingredients:

Pecan Cream:
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans*, toasted
1 cup water
¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed

½ pound egg noodles or pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauce:
1 tablespoon deglazing liquid (water, broth, wine; optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Chopped pecans – optional garnish

First, toast up your pecans to deepen the flavor – put them in a dry skillet over medium heat and give the pan a shake every so often.  Make sure just to toast – not burn…and this burning I speak of can happen quite fast…so no walking away from the stove and forgetting about what is going on.

Next, prepare the pecan cream. Grind pecans in a food processor for about a minute or so until smooth, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add water and 3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Set aside pecan cream.

Yummm….delicious nutty cream (sans cream).

Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness to promote even cooking.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.  Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil and a little butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.  Set aside cooked chicken on a clean plate, cover to keep warm.

Chop the shallots and slice the mushrooms.

Add deglazing liquid to pan if using and stir up any browned bits – these are my favorite part.  The browned bits.  If needed, add another teaspoon of oil (or more) to pan for sautéing the shallots and mushrooms.

Sauté the shallots and mushrooms over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and starting to brown.

I am drooling…I love mushrooms…especially when combined with butter and some kind of oniony thing.

Add fresh thyme to the pan.

Stir in pecan cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes till reduced slightly.

Slice the chicken breast, place atop egg noodles and ladle the pecan cream over the top.  I finished the dish with some microgreens!

One would SWEAR that there are LOADS of cream, heavy cream, whipping cream…in this dish…but alas there is NONE!  This will definitely be a keeper for those times when we’re entertaining any lactose intolerant guests.  Also…it was just good.  The sauce keeps a bit of the graininess from the chopped pecans and is rich and decadent.  Be careful not to over-salt the pecan cream…it’s hard to fix that one.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,026 other followers

%d bloggers like this: