Buffing the basics
Jan. 20, 2011By Kim Dannies
There’s lots of football and cold weather cuddling ahead and that means snacking in front of the tube or fireplace. Why not add a twist to basic ingredients, like chicken legs, that easily morph to the exotic.
Tandoori-style chicken is an ancient cooking method loved the world over. Meat and spices are cooked over intense heat as the yogurt coating keeps the charred chicken moist. Paired with a simple Dal and some purchased Naan bread, you have an easy snack or a light meal full of flavor.
For nachos, try topping blue corn chips with packaged pulled pork that’s been mixed with some barbecue sauce. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, zap in the microwave for 90 seconds, then top with sour cream and chopped scallion.
Black and Tans, a half stout and half ale beer mix, are superb with these nachos.
To serve 4 to 6 people, buy 3 to 4 pounds of chicken legs. In a work bowl, combine 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/3 cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon each of fennel seed and mustard seed, 2 teaspoons Garam Masala or curry. Coat the chicken in the yogurt marinade; cover, set in fridge four hours to overnight.
To serve, fire up the grill high and coat grill racks with non-stick spray. Place chicken pieces on hot grill, then reduce heat to medium-high. Cook chicken for a while before turning so that the meat does not stick to the hot racks. A steel spatula works well for turning the meat. Once a char of skin has formed, turn chicken often, cooking until browned but juicy, 12 to 15 minutes. (Broiling works well, too.)
Rough chop a large onion and sauté in a bit of olive oil for 20 minutes until caramelized. Cook 1 1/2 cups of orange lentils in boiling water until soft, about 8 minutes. Drain. Stir in the onion, 1 tablespoon commercial chili garlic sauce, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, salt and pepper to taste.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three 20-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.