Frisee Salad with Lentils and Duck Confit

It’s amazing what you can pull together when you’ve spent time creating tasty basics. Slow-cooked duck legs with fall-off-the-bone meat can live in the freezer until you’re ready for them, and lentils come together in a flash and can keep nearly all week. The result? One nourishing entree in the form of a fresh frisee salad.

frisee-salad-duck-confit-lentil-recipe2 Revelationary Duck Confit legs
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 heads frisée, torn
1/4 cup Mustard-Shallot Vinaigrette
2 cups All-Purpose French Lentils

Place duck legs in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat and crisp on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Remove to a cutting board, pull meat from bone and shred. Add onion to pan and sauté for 5 minutes, until golden brown.

In the meantime, toss the frisée with the vinaigrette and mound into 4 bowls. Scatter evenly with lentils, onions and duck, and serve.

Serves 4

Turkey Enchilada Verde Casserole

I made a batch of Lia’s Roasted Tomatillo and Chile Sauce to use in this enchilada casserole (OK, a Mexican lasagna, really), though you could substitute your favorite jarred salsa verde. We call for cooked, shredded or diced turkey as a way to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers, but this would also work wonderfully with chicken, shredded pork or even diced firm tofu. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cilantro.

turkey enchilada verde casserole1 recipe Roasted Tomatillo and Chile Sauce OR 2 cups jarred salsa verde
Nonstick cooking spray
12-15 (6-inch) corn tortillas
3/4 pound finely shredded or diced cooked turkey (about 3 cups)
1 cup fresh corn (about 1 ear)
1-1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded queso panela OR Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of a 3-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Top with 4 tortillas, and trim 1 tortilla as needed to fill in any gaps. Top with 1/2 cup sauce, half the turkey, half the corn and 1/3 cup cheese. Top with 4 tortillas, and trim 1 tortilla as needed to fill in any gaps. Top with 1/2 cup sauce, remaining turkey, remaining corn and 1/3 cup cheese. Top with  4 tortillas, trimming an extra tortilla as needed to fill any gaps. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.  Cover and bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until hot and tortillas are golden brown around the edges. Let stand 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6-8

Cider-Brined, Sage-Rubbed Turkey Breast with Mulled Cider Glaze

If you’re cooking for a couple (and want lots of leftovers) or a small crowd on Thanksgiving–or any time of the year, really–this turkey breast is a serious winner. The brine makes the meat flavorful and moist, the rub gives an extra hit of savory flavor, and the glaze brings the sweet notes of the brine up to the fore.


2 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
4 cups cold apple cider
Half of a bone-in turkey breast (3 to 3-1/2 pounds)

1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced sage
freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cider
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cloves
2 star anise

To make the brine, heat water, salt, sugar and spices in a large stock pot over medium heat just until  salt and sugar dissolve. Pour in cold cider. Submerge turkey, cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine all the rub ingredients. Place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of a roasting pan. Remove turkey from brine (discard brine) and place in pan. Pat thoroughly dry with a paper towel.

Wedge your fingertips just under the skin to carefully separate skin from meat. Use your fingers to smear the rub under the skin, then massage it (I find it easier to press on the skin to move the rub underneath, so the butter doesn’t stick to my fingers) to evenly coat the meat. Roast turkey 30 minutes.

While turkey is roasting, prepare the glaze. Bring  cider and spices to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 5-7 minutes or until the consistency of a light syrup.

When turkey has cooked 30 minutes, brush all over with glaze. Roast another 15-20 minutes (an instant-read thermometer should read 165F), glazing every 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Serves 8-12

* Carving Note: It’s easiest to cut the breast into nice, neat slices after you’ve sliced it off the bone. Turn the breast upside down to study the bone. Then carefully cut along it to release the meat. Turn the breast right side up again and cut against the grain into thick slices.

Crispy Duck Breasts with Maple-Bourbon Sauce

We’ve adapted this tasty maple-bourbon sauce from Hank Shaw’s award-winning blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. This sauce also works nicely with wild turkey, boar or pheasant. The duck breasts will render quite a bit of flavorful fat, which many chefs consider to be the platinum standard of cooking fats. Don’t throw it away! Instead, strain the fat through a fine-mesh sieve and use it in place of other fats (butter, oil) in other recipes. It will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

4 boneless duck breast halves, skin on
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup chicken stock
1-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Sage sprigs, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 F. Place a foil-lined baking sheet in oven.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Trim any excess fat from edges of duck breast halves; set aside. Score the duck skin and fat in a diamond pattern. Season duck with salt and pepper. Place duck skin-side-down in pan, and cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add reserved trimmings of duck fat to the pan, and continue to cook 15 minutes until the skin crisps and the fat renders out.

Remove the duck to a work surface; dust the skin side of duck with sugar. Place duck skin-side-down on preheated baking sheet. Bake 7 minutes or until meat is medium-rare. Remove from oven, turn duck skin-side-up, and cover with foil. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered duck fat (strain and reserve remaining fat for another use).

While duck stands, heat the skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook 5 minutes or until dark golden-brown. Stir often and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the bourbon, then return it over medium-high heat. It will thicken and sputter. Stir well, and start adding the stock, whisking constantly. When the sauce boils, whisk in the maple syrup and Sririacha. Let this simmer over medium heat for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and let the sauce stop bubbling. Whisk in the cream. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Slice each duck breast half across the grain. Garnish each plate evenly with the sauce. Garnish with sage.

Serves 4

Chicken Stir-Fry with Sugar Snap Peas & Sticky Sweet Sauce

If sugar snap peas aren’t in season, green beans or broccoli will sub just fine in this easy chicken stir-fry. Be sure to leave enough room in the pan to let the chicken sear … this dish is all about layering flavors.


Kurt’s Easy Paella

Starchy, medium-grain rice is the key here. Choose Valencia, Bomba or Calasparra if you can, though arborio is a good, easy-to-find substitute. The chorizo should be the dry-cured, smoked Spanish variety, not the spicier fresh Mexican type. Use a good sherry (never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink), and look for pimentón in specialty shops – it is sometimes called smoked paprika. If you want a richer-tasting paella, stir in a little cold butter after adding the peas.

1/4 cup Spanish olive oil, divided
2 onions, diced
2 cups chopped fresh tomato (about 3-4 medium)
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 pinches saffron threads
3 cups Valencia rice (arborio is a good substitute)
4 cups  chicken stock, boiling
4 cups boiling water
2 teaspoons salt
2 pounds mussels, washed and debearded
1-1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled (tail left on), split and deveined
1/2 bone-in chicken, cut up (breast halved, leg, thigh, wing)
4 ounces Spanish chorizo, chopped
1/2 cup Oloroso or Amontillado sherry
1 cup fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
1 tablespoon pimentón (smoked paprika)
1/2 cup fresh herbs, chopped (parsley, oregano, rosemary & basil)
6-8 lemon wedges

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, tomato, 1 tablespoon garlic and saffron, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes or until tender but not browned. Add the rice and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes more. Add the boiling stock, boiling water, and salt. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 25 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a saute pan. Sauté remaining 1 tablespoon garlic, mussels, shrimp, chicken, and sausage until the mussels open (depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in batches). Deglaze the pan with sherry (add sherry to pan, scraping to loosen any browned bits, and cook until sherry reduces by half). Stir in the peas and pimenton.

Place rice in a serving dish or platter and top with shellfish/meat mixture. Be sure to evenly distribute the liquid over the rice.

Sprinkle with pimentón and fresh herbs. Garnish with herb sprigs and lemon wedges.

Serves 12

Sandra’s Guatemalan Pollo en Jocon

“Hola, Lia. I promise you more to come but here is a recipe of a chicken in tomatillo sauce typical of Coban in Guatemala. It is called Pollo en Jocon (pronounced, ho-kon) and is traditionally served over rice, with warm corn tortillas. It is a stew, so you serve it in bowls–the rice in the bottom, then spoon the sauce all over it. I hope you like it. I particularly hope your darling little girl enjoys it.”

~ from Sandra Gutierrez, The Culinary Latinista™, food writer and cooking instructor


20 large tomatillos, cleaned of husks, rinsed and dried
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced into thick slices
2 green onions
1 green bell pepper, quartered
1 plum tomato
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 Serrano chiles
1 bunch cilantro (about 3 cups, packed)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 (3-4 pound) chicken, cooked, deboned and shredded (about 7 cups) * [see below for instructions]
1/2 cup reserved chicken broth (from cooking chicken)

Set a dry skillet—preferably cast iron—over high heat. Working in batches, add the tomatillos, yellow onion, green onions, bell pepper and plum tomato, roasting them until they are charred all over. Set them inside a large bowl, as they are readied.

Roast the unpeeled garlic, making sure to char the skins well. Peel the roasted garlic and place the roasted pulp with the other vegetables. Roast the serrano chiles on all sides, remove the seeds and stem, and add the chiles to the vegetables.

Working in batches, puree the roasted vegetables and the cilantro in a blender until smooth, adding enough reserved chicken broth to help you along.

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tomatillo sauce and stir well. You should hear a sizzling sound when the sauce comes into contact with the oil—watch out for sputters. Lower the heat and simmer sauce for 2 minutes. Add the cooked chicken and the remaining chicken broth, stir well, and simmer the stew for 15 minutes. Serve over steamed white rice.

Note: the stew can be completely prepared ahead of time, chilled, and re-heated before serving. It also freezes beautifully for up to 2 months.

Serves 6

* Lia’s note on cooking the chicken: Place the chicken in a large pot with two scallions and 2 smashed cloves of garlic, and cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (it will take a while) and skim off any foam that has risen to the surface. Then lower heat to medium-low (it should still be bubbling, but not very vigorously) and cook for 50-60 minutes, the legs and wings should come off easily when grabbed with tongs. Remove the chicken (reserving the liquid), let cool enough so you can handle it, then remove the skin and bones and shred the meat.

Chicken Biryani

By Cheryl Sternman Rule

Here’s a streamlined version of Amma’s Rice, a beautiful, golden-hued biryani recipe from Pat Tanumihardja’s heartfelt The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook (Sasquatch Books). Any type of chutney is a good condiment with this rice dish; I enjoy it with tamarind.

biryani-recipe1/4 teaspoon saffron
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
6 whole black peppercorns
4 whole cloves
Seeds from 5 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium white onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (packed)
1 pound organic skinless, boneless, chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt, divided
Toasted almonds (optional)
Chutney (optional)

Place the saffron in a small ramekin and cover with the water. Set aside. Stir together salt, cumin, coriander, and garam masala in a small bowl. Gather peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick; set aside.

Place rice in a strainer and rinse well under cool running water. Repeat. Cook according to package directions, or in a rice cooker. Keep warm.

Heat oil and butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; cook 8 minutes or until soft and very fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add ground spice mixture and whole spices; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chicken; cook 8 minutes. Turn heat down as low as possible and stir in 1/4 cup yogurt. Cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Pour remaining 1/4 cup yogurt on top, then layer on the cooked rice. Drizzle saffron and soaking liquid over the rice, cover, and cook over low heat 5 minutes. Give a good stir, turn out onto a large platter, and serve with toasted almonds and chutney, if desired.

Serves 6-8

Crispy Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken

I hesitate to call this “oven-fried chicken,” because that title seems to demean it. The truth is, as much as I love a full-fledged fried affair once or twice a year, THIS is the fried chicken recipe I crave several times a month. This oven-fried chicken is as brown and crispy and juicy and flavorful as fried, but not as greasy, and easy enough to do on a weeknight (and for lunch the rest of the week).


Braised Chicken and Chickpeas with Smoked Paprika

This recipe works wonders with the Valu-pak of frozen chicken thighs you bought last month at Costco (or was that me?). If you don’t have smoked paprika on hand, just use a twist of freshly ground black pepper. Or experiment with other combinations of spices in your pantry. Serve over brown rice, whole wheat couscous or bulgur to soak up the flavorful juices.


3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 pounds chicken thighs and legs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes (I recommend Muir Glen)
1 cup chicken stock
2 (14-ounce cans) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

Place flour in a plastic zip-top bag. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and paprika, and drop half in the flour. Seal bag and shake until well coated. Remove, shake off any excess and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan and brown well on all sides, working in batches if necessary so you don’t overcrowd the pan, about 6 minutes total per batch. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add onion to Dutch oven and sauté 4-5 minutes or until tender and slightly browned. Pour in vinegar, scraping pan to loosen browned bits on the bottom, and cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates.

Add tomatoes and chicken stock to pan. Stir in chickpeas and bring to a boil. Place chicken on top of chickpeas and sprinkle with an additional pinch of salt and paprika. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and chickpeas are tender.

Serves 8