Two Mediterranean Mains
I know you’re expecting corned beef, but that will have to be next week since I didn’t realize the beef marinates for FIVE DAYS. It’s in my fridge right now. So just like birthdays, we will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with for at least a week. Ha!
So meanwhile, check out these meaty Mediterranean mains! The shrimp and rice dish is reminiscent of a Spanish paella, but much much easier. The chicken dish is a North African flavor bomb, full of complex spices that were new to my tastebuds. Both mains just require one dish. The shrimp is super-fast, while the chicken takes time to braise in the juices on the stove top so it’s fall-apart tender. Drool. Serve with a simple side salad, and you have a complete, healthy, colorful meal. Better yet, they are gluten free AND dairy free. You won’t miss either.
Salud, comer bien! In Irish, ithe go maith!
One Pan Shrimp and Rice
2 cups basmati rice, rinsed
1 red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup frozen peas, rinsed quickly to separate
½ cup packed chopped fresh parsley, more for later
1 teaspoon coriander
¾ teaspoon crushed red or Aleppo pepper flakes
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
2 ¼ cups water
Scant 1 pound large shrimp, thawed if frozen, peeled and deveined
Rinse the rice well and place it in a large bowl. Cover with water and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes or until you can easily break one grain of rice. Drain well.
In a large deep pan with a lid, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, peas, and parsley. Season with kosher salt. Cook for 3 minutes or so, tossing regularly. Add coriander, Aleppo pepper, cumin, and paprika. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or so, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables have softened a bit.
Add the rice (well drained) and season with a good pinch of kosher salt. Add water. Bring to a boil until the liquid has reduced by about ½ (you should be able to see the rice, liquid should be barely covering the top). Turn the heat to low. Cover and let the rice cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until fully cooked and not hard nor chewy.
While the rice is cooking, pat the shrimp dry and toss with a bit of kosher salt.
Uncover the pan and add the shrimp nestling it into the rice. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes more or until the shrimp is pink and fully cooked. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
For Spice Rub:
1 ½ tablespoons ras el hanout*
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ to 1 teaspoon black pepper
8 pieces boneless, skinless chicken thighs
extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Handful chopped fresh cilantro
1 lemon, thinly sliced (or 1 preserved lemon, cut up into small pieces)
¾ cup pitted green olives
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped dry apricots or other dried fruit
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
Toasted slivered almonds
In a small bowl, combine Ras El Hanout and the remaining spices to make the rub.
Pat chicken pieces dry and season lightly with kosher salt on both sides. Now, rub the chicken all over with the spice rub. Set aside in room temperature for 40 to 45 minutes or so (or, if you have the time, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. If you do this, take chicken out of fridge and let it rest at room temperature for a few minutes before cooking.)
In a 12" deep ceramic pan or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add chicken and brown for 5 minutes. Turn over and brown on the other side for another 3 minutes or so.
Lower heat to medium-low and add onions, garlic, and cilantro. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, then add lemon slices, olives, raisins, and dried apricots.
In a small bowl, mix the tomato paste and chicken broth. Pour mixture on top of the chicken as it cooks. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, then, keeping heat on medium-low, cover and cook for 30-45 minutes until chicken is tender and cooked through registering an internal temperature of 165 or higher.
Garnish with more fresh cilantro and toasted almonds. Serve over plain couscous.
*make your own Ras El Hanout:
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves
-recipes adapted from themediterraneandish.com