Stovetop Hits the Spot

June 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

Blog Food I 004  My beloved stepmother was both a very good, nutrition-conscious cook and a fine model for conserving resources.  She often touted stovetop cooking as a superior method of meal preparation, and on a hot day her advice proves even sounder.   So, with the exception of toasting some nuts for a few minutes, tonight’s menu is stovetop all the way, starting with Chicken Thighs with Almonds and Apricots served on a bed of fresh-cooked Bulgur with a side of Crisp-Steamed Fresh Green Beans.  The perfect light finish for this Mediterranean fare?  A scoop of Frozen Lemon Yogurt with Fresh Raspberries.

And in the “Almost Certain to be More Than You Wanted to Know” department, bulgur is defined as cleaned, cooked, dried, and pulverized durum wheat , with roots (no pun intended) in ancient Near Eastern cultures – so ancient, in fact, that the Old Testament makes reference to it as “Arisah.”  Fortunately for those of us who have trouble remembering how to spell it, it is variously referred to as bulgur, bulgor, boulgur, burgul, brughoul, and burghoul.  

With that etymology sufficiently covered, for the chicken, to serve six you’ll need:

 2/3 C coarse-chopped almonds                 12 dried apricots               2.5 # boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tsp olive oil                                                      2 large scallions                 2 TB red wine vinegar                    

2 tsp soy sauce                                                  ½ C chicken broth            1 tsp brown rice syrup or honey               

Toast the almonds at 325° for 10 minutes.  Place the apricots in a small bowl with enough water to cover, microwave on high for about 5 minutes, and let them rest in their warm bath while prepping the chicken.

Since I don’t often shop at those lovely, upscale grocery stores with wall-to-wall carpeting, meticulously trimmed meats, and cashiers who are dressed better than I am, my package of chicken thighs usually needs a little attention before cooking.  If this applies, use a sharp pair of kitchen shears to trim off any of those disgusting bits of fat and connective tissue that become visible once the package wrap is removed and the hidden underside is exposed.  After trimming, cut each thigh piece in half.

Use a spatula to spread the olive oil over the bottom of a large non-stick skillet, set over medium heat, and brown the chicken well, 3-4 minutes per side.  Chop scallions and sprinkle over meat; stir in red wine vinegar.  Remove apricots from soaking liquid reserving 3 TB of the liquid; cut apricots into quarters and add to skillet.  In a small bowl, blend soy sauce, chicken broth, rice syrup, and 3 TB of the apricot soaking liquid; pour over chicken.  Cover pan and simmer over medium-low for 20 minutes.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds and toss to combine just before serving.

To cook the bulgur, stir 2 C of the dried, cracked wheat into 4 C boiling water, reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes.   

There’s a lovely recipe for Frozen Lemon Yogurt at www.relishmag.com, so I’ll both refer and defer to that site for dessert.  The handful of fresh raspberries on top makes for a glorious combination, as would a sprinkling of fresh blueberries – or “Brain Berries,” as Dr. Daniel Amen calls them.

Best wishes for health-fueling, guilt-free eating to you all.

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Entry filed under: Musings of a Midwestern Foodie. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

And what is the "something" we are aiming for here? Simply a life of robust good health in every important area - spiritual, physical, cognitive, and emotional.

To that end we offer inspirational real-life stories about PEOPLE OF FAITH AND COURAGE; menus and cooking directions meant to fuel your creative inclinations and your healthy body in the form of MUSINGS OF A MIDWESTERN FOODIE; and ADVICE FOR LIFE from the perspective of those who have lived it to maturity. (Click on the green category tabs at the top of this page to learn more about each section.)

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