Building a Levain or Sourdough Starter

By: Julie

Makes:  1 batch of Levain natural yeast bread starter

Time:  minutes a day for 5 days

This is a lesson in building a basic sourdough starter, also called Levain.  This is the Ken Forkish method from Flour, Water Salt, Yeast.  It is not the only way, merely one that I have found to be easy to make, and reliable.  I’ve built it from scratch 5 times now and it’s produced the same results every time.

You will learn that starters are not as hard as they seem.  By smelling, tasting and touching you will learn when your starter is too active and needs to be cooled, or needs additional flour or heat.  A warmer environment makes for a more active starter, and more sourness in your sourdough so be prepared to go through a learning curve as you adjust your starter to your environment and your baking needs.

You will never feel more accomplished than immediately after you take your first successful loaf of levain bread out of the oven.  I promise, if you like sourdough than this is worth the effort.  If you have the time you can take a look at some of the widely researched health benefits of eating fermented dough vs a commercial yeast bread.  Even some people who have gluten sensitivity find they can tolerate a fermented dough, but I am not a health professional.  Do your research.  What I can tell you is that it’s delicious and it keeps for up to 5 days on your counter, which is more than I can say for a home-baked commercial yeast bread that has no preservatives.

You will build your levain over a 5 day period, day 5 being the day you will mix your first dough for your first levain bread (or store your starter for later use).  I have tried this both with white and whole wheat flour and I recommend whole wheat.  There is more nutrients to feed your yeast and you will have a more active culture.  If you are making a white only levain you need a warm environment, over 80F, for best results.

You will need:

  • A 5 or 6 quart bowl or tub with a snug fitting lid
  • A kitchen scale that measures grams
  • digital thermometer
  • 2500g of whole wheat flour
  • 500g of white flour

 

Day 1

Sometime before noon feed your levain.  If you miss your deadline, it’s not the end of the world.  Your bread may turn out more sour.  Feed it a little earlier the next day or add extra days to feed before making your bread.  If you miss a whole day you will end up with some boozy alcohol scented bread which can have some unpleasant flavors.  Set an alarm on your phone.  I was able to feed quickly in about 5 min from start to finish before work with no problem.

You will Need:

WEIGH YOUR LEVAIN BOWL BEFORE STARTING AND WRITE IT DOWN!

500g of whole wheat flour

500g of water at 90F (If your house is below 70F, then use warmer water, about 95F).

Add to your bowl and mix by hand until there is no dry flour.  It will be like thick dough.  Leave exposed to the air for an hour or two and then cover and store at room temp.  Somewhere where it’s consistently 75F would be ideal but as long as it’s over 70 you will be successful.  In the beginning I recommend paying attention to the temp of your mix and surrounding environment and how that impacts the look, smell, and taste of your mix.  If your house is super cold, you can store your levain in the oven with the light on.  But it needs to be monitored because you may have to heave the door ajar to prevent your levain from getting too hot.

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Day 2 – sometime before noon

When you take the lid off your levain you will notice a perfume that smells sort of like leather.  This is good.  Your levain should be noticeably runnier than when you put the lid on and have bubbles.  Bubbles are life!

Throw away about three quarters of the mix (just scoop it out with a wet hand into the trash – although this is a compost-able mix if you can get it there without making a mess).

Add 500g whole wheat flour

500g of 90-95F water and mix with a wet hand.

Leave uncovered for 1 to 2 hours.  It is important to note that I shortened this because I had to leave for work so my exposure was only about 30min.  Everything was fine.

Cover and put back into your warm location.

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Day 3

Your levain should now be bubbly, have some structure (a sort of web-like stickiness and some stretch from the gluten), and it should have a leather smell.  Throw out three quarters and add:

500g of whole wheat flour

500g of 90-95F water.

Mix using a wet hand until incorporated.  Leave uncovered for 1 to 2 hours then cover and put back into your warm spot.  Today is the turning point.  If you check it before bed it will have a sour porridge smell.  Don’t worry.  It gets better.  Smelling and tasting through out the process is important.  Observation is the key to repetition and success in a changing environment.

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Day 4

The levain should have doubled in size and be very bubbly.  It will be smelling fruity and pleasant.

Today needs accuracy.  You will be prepping your levain for mixing tomorrow.

Throw away all but 200g.  Your final weight should be the initial weight of your bowl plus 200g of levain.  The bowl will be almost empty but all is well.

Add 500g of whole wheat flour

500g of water 90-95F.  Cover and put in a warm place.

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Day 5

Success!  You should now have enough happy yeast to use in Pain De Campagne  

How you feed your bread today will depend on what recipe you are using.  Most sourdough recipes will have instructions for how to feed your starter on mix day.

For levain breads from Flour Salt Water Yeast:

Sometime between 7am and 9am:

Throw away all but 150g of the mix.  Add the following:

400g of white flour

100g of whole wheat flour

Mix with hand until just incorporated.  Cover and let rest in a warm place.  By mid afternoon your levain should be ready to use in your final mix!

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Here’s what it looks like in the final dough!

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And if you have done it right, here’s what you get when you’re all done:

This is Pain De Campagne.  You can find the recipe for it here:

Drop us a comment and let us know how it goes, we want to see your results!

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Pain De Campagne – A levain bread

By:  Julie

Serves:  2 beautiful loaves

Time:  3 days.  Clear your schedule.

Levain breads (the French word for sourdough) are not for the faint of heart.  You cannot make this in an afternoon – for it is a flower that needs planning and love to blossom...  Enough poetry.  It’s time consuming, and may drive you slightly crazy, but I PROMISE -you will be so damn proud of yourself when you are done that you’ll want to do it again. Immediately.

This recipe assumes that you already have a sourdough starter.  If you don’t, stay tuned because I will include levain building in my next post.  This recipe and instruction is the Ken Forkish method from Flour Salt Water Yeast, a book that I highly recommend if you are serious about doing this.  It becomes second nature after a few practices but you’ll find it a whole lot less intimidating if you read this book first.  A small investment to save you stress later.  This is not a paid endorsement, I just really like his book.  This method has never failed me and his instructions are so detailed I felt in control the entire time.  Corinne mentioned that he wastes a lot of flour building his levains, which may be unnecessary, but once you have the levain built the waste is minimal and still cheaper than buying a good loaf of bread.  Keep in mind, people have written entire books about this and I am condensing it into 1 post.  Read through the instructions several times before starting – and read each step again before completing.  It’s not hard, but it is precise.  It’s a 3 days process so make sure you have some time when you’re going to be around the house and plan ahead so you are not rushed.

The Steps Are: 

  1. Wake Starter – Day 1 am
  2. Feed Levain – Day 2 am
  3. Autolyse (hydrate flour) – Day 2 afternoon
  4. Mix – Day 2 afternoon
  5. Fold – Day 2 early evening
  6. Rise – Day 2 evening
  7. Shape – Day 2 late evening
  8. Proof overnight in fridge – Day 2 overnight
  9. Bake – Day 3 am.

Before starting you’re going to need a few things.  Not fancy, there is no need and unless you’re going to do this all the time probably not worth the investment.

  • 2 wicker baskets – or not.  I used plastic bowls lined with linen tea towels.  Just make sure you use something medium size-ish that has a tight fitting lid.  It will save you trying to wrap it with plastic wrap and losing your mind later.  When I created this post I didn’t have baskets.  Now that I do, I use them, but place them inside the same plastic bowls to place in the fridge to rise.  It’s just easier.  You could also use glass.  I have not used stainless and have no idea if the bread would behave the same or different so if this is something you try, leave a comment and let readers know about your success!
  • Whole Wheat Flour – all the bread I make has at least some portion of whole wheat.  For one, it’s good for you, and because it’s good for you, it’s also good for your wild yeast!  They will feed faster and work harder because of the whole wheat content in your loaf, meaning you will need less “help” from commercial yeast depending on what loaf you are making.
  • White Flour – All of the bread I make has at least some portion of white flour.  It is light and easily leavened making for more delicate bread.
  • Kitchen scale.  ESSENTIAL.  If you measure a cup of flour and I measure a cup of flour I GUARANTEE you they will be different every time.  I cannot stress this enough.  In the world of bread accuracy is your best friend.  You’ll want something that can weigh up to 2 Kg and as small as 1g.  Digital is easy.
  • Kitchen thermometer.  Temp is important here.  You need to know both the approximate temp of your room and the temp of the water you are adding to your mixes.  It will help with repeat-ability and will help you troubleshoot if something goes wrong.
  • A medium container with a lid to feed your levain.
  • A 6 quart (or larger) container for final dough.  It needs a lid.  The first time I made this I used my crock pot insert with a lid.  It worked like a charm.  Be creative.  Use a small clean rubbermaid tote if you have it.  Shape doesn’t matter too much, just the lid.  I have a friend that uses a small rubbermaid lunch cooler with success.
  • A dutch oven with lid.  Warning – I used an enamel one and it’s taken a beating over time.  If you have a seasoned cast iron one use that.  If you don’t have a dutch oven, it works perfectly fine on a stoneware pan or a pizza stone.

Wake Up Your Levain – 2 days before baking

I have just taken mine out of the fridge Friday morning at 9 am.   I will weigh my levain bowl and add 200g of levain, throwing the rest away.  Try to keep as little of the water out of it as possible and just scoop the levain.

Make sure you weigh your bowl before starting! My bowl weighs 130g.  I chose one with a lid to make life easier.

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Then I add 200g of levain.

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Then I add 100g of whole wheat flour.

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Then 400 of white flour.

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In winter add 400g of 95f water.

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NOTE: If it’s summer and warm in your house add 90F water instead.

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Now mix until combined with your hand.  You want to use your hands (clean ones please), you’re adding yeast to what is already present on the flour.  This really will be your very own bread, and will taste like no other.

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Cover and put in a warm place overnight.  If your house is 65F or cooler try putting it in your oven with the light on.  The light will keep the oven warm.  Be sure to check that it isn’t too hot in there periodically.  I have to leave the door ajar a bit.

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Saturday morning 9 am
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Your levain should now look something like this. You will now do your last feeding before mixing the dough later this afternoon.

Feed levain 9 am Saturday

Discard all but 100 g. The will only be a little left.
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Add 100g whole wheat flour
400g white flour
400g water at 90F in winter, 85f in summer
Mix with your HAND
Cover and let rest 6 to 8 hours

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Continue reading

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Muffins

By:  Julie

Servings:  12

Time:  10 min prep, 20 min cooking

My favourite part of Christmas dinner is pie, followed closely by turkey with cranberry sauce.  So we make a LOT, because after the main event comes the glorious Turkey and Cranberry sauce sandwich on lovely fresh bread.  This year, due to a limited number of leftovers (and the fact that I have mostly given up bread), we actually had leftover sauce.  Now, the options for such a prize are many and varied; like freezing it for the next time you have a chicken or turkey dinner, just eating it with a spoon like a gluton because it’s freaking delicious, spreading it on toast because it is essentially jam, throwing it in a saucepan with some balsamic and some pork chops, it really is amazing stuff.  However, I’m out of healthy snacks for my ravenous family and I really, really need some carbs in my life. So muffins it is!  Now time for some notes.  Your homemade sauce is likely different from everyone elses.  If it’s runny you will need to add another half cup of flour here.  If it’s sweet you may want to cut down on some of the sugar.  This is a fairly forgiving recipe so whatever you make will likely be edible and probably delicious.  If you don’t have a full cup of cranberry sauce, just throw some dried cranberries in there.  Almonds would be good too!

It is important to note that out of all the muffins I have made, maybe a hundred different kinds, these might be my favourite as far as flavor goes.20190107_095927

You will need:

  • 1.5 cups of wheat bran
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of maple syrup (the real stuff) depending on the overall sweetness of your cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup of plain greek yogurt.  Feel free to use vanilla here, just cut back on the maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of leftover cranberry sauce

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Preparations:

Preheat oven to 375F.  Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper cups if using.  Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Fold wet into dry until just combined.  Tip – you never want to over mix your muffins.  You’ll let out all the air and they will be smaller and dense!  The batter will be light and sort of spongy as the bran absorbs all that liquid.  You want to leave it for about 5 min to let the bran absorb all that liquid and for the yogurt to activate the baking soda.  Pop them in the oven and keep an eye out.  The tops will get a lovely golden brown.  Bake for 18 min and insert a toothpick to check for done-ness.  It should come out clean.  If you are not using paper liners, let cool for 5 min and then remove from pan to maintain that outer caramelization because, well, yum.  Cool completely on a rack before storing for up to 5 days in an airtight container… but they won’t last that long.

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies

By: Julie

Time:  20 min

Serves:  15 2-inch cookies

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While researching nutrition and learning some scary things about processed foods and refined sugar, (come on Julie, you already knew them deep down inside), I vowed to make changes in our nutrition at home for the month of December.  To stave off some of that Christmas gluttony that you KNOW is coming my way.  Mmmmm pie.  And WINE, oh the wine…  Ahem.  Anywho.  My husband and I are loving the veggie infusion.  We feel good, we have more energy –  I wish I could say I’m sleeping better but I have a 4 month old baby, so… no.

You know who’s NOT on board?  My three -and-a-half-thank-you-very-much year-old daughter.  She is a picky eater.  For the first two years I did a decent job with her nutrition.  Somewhere along the line processed foods snuck in there.  A fishy cracker here (fondly referred to as shut-up snacks in our house), a piece of bologna there… and wonders of wonders, the breakfast bear paw.  She eats one every morning before school because, in a moment of desperation, her mother gave her one as a bribe to get her into the car for day care.  And now she has one every day.  On one hand, it’s good that she’s eating because sometimes it’s very hard to get food in her mouth, (She has some tummy issues so I always feel like I’m on the losing end of a war). On the other hand, they are loading with sugar and nothing really good for you and some things that I can’t pronounce and sort of skip over with some guilt when I’m checking labels.  So.  Because of my new vow to feed her good things NO MATTER WHAT, I had to search for a bear paw replacement.  Enter the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookie.  I saw these cookies on a fitness blog and I tweaked them a bit to sweeten them, and you know what?  SHE LIKES THEM. You can totally ignore the maple syrup, vanilla, and nuts and these turn out perfectly good.  I’ve also made them with raisins or cranberries and almonds but they tasted too “healthy”.

These cookies also have the benefit of being paleo friendly and gluten-free if such things are important to you.  And vegan/vegetarian as well.  Who could ask for more?

Note:  If you are allergic to gluten you know to check to make sure your oats and chocolate chips are certified gluten free right?  

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You will need:

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp natural maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a cookie sheet.  For coconut oil fans: my mom used this and they stuck to the pan a bit.  I used olive oil and everything was ducky.  Your choice.

Mash the bananas with a fork until smooth.  Add oats, chocolate chips, pecans, vanilla, maple syrup and salt.  Combine well.  Spoon about a tablespoon and a half onto the cookie sheet and lightly press down.  Repeat.  These don’t spread so you should be able to get 5 rows of 3 with ease to get everything on the same pan.  Cook for 15 min until lightly brown on the bottom.  Let cool on the pan for 5 min and then move to rack.  You can eat them warm or wait for them to cool (you won’t).  Feed to tiny children and husband and tell them they are allowed to have cookies for breakfast!  WINNING!

 

Who needs a recipe! Sort-of braised garlic pasta

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By Corinne

This is one of my go-to pasta recipes. I’ve never posted it because I’ve never measured anything and I really do use whatever I happen to have handy in terms of herbs. In the summer I use a generous amount of fresh herbs and sometimes omit the dried ones entirely.

This recipe is a great chance to experiment with flavoured oils or vinegars as well as with herbs. If substituting a flavoured oil, I recommend only substituting 1-2 tbsp rather than the whole 1/4 cup. I also like using a full 1/4 cup of balsamic, but it really does depend on the balsamic you are using- start with the smaller amount and increase according to taste.

What is Braising? 

Braising is a combination cooking method where both dry and moist cooking techniques are used. Usually it involves browning meat in a pan with a bit of oil (dry cooking) and then cooking in a broth, or wine for a long time over a low temperature (moist cooking). You CAN actually braise garlic- you saute it first and then usually finish it by cooking in cream until garlic is tender. Garlic prepared this way is usually used for soups, creamy sauces or mashed potatoes. Technically, the garlic in this recipe isn’t braised, because there’s no ‘moist cooking’ component, but it borrows from the ‘low and slow’ technique used in braising. 

Time: about 20 minutes start to finish – everything should be done by the time your pasta water has boiled and your pasta has cooked (unless you have a crazy induction cooktop and your water boils in 2 minutes)

Serves: 2 people who like pasta 🙂

You will need:

  • 2 cups (uncooked) of your favourite smallish pasta that will hold onto the minimal ingredients for this recipe. I love conchiglie (small shells) or cappelletti (little hats)
  • ¼ cup of olive oil, or a mix of olive and canola, or a mix of a flavoured olive oil and regular
  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp each dried oregano, basil, thyme – or any mix of herbs you like
  • About 1 ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  •  2 -4 tbsp, depending on the flavour of the balsamic being used
  • Additional generous handful of fresh herbs to finish-flat leaf parsley, basil, whatever you have from the garden!

Over low heat, braise the garlic in the oil. DO NOT brown the garlic. You want this cooked over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Garlic should be soft, mild flavoured and fragrant.

Grate cheese and set aside.

While garlic is cooking, prepare pasta according to directions(remember to season your water!)

About 1 minute before the pasta is cooked, add the dried herbs to the garlic and oil.

**This part you need to work fast! The heat from the pasta is what melts the cheese.

Drain the pasta, add the garlic, oil and herbs, fresh herbs to the pasta and give a quick stir. Sprinkle the grated cheese in, stirring as you do so you don’t end up with a big ‘clump’.

When cheese has melted, add the vinegar.

Sprinkle with additional fresh herbs.

 

 

Easy French Toast

So I’ve tried fancy.  I’ve made overnight french toast, french toast that has 47 steps and then bakes in the oven, sandwich bread french toast… and you know what I’ve learned?  Simple is better.  French toast is my favourite thing for breakfast – mostly because I get to drown it in butter and syrup.  It is not as heavy as a pancake and it makes a good use of leftover bread.  The most important thing to know about classic french toast, (or eggy bread if you’re British) is to never, ever, under ANY circumstances, use fresh bread.  It makes for soggy-mushiness that could not be characterized as toast on a bad day.  It is a culinary crime.  If you only have fresh and you MUST have french toast or die, toast it in the oven until it’s dried out but not hard.  10 min at 200F should do it.  I have done this before and it is an acceptable substitute.  For best results use day old (or a couple day old) French or Italian bread.  It’s also quite wonderful with Brioche but who has leftover Brioche?

This recipe is easily doubled and is a no-brainer for brunch.  It’s super forgiving, and is actually LESS work and LESS time than all those fancy bakes and make the night before dishes.

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You Will Need:

  • Half a loaf of day-old bread (about 8 slices – 1 inch thick)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp of nutmeg – I really like nutmeg but you may want to cut back.  Fresh ground is best.
  • 2 rounded tbsp sugar
  • butter for the griddle
  • maple syrup to serve

In a small bowl combine cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.  Put aside.  In a 8×8 baking dish or other shallow container big enough to accommodate your bread (don’t use a bowl, you want an even coating and you want to get the bread out of the custard quickly before it absorbs too much liquid.  Splashing it around in a bowl makes it hard to get an even coat) whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Add 1/2 of the cinnamon mix and whisk again.  You will add the remainder after the first 4 slices are cooking.  I find if you add it all at once the first few slices get all the spicy goodness while the others are lacking in flavour.

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Heat a griddle to 375F, or if you don’t have one you can use a heavy bottomed skillet heated on medium to medium high.  You want the egg to begin to cook as soon as the bread hits the pan but not burn before the custard has a chance to cook through.  Melt a small tab of butter where you will place each slice.  Lay your bread in the custard and flip it to get an even coating on both sides, this should be a quick dip, then lay the bread on the hot griddle where you’ve melted the butter.  Repeat with 3 more slices.  These take about 3 min per side so be ready to flip.  When both sides are nicely browned, remove from griddle.  Add the remainder of the cinnamon mixture to the custard and repeat with the remaining 4 slices.  It’s ready to serve!  Smear with additional butter if you wish (I mean, you’re already breaking the bank on calories with the bread and the syrup so why not?) and pour on some maple syrup and voila!  I like to pair these with some yummy breakfast sausages and some fruit for brunch.  It’s a crowd pleaser!

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Turkish Chicken, Roasted Squash, and Citrus Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing

I always like to try to pair sides with mains that are complementary, but sometimes I hit on a combination completely by accident and it is amazing.  This meal is now officially  part of my meal rotation because these three things together made the perfect harmony and were all easy and budget friendly to prepare.  I try to make my own dressing whenever possible, its easy and preservative free, plus it just tastes better.

The inspiration for this meal came from the fact that I need to finish a blog post that goes with the leftover chicken for this meal, and also because Hubby brought home a mystery squash from work.  Yes, I said it, mystery squash.  A coworker of his had some rather gorgeous winter squash grow out of her compost and wasn’t sure what variety it was.  It was a lovely deep yellow with green stripes.  I originally thought it was delicata, a variety of winter squash with edible skin, but after cutting into it I knew the skin was not edible.  As it turns out, it was a tasty variety of spaghetti squash.  Super yummy.

Turkish chicken is a recipe that I use from one of my favourite books, Simple by Diana Henry. 20170109_200442It’s got some heat, a ton of flavour, and is just as the title of the book suggests:  Simple to prepare.  I often change it up with different spices, but I wanted to give you the original version just as it is.  I use the leftovers from this for a variety of meals which you will see in future posts.  She pairs it with a parsley salad that I didn’t really care for but can appreciate.  Instead, I chose a tangy salad with a bit of sweetness to stand up to the warmth of the spice and the buttery-ness of the squash.  My family dragged their chicken through the salad dressing to intesify the lemon and add some sweetness to the chicken and the result was divine.  Sometimes they are the best tasters.  They occasionally do things with my culinary masterpieces that horrify me… like add ketchup to goat cheese fritata (I’m crying inside thinking about it), but sometimes they are geniuses.

You Will Need:

For the Chicken

  • 1/3 cup olive oil (don’t use extra virgin here, it will smoke a lot during the cooking process)
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 tsp of Aleppo pepper or a tsp of cayenne (I reduced this to half a tsp of cayenne because I have tiny humans to feed and they cry when I burn their mouths)
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed (I used minced garlic in oil here to save some time)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • lemon wedges to serve

For the Spaghetti Squash (or any winter variety that you prefer)

  • 1 large spaghetti squash – sliced in half vertically with the seeds removed.
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar, not packed
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • salt and pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 romaine heart, washed and chopped
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of feta, crumbled
  • 1 cup of cucumber, sliced
  • 2 clementine oranges, peeled and segmented

For the Dressing

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp honey

Preparation:

The chicken needs to be marinated.  The longer the better, but anywhere from 30min to 8 hours will get you a ton of flavour.  For the marinade whisk the first 7 ingredients of the chicken in a bowl and pour into a large zippered freezer bag.  Toss in the chicken and mix it around until it’s evenly covered and put in the fridge.  Turn at least once while marinating.

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Preheat the oven to 400F and place the squash cut side up on a sheet pan.  I used a ceramic pan here, if you are using a traditional pan you may want to cover it with foil first.  Brush the squash with melted butter, sprinkle brown sugar evenly and season with salt and pepper.  Don’t worry, this doesn’t make the squash overly sweet, I don’t like candied squash, it’s just enough to highlight flavour and work with the other components of the meal.

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Bake on the center rack for 45-50 minutes until the squash is tender.  I baste them with the butter halfway through and I always try to arrange it so that these are ready a few min before the chicken.  They will benefit from some resting time and be easier to remove from the skin.

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Meanwhile, heat a grill pan or a heavy pan on medium high heat. Pull the chicken out and shake to remove excess marinade (otherwise you will end up with a very smokey kitchen) and place on pan.  Make sure to open up the thighs so they’re butterflied, otherwise you end up with burnt outsides and raw insides.  Cook until beautifully seared and flip.  About 4-6 min per side.  If you start these 20 min into the squash cooking time you will have enough time to rest them for 10 min before serving.

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While the chicken is resting toss the ingredients of the salad together.  In a small empty jar, add the dressing ingredients and shake vigorously until combined.  Pour about 1/4 cup on the salad and toss until evenly coated.  I put the remaining dressing on the table to flavor the meal if desired.  (I accidentally spilled the remainder on my plate the first time I made this and it went well with everything!).

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