Spiced Thyme Chicken and Green Beans with Coconut Rice

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Yesterday evening I was puttering around in the kitchen, wondering what to make for dinner, and came up with this little weeknight one-pot meal. Well, two pots if you count the coconut rice, but I had that leftover from the weekend barbecue. I’m a little smug about my invented method of steaming green beans on a bed of Jamaican-inspired chicken. Also a bit smug about using homegrown thyme from my windowsill.

These spices are nice, but if you are not cooking for little ones, I encourage you to turn up the heat.

Spiced Thyme Chicken and Green Beans with Coconut Rice

For chicken and green beans:
1 lb chicken legs and thighs, skinned
olive oil
4 allspice berries
4 cloves
salt & pepper
paprika
ground thyme
cayenne (optional – I skipped it)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 shallots, sliced
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1 lb green beans, trimmed
1 tbsp butter
a few sprigs fresh thyme

Heat olive oil with allspice berries and cloves. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and a generous dusting of paprika, thyme, and cayenne. Brown chicken on both sides and remove to a plate. Saute garlic and shallots for a couple of minutes and add chicken broth, plus a cup of water. Scrape brown bits off the bottom of the pan, add back the chicken pieces. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through. Add a splash more water if necessary and toss green beans on top of chicken. Cover and steam until green beans are cooked al dente.

Arrange green beans and chicken on top of rice. Stir up and reduce pan liquid to a quarter cup or less. Stir in pat of butter, and pour over chicken and green beans. Garnish with fresh thyme.

For coconut rice:
1 c basmati rice
1 c coconut milk
1 c water
1 cinnamon stick
salt

Soak and rinse rice. Combine rice, coconut milk, water, cinnamon stick and salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a low simmer until rice is cooked, about 15 to 20 min.

Note: I serve this rice with everything. It’s easy and it goes with all kinds of food.

I chose this as my best recipe in July!

Green Beans with Dijon Vinaigrette

It’s springtime, and I’m definitey in the mood for fresh green veggies. These green beans are cooked al dente and dressed with a lovely tangy vinaigrette. It’s Monday night; I made this as lazily as humanly possible and you can barely call this a salad, but you can call it beautiful in it’s simplicity.

Green Beans with Dijon Vinaigrette

1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp honey
salt & pepper
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Combine shallot with vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Let sit and pickle for at least 20 minutes. Add dijon mustard and olive oil, mix well.

Meanwhile, blanche green beans in salted boiling water. Drain and cool to room temp on a tea towel. Toss with vinaigrette and serve.

Take this up a couple notches by adding red potatoes and cherry tomatoes – fit for a dinner party!

Thanksgiving Prep

Now that I have the currency of being married with a baby, I won the privilege of hosting Thanksgiving this year. For the first time! I’m so excited! I’ve promised to cook my ass off. Of course other family members are bringing things but my plan is to provide a base meal that they can add to. I also have to consider that one of my aunts is a vegan, and although she’s bringing food as well, I want her to be able to eat as much as possible without the rest of my family noticing which dishes are vegan.

I’m making the turkey (of course – and actually I might delegate this to Shan with “sage” as a direction, because he did such a good job cooking the turkey his work gifted us last year), potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, salad, appetizer and dessert. I don’t really have a whole lot of Thanksgivingy dishes in my repertoire, so I’m trying out a few before the day.

First off – green beans and potatoes.

Last night I made the haricots verts with toasted walnuts and walnut oil (no recipe, the name says it all) from Amanda Hesser’s Cooking for Mr. Latte and they were fantastic. I actually used just regular green beans for poor me and Zoeya the test-tasters, but I’ll actually procure haricot verts for the day which will be prettier and more delicate. I worry this dish is too simple, because we all know Thanksgiving is about side dishes on crack, but I think something simple and elegant – that doesn’t require valuable oven real-estate – will be a good addition and definitely more delicious than our traditional green bean casserole from a can.

The other dish I made was the Scalloped Potato and Fennel which I saw in Bon Appetit. This came out beautiful! You line a buttered baking dish with garlic and rosemary, layer slices of fennel and potatoes, and pour a cream mixture over the whole thing. Bake. The rosemary permeated the dish without being overpowering, and made the house smell amazing. I hadn’t bought enough cream so substituted half with milk, and it was still incredibly decadent. Find the Scalloped Potato and Fennel recipe at Bon Appetit – I give it four forks. I was also impressed with my $10 Wal-Mart mandolin.

I’m off to a good start, and looking forward to trying more holiday goodies.