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Moroccan Chicken Thighs

I’ve been making this dish for several years and I never get tired of it. The combination of the sweet sauce, warm spices and salty olives is addictive. It’s fast to make and leftovers are just as good the next day. If you don’t devour it all… which I usually do.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut to bite size pieces
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup quartered dried apricots figs (about 2 ounces)
  • ¼ cup chopped green olives
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons dry Marsala or Madeira
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom


Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. To finish sprinkle with a little more cilantro.

Serve over a bed of couscous.

Serves 4.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Chimichurri & Yogurt Mint Sauce

Lamb chops two ways… both extremely delicious. My dinner date & fellow foodie, Scott, was the master of these two sauces and he preferred the marriage of the two. I can’t seem to move beyond the Chimichurri.

Chimichurri is Argentina’s pesto… and I’m becoming obsessed. I can’t think of anything I don’t want to put it on: fish, toasted bread, eggs, chicken, pork tacos, a garnish for soup. Chimichurri may take the lead as my favorite condiment and push balsamic vinegar to second place. It’s beautifully simple and amazingly flavorful considering the base is parsley. Add some lemon, red wine vinegar, garlic and red pepper flakes and you have a flavor treasure.

It doesn’t need much love. Mix it up – slather it on anything edible – watch the bowl empty.


For the Marinade:

  • 8 lamb rib chops (about 1 – 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt & Pepper

For the Chimichurri:

  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried oregano)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Finely chop the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic (or process in a food processor several pulses). Place in a small bowl. Stir in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Adjust seasonings. Serve immediately or refrigerate. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Can keep for a day or two. Serves 4.

For the Yogurt Mint Sauce:

  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 ounces Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the scallions, mint, dill, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until it’s a coarse paste. Add the yogurt, salt, and pepper and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.


Prepare the sauces as instructed above and set aside.

In a small bowl combine marinade ingredients: garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Rub over lamb chops and let sit on the counter for about 30 minutes.

Heat a gas grill or grill pan over high heat. Add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

Braised Short Ribs with Coriander and Balsamic

The Feb/March issue of Fine Cooking featured an exceptional build your own Short Ribs recipe. I appreciated the explanation of the method and the ability to change any ingredient and make it mine. I chose to use 2 of my favorite ingredients – coriander and balsamic vinegar – and they made me proud once again.

I am itching to make a new version with an Asian flair. Though I am certainly ready for Spring, I could handle a few more weeks of winter weather to reinvent this sick to your ribs meal.

Lots of crusty bread should be parked beside your bowl… dip away!


  • 4-1/2 to 5 lb. English-style beef short ribs (8 to 12 ribs)
  • 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3 carrots, medium-diced
  • 2 stalks celery, medium-diced
  • 1 medium onion, medium-diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 whole dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoons paprika (smoked)
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. In an 8-quart Dutch oven, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat. Season the ribs with 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Add half of the ribs to the pot (or as many as will fit without overlap), and cook, turning with tongs, until nicely browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the ribs to a platter and repeat with the remaining ribs. Pour off all but a thin layer of fat from the pan.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil, carrots, celery, and onions to the pan. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until the aromatics are soft and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, coriander, paprika, and garlic, and cook, stirring, until well distributed and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Pour the 1/2 cup red wine into the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, until the liquid is reduced to about 2 Tbs., about 1 minute.

Transfer all the ribs (and any juices that have accumulated) back into the pot. Pour the soy sauce, 2 cups red wine, and beef broth and 1 cup water over the ribs and using tongs, arrange the ribs as evenly as possible and no more than two layers deep.

Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and put the pot in the oven. Cook, turning the ribs with tongs about every 40 minutes, until they are fork tender, about 2-3/4 hours. (The meat may fall off most of the bones about midway through cooking; this does not mean that the ribs are fully tender.)

Transfer the ribs to a serving platter or dish. Let the sauce and solids sit in the pot for a few minutes to cool and with a shallow spoon, skim off as much of the fat as possible from the surface. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper, and add the vinegar.

Serve the ribs with the sauce spooned over, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Pork Loin with Cider and Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes

Pork and apples are a classic combination. I eat most of my apples with cheese and honestly getting a nice texture from a cooked apple can be tricky. So apple cider is a welcome ingredient already full of flavor from the allspice, cinnamon and cloves.

A few months ago I made a version of this pork recipe with my Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Ravioli. I had boneless center cut chops brined overnight in apple cider and peppercorns. This time a 6-chop pork loin roast was in the freezer begging to free up some space. Since it was on the bone I did not brine the meat but if you have a boneless tenderloin or chops I would suggest brining for a few hours to overnight.

I’ve given instructions below on how to prepare this with pork chops and skip the roasting part all together.

This was very simple to prepare and the payoff is much larger than the effort. I served with roasted cauliflower and Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes).


  • 2 sprigs rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs sage, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • Salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (6-chop) pork rib roast
  • 2 large yellow onions, sliced
  • 1 bundle thyme, tied with string
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a food processor, combine the chopped herbs with the garlic, crushed red pepper, a generous pinch of salt and enough olive oil to make a paste. Rub the paste on the outside of the pork rib roast.

Toss the onions with olive oil, and salt, and place in the bottom of a roasting pan or large oven proof skillet. Add the thyme, bay leaves and 2/3 of the cider. Place the pork on top of the onions and place in the preheated oven. Roast the pork at 425 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork has developed a brown crust.

Lower the oven to 375 degrees F and roast for another 30 to 35 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 150 degrees F. If the crust on the pork starts to get too dark, cover it with foil.

Remove pork from oven and transfer to a platter and cover to keep warm. Place pan with onions and cider on burner over medium-high heat. Add remaining apple cider & chicken stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Reduce until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in whole grain mustard and butter to finish sauce.

Cut the loin into chops & serve with the cider mustard sauce.

If using pork chops:

Rub the paste on the outside of the pork chops and set aside.

Preheat skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil to the pan. When hot, add chops to the pan and brown on both sides until a nice crust forms. Remove chops from pan and set aside. In the same pan add onions or shallots and cook until translucent and soft. Deglaze the pan with apple cider scraping the brown bits off the bottom on the pan. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in whole grain mustard and butter to finish sauce.

Place pork chops back in the pan to heat through in the sauce.

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes & Cauliflower in Herb Butter


  • 1/2 pound Jerusalem artichokes, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, broken into bite size pieces
  • Salt & pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Fresh herbs of your choice: sage, thyme, oregano, tarragon


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss artichokes and cauliflower in olive oil, season with salt & pepper and toss in oven proof skillet. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove pan from oven and add 2 tablespoons butter and herbs. Toss to combine. Serve warm.

Beef Bourguignon

It is the coldest it’s ever been in Dallas (in my tenure anyway). So I settled into my -2 degree wind chill day with no intentions of exiting the house and it was like my little snow day. Good movies, a blazing fire and a steaming bowl of Beef Bourguignon.

My mom made a beautiful beef stew when I was a kid… and then I would destroy it by mashing the potatoes and shredding the beef until it looked like a bad brown bowl of mush… but it tasted glorious. As I got older I always added a few dashes of Tabasco to my bowl but I was out! The half bottle of Sriracha in the fridge was actually a better substitute and will be the new trend in my bowl of stew.

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa and serves 10 easily. Chuck the leftovers in the freezer or make some neighbors happy.


Beef Bourguignon


  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces bacon, diced
  • 3 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound small white potatoes, quartered
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac or Brandy
  • 3/4 bottle red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced



Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.

Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.

Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the potatoes. Add the wine plus enough beef broth to cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

Serve with crusty bread.


Beef Kofta with Harissa Yogurt Sauce

In a recent issue of Bon Appétit, meatballs made the list of favorite foods in 2009. I seemed to miss that trend on menus and magazines but nonetheless was inspired by the ethnic versions in the issue.

Kofta, in simplest terms, is a Middle Eastern meatball. The Bon Appétit recipe called for lamb but the beef roast in my freezer was begging to be used. So after a few whirls in the food processor my lean beef was meatball worthy. I saved myself some time and threw the onions in for a few spins. If you have lean beef the onions are key to keep the beef moist.

This yogurt sauce was also begging for something – my new favorite fiery ingredient – harissa. The paste of chili peppers, garlic, coriander and caraway took this sauce from blah to bold.

Servings: 6


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup coarsely grated onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 6 Whole Wheat pitas (warmed in oven or microwave)
  • 2 large onions, halved through core, cut crosswise into 1/4- to 1/3-inch slices

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon prepared Harissa
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • Kosher salt


For the Harissa Yogurt Sauce:

Stir all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Cover and chill.

For the Beef Kofta:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer onions to a bowl and set aside.

Gently mix beef and next 9 ingredients in large bowl. Using 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs (24 total).

Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet used to cook onions; heat over medium-high heat. Sauté half of meatballs until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet in oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

Top warm pita with yogurt sauce, onions and meatballs.

Red & Green Verde Venison Enchiladas

This recipe is for my friends Matt and Scott. Matt asked me a few months ago if I had a good recipe for venison. Sadly, I didn’t, as I’ve never cooked with venison meat. Shortly after my good friend Scott sent me home from a BBQ with ground venison from his hunting expeditions. What are the odds?

There are two variations: a green sauce with goat cheese and a New Mexico red sauce with chocolate and cinnamon. The green sauce was a complete cheat job as I doctored up a can on Goya green enchilada sauce. The red sauce is a culmination of many recipes I researched and many adjustments made when cooking the sauce.

I also snuck in some spinach and cremini mushrooms into the filling… I had them on hand and I’m always looking for a way to sneak in some veggies where they are unexpected.

Served with my favorite cabbage slaw.

Put leftover enchilada sauce in the freezer… I see a Tortilla Soup coming from my leftovers soon.


For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground venison, or beef
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, medium cube
  • 1 – 12 ounce package chooped spinach, squeezed dry
  • 1 – 8 ounce package shredded colby-jack cheese
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 24 corn tortillas
  • Red enchilada sauce, recipe follows
  • Green enchilada sauce, recipe follows


Heat oil in a large heavy. Add venison meat, chopped onion and chopped garlic, season with salt and pepper and brown the meat, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and spinach and cook for 3-4 minutes until mushrooms are brown. Add chili powder and cilantro. Deglaze this with the chicken stock. Removed from heat and allow to cool.

For the Red enchilada sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 cup New Mexico chili powder
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 – 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 ounce chocolate
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon


In a medium saucepan heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 minute. Add chili powder, tomato paste, onion and cook for a minute. Add stock, tomato sauce, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and chocolate. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Adjust the seasonings.

For the Green enchilada sauce:

  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 jar green Goya enchilada sauce


In a medium saucepan heat 1 tsp canola oil, add onion, garlic and cumin. Cook for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent. Add Goya enchilada sauce and cilantro. Stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Soften corn tortillas in a microwave oven, wrapped in a damp cloth for 20 seconds on high, until soft and pliable. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of venison mix into center of tortilla and top with cheese and roll. Place rolled enchiladas into a lightly oiled baking dish, seam side down.

For Green Enchiladas: Smother with green enchilada sauce and sprinkle with colby-jack cheese and goat cheese crumbles.

For Red Enchiladas: Smother with red enchilada sauce and sprinkle with colby-jack cheese.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes.


Pork Shoulder Pernil with Cilantro-Citrus Adobo

My good friend and fellow foodie, Catherine of Fish and Veggies, peaked my interest in this dish. She gave it a try and received rave reviews. So I followed her lead with a few modifications based on her suggestions and made my own Pork Pernil.

“Pernil” is a classic Puerto Rican pork roast that is incredibly easy and equally impressive. The basic method is making the “adobo” which is simply a purée of garlic, herbs and citrus juice. Next time I will add onion and chili powder to the adobo for a little more flavor.

It couldn’t be simpler. Throw the potatoes in the bottom and after 3 hours they are perfectly crispy and flavored with the adobo. I made a quick coleslaw and served with flour tortillas to make tacos.


For the Pork:

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder (about 4 pounds), skin on
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 handful fresh oregano
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, plus chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 limes, juiced, plus wedges for serving
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5-6 large Idaho potatoes, cubed

For the Coleslaw:

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 t cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small red onion, thinkly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • shredded carrots


Prepare the adobo: In a food processor, add the garlic, oregano, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add lime juice and orange juice. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse until you have a nice puree.

Using a sharp knife, score the surface of the meat with small slits. Place pork in a large plastic bag. Pour the marinade all over the pork and seal plastic bag. Marinade in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place in the bottom of a roasting pan.

Remove pork from marinade and place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack insert. Rub leftover marinade on top of pork – being sure to get into the incisions so the salt can penetrate the meat and pull out the moisture – this will help form a crust on the outside when cooked.

Roast the pork and potatoes for 3 hours, uncovered, until the skin is crispy-brown. Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing, covered lightly with aluminum foil. Drizzle with lime juice and garnish with cilantro.

Mix all ingredients for the coleslaw dressing and add to coleslaw mix 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with tortillas for taco making!