Life in the kitchen has become a lot easier, now that Leandro has graduated to grown-up food.
Until recently, right about 5 p.m. I was getting flustered into throwing something fast and easy (and heavy on the carbs/cheese) in front of my imperious, hungry and persistent child. While he was already eating, I’d throw together a basic and boring salad or just cut a slice of cheese for myself or eat his leftovers and never actually sit. I’d perch on my chair in short spurts, just long enough to tell him to put his butt on the chair, use his fork, don’t wipe your hands on your shirt…blah, blah, blah, nag, nag, nag. Who would want to have dinner with that? Not me. And not him either, really.
So the boy’s new-found love for beef, chicken, and fish means I can spend a bit more time playing around with something we will both eat (and can make enough for next day leftovers.) do a quick veggie side and get to sit together in peace to eat and chat about the day.
Those succcessful family dinners are the moments — fleeting, but fulfilling — that I actually feel like I have a handle on life, the universe and everything, or at least I am not such a mom failure after all!
And this easy and cheap chicken thigh recipe is pretty representative of our new direction in dinner. It’s not much more involved than pan frying a couple of chicken pieces, but the mango-orange juice and sriracha makes it a tiny bit special.
You can leave out the corn starch if you don’t have any, but it does give the surface of the chicken a nice texture, sort of the avian equivalent of pasta al dente. You could also use chicken strips from breast, but thighs are the cheaper parts of the bird, and I find them to be more flavorful!
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs flour
1.2 tsp cornstarch
¼-1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
½ Cup mango-orange juice (or orange juice or mango juice)
1-2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
1 tsp sriracha or other hot pepper sauce
Heat olive oil in a pan big enough to hold all at medium until fragrant.
In a bowl, mix, flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper. In another bowl, lightly beat egg. Dip thighs in egg, then in flour mixture and coat.
Place chicken in pan and cook five to ten minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove thighs and set aside.
To the same pan, add onion and stir to coat. Add garlic and stir to coat. Cook for a minute or two to soften, then add mango juice and cook until thickened slightly, about five minutes. Stir in cilantro and sriracha. Salt to taste.
Return chicken to pan, coat in sauce and cook for another five minutes (or until chicken is fully cooked). Cook longer and slower, adding water, for a shredded result.
Serve with rice, noodles, or on top of salad. Or shred for quesadillas.