I am going Middle-Eastern today…this is one of the richest and tastiest cuisines in the world and I am a huge fan. What I like most about it is that it is dominated by healthy foods like vegetables, lean meat, fruits, fish, nuts and beans. And when aromatic spices and herbs are added Middle-Eastern dishes become a real symphony of abundant flavours. What’s not to love about it!
As for the chicken…for a very long time I thought that chicken breasts are the “alpha and omega” to a good chicken recipe …now I know I was mistaken. Chicken thighs deserve the real love because they are succulent and tasty, especially when one manages to get that gorgeously crispy skin. Given their affordable price and leanness, chicken thighs have become my preferred source of protein in every season. So I knew that today I wanted something healthy and Middle-Eastern and this dish just popped up in my mind. Besides I wanted to use the lovely herbs- thyme, parsley and mint that I planted in my garden this spring and which have grown already.
4 chicken thighs
1 lemon sliced thin
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons of butter. (You can substitute with olive or vegetable oil. I just like the the chicken-butter combo)
5-6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 tea mug of water
Preheat your oven to 220 C and season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat and immediately place the chicken thighs skin-side down. Cook for about 7-8 minutes or until the skin becomes golden and crispy. Flip and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Place the chicken thighs in a Dutch oven pot (you can use a simple pan and have it covered with foil for the first 30 minutes of cooking), add the lemon slices, thyme, the rendered fat from the frying pan, water and more salt if needed.
Cover with the lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for another 30 minutes.
I made quite a big tabbouleh salad because I wanted it to be my side dish but you can play with the ingredients as per your needs.
1 cup bulgur (fine cracked wheat)
2 cups water
5 medium-sized tomatoes, cut into small cubes
3 cucumbers, cut into small cubes
1 finely chopped onion
2 bunches of parsley, chopped finely
10 leaves of fresh mint, chopped finely
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
Put the bulgur and water in a pan and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook until water has been absorbed. Rinse with cold water and drain the bulgur completely. In the meantime chop the cucumbers and the onion. Do the same with the tomatoes and place in a strainer to rid them of the excess juices. After you chop the herbs dry them with a paper towel.
The use of a strainer and paper towels is aimed at getting rid of the moisture and avoid the salad becoming soggy. In a serving salad plate mix all the ingredients together, season with salt, olive oil and lemon juice.
Serve and enjoy immediately :-)!