Recipes from Dec. 11

-- From Herald news servicesDecember 11, 2013 

Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Start to finish: 1 hour 55 minutes (30 minutes active). Servings: 6.

5 ounces baby spinach
2 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (8 thighs)
2 tablespoons crushed ice
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a large skillet over medium heat, wilt the spinach until completely reduced. Let cool until easily handled, then squeeze any moisture from the spinach. Finely chop the spinach. You should have about 1/3 cup. Set aside.

Using a paring knife, remove the skin and bone from 2 of the chicken thighs. Place the skin in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the ice and process until absorbed. Add the sour cream and pulse again until well mixed. Add the spinach, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, fennel seeds, lemon zest, nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper. Pulse, scraping down the sides, until well mixed. Set aside.

Arrange the remaining thighs on a cutting board, skin side up. Carefully pull back the skin, leaving it attached on one end. Divide the ground chicken and spinach mixture evenly between the 6 thighs, spreading it evenly over the meat. Stretch the skin back over the filling on each thigh. Arrange the stuffed thighs on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Season the chicken skin lightly with salt and pepper, then add the chicken to the skillet, skin side down. Cook until the skin is golden brown, then use tongs to turn the thighs skin side up. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 25 minutes, or until the thighs reach 160 degrees.

Remove the skillet from the oven and cover with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes before transferring each thigh to a serving plate. Spoon any juices from the skillet over the thighs just before serving.

Nutrition: 310 calories; 200 calories from fat (65 percent of total calories); 23 grams fat (7 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 110 milligrams cholesterol; 3 grams carbohydrate; 1 grams fiber; 0 grams sugar; 22 grams protein; 370 milligrams sodium.

Italian Surf and Turk with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Start to finish: 30 minutes. Makes 16 shrimp.

16 peeled and deveined large raw shrimp(about 8 to 10 ounces)
6 ounces hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage meat (about 2 links)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

Arrange the shrimp on the prepared baking sheet with all of the shrimp facing the same direction to form a series of C's. Remove the casings from the sausage, place a small mound of the sausage in the center of each shrimp and press down so that the shrimp and sausage filling make a solid round.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with half the garlic and all of the oregano. Sprinkle the shrimp lightly with salt and pepper, then brush the oil mixture over the shrimp and sausage. Bake the stuffed shrimp until they are cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender combine the red peppers, the remaining tablespoon of oil, the remaining garlic, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat just until hot.

To serve, arrange the shrimp on a serving platter, then drizzle each with some of the sauce.

Nutrition: 170 calories; 50 calories from fat (29 percent of total calories); 5 grams fat (0 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 130 milligrams cholesterol; 7 grams carbohydrate; 1 grams fiber; 4 grams sugar; 22 grams protein; 710 milligrams sodium.

Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cake

Start to finish: 50 minutes. Servings: 10.

1 cup heavy cream
12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounce bag pitted dates
5 eggs
1/4 cup powdered peanut butter

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the cream until just simmering. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth.

In a blender, combine the chocolate-cream mixture, vanilla and dates. Puree until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and powdered peanut butter, then puree again until completely blended. Pour into the prepared pan. Tap the pan gently on the counter to level.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until completely set at the center. Cool completely, then remove the sides of the pan.

Nutrition: 370 calories; 190 calories from fat (51 percent of total calories); 21 grams fat (12 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 125 milligrams cholesterol; 42 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 36 grams sugar; 8 grams protein; 65 milligrams sodium.

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