The Wisdom of Sage: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Prosciutto and Sage and Parmesan Smothered Green Beans
While available all year long, the herb Sage is one of those flavors that just reminds me of fall. Its great with roasted meats, vegetables, and of course is a necessity in the kitchen around thanksgiving. Of course, like most herbs, it also is said to have certain health benefits and healing properties. Modern research has shown that sage, while not a panacea, can help reduce excessive perspiration, digestive problems, sore throats, premenstrual cramps, and high blood sugar. Sage is also an active ingredient in some natural mouthwashes because its tannins are thought to help kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis. Sage has traditionally been used to treat canker sores, bleeding gums, sore throat, tonsillitis, and laryngitis. Recent laboratory studies support the use of sage to guard against infection-it has demonstrated an ability to fight against several infection-causing bacteria. Some herbalists and, in Germany physicians, recommend gargling hot sage to soothe pain from sore throat and tonsillitis. Sage has also been linked to improved brain function and has been found successful for treating patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. I say it just tastes good and I’ve created 2 new recipes that I will share with you. I served them together, but this may be sage overload for you. You can serve them together or separately, any way you choose, if you like sage, you will like these recipes a lot.
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Prosciutto and Sage
For 2-3 servings of this Roasted Chicken Thighs with Prosciutto and Sage, you will need:
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 6 wide and thin slices of prosciutto (if the prosciutto is smaller you can overlay 2 pieces)
- Several Stems of fresh sage, leaves removed and stems discarded or saved for other use.
- Olive Oil for brushing
- Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the chicken, first preheat your oven to 425º. Place one thin slice of prosciutto on a work surface. Scatter torn pieces of the sage on top of the prosciutto. Season one boneless skinless chicken thigh with salt and pepper and place on one end. Roll the chicken thigh in the prosciutto so that the prosciutto overlaps and completely surrounds the chicken thigh. Brush the entire prosciutto wrapped chicken thigh with olive oil and place in a roasting pan or dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken, prosciutto and sage. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the chicken thigh is cooked through. Remove from oven and serve immediately. You can spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken when serving if you desire.
I placed the chicken thighs on a bed of sliced mushrooms sauted in a little butter and olive oil. I also served this with a side of Smothered Parmesan Green Beans that also incorporates sage. Here’s that recipe.
Smothered Parmesan Green Beans
For 4-6 servings you will need:
- 2 12 oz. bags of frozen frenched green beans
- 2 tbls. butter
- 1 tbls. olive oil
- 4 shallots sliced thinly lengthwise (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teasp. finely chopped sage
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
To prepare the green beans, heat the butter and olive oil in a 12″ heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic to the hot oil and butter mixture, salt and pepper to taste, and saute for about 5 minutes until shallots are golden. Add wine and boil until reduced by half. Add cream, water, 1/4 teasp. of salt, 1/8 teasp. pepper, and sage and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and simmer, tightly covered until beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove liquid and continue to simmer until liquid is thickened, about 5-10 more minutes. Add Parmesan cheese, stir to completely incorporate and serve with the Roasted Chicken Thighs or your favorite roasted chicken or meat.
Sadly all vacations must come to an end, and I am back at home and already ready for my next vacation. This was my first real vacation to Mexico and it was no surprise to me that I would love it. I used to live on the Mexican border in south Texas and have always loved the Latin culture. Mexican food has always been a favorite of mine. While living in south Texas I learned to make some great authentic Mexican dishes. However, I have cut back on eating at my favorite Mexican restaurants as many of my favorite dishes include things that don’t fit into the primal lifestyle. Additionally, many of these dishes are hard to adapt to the primal lifestyle. I’m learning however that it is not not impossible. I’ve got lots of new inspiration and ideas after this most recent trip so keep tuned in for more Mexican recipes to follow. Many Mexican dishes use beans, corn, and tortillas, all things that are, of course, things that most of us Primal folks just don’t eat any more. One of the biggest staples in Mexican cooking is the corn or flour tortilla. They are perfect for wrapping up delicious spicy fillings. I’ve come up with a substitute, that while not great for ripping apart and sopping up delicious sauces or salsas, is perfect for making many dishes, including enchiladas. These “tortillas” are simple to make. and make a great substitute from a taste and textural standpoint. I hope you try this delicious recipe and enjoy it as much as I do.
To make these Enchiladas you will need about 2-3 cups of Enchilada sauce, homemade or your favorite commercial variety. In a pinch, I use a commercial enchilada sauce that I buy at the local Mexican grocery. When I have time, I will make it myself. Here’s how to make your own homemade sauce. This makes about 4 cups, so you can save half of it for later use.
You will need:
- 12 ancho chiles (dried)
- 4 chiles de arbol (dried)
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1 small onion chopped into 4 chunks
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon of Mexican oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon of cumin
- salt to taste
Prepare the red enchilada sauce:
1. Rinse the ancho chiles and the chiles de arbol under cold water and pat dry. Tear open the chiles and remove the seeds and veins. Toast the chiles, the onion, and garlic in a dry pan over medium low heat until fragrant. This should take about five minutes. Keep turning the chiles so that they do not burn.
2. Bring six cups of water to a boil and add all of the chiles, chopped tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes.
3. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and add the oregano and cumin. Blend for two minutes until the mixture is very smooth. Place a towel over the top of the blender while blending to protect from any splatters. Be careful because the mixture is very hot.
4. Return the contents of the blender back to the pan by forcing the mixture through a strainer with the back of a spoon to remove the tough bits of chile skin that remain. Don’t skip this step it greatly improves the texture of the finished sauce.
5. Simmer the strained enchilada sauce for 15 minutes to blend the flavors. Add salt to taste.
Now, to make the Enchiladas, you will need:
- 1 whole roasted chicken (meat removed and roughly shredded)
- 2-3 cups of red enchilada sauce
- 6 eggs
- 1-2 tsp. chili powder
- 2-3 tbls. water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or more if you like it really cheesy)
- 1/2 cup grated queso fresco or cotija cheese (optional)
- prepared salsa (optional)
First, shred the chicken in a bowl and add about 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce to the chicken. Mix the chicken and sauce until the chicken is evenly coated. You want this to be on the dry side, not soupy. Now, make the “tortillas”. Break 6 eggs into into a bowl, season with salt and pepper to taste and add 1-2 tsp. chili powder and 3 tbls. water. Beat well. You want this mixture to be on the thin side so the tortillas will be thin enough when you make them. I prefer larger tortillas so I use a good non stick 12″ skillet. You can make smaller tortillas by using a smaller skillet. The key is having a good non stick skillet. Heat the non stick skillet over medium heat until hot. I usually spray the pan with my olive oil sprayer prior to making each tortilla. Add about 1/2 cup of the egg mixture to the hot pan and swirl the eggs around until you have a thin even coating over the entire pan. Use a spatula and push down the sides a little if necessary. Cook the egg mixture until it is well done and cooked through. It is not necessary to flip the tortilla, but you can if you like. remove the cooked egg tortilla from the pan and place on a plate and continue to make the tortillas until all the egg mixture is gone. 6 eggs will net 6 tortillas if you are using the larger skillet.
Now place 1/6 of the shredded chicken mixture in each tortilla, roll, and place them in a baking pan large enough to hold 6 enchiladas. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining enchilada sauce and shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Bake the enchiladas in a preheated 400º oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated through. Place 1 or 2 enchiladas on a plate and garnish with grated queso fresco or cotija cheese and salsa and serve.
I hope you enjoy!
Since going primal I’ve revisited my love for coconut. It was something that I loved growing up. Once in a while my Mom would pick one up at the store, crack it open, and we would grab chunks and snack on it for days. I liked the texture and the fact that it seemed to take forever to eat. Somewhere along the line I lost touch with the coconut, most likely due to a marketing smear campaign that was launched years ago. I remembered reading somewhere that it was bad for you and you should avoid any product that had coconut oil in the ingredient list. It was based on the mistaken belief that saturated fat was bad for you. This was a mistake on my part and I once again am using coconut in all of its forms almost on a daily basis. I’ve become particularly fond of cooking with coconut oil.
Coconut oil is an edible oil that has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years. Studies done on native diets high in coconut consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of western nations.
Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of medium chain fatty acids. They are easily digestible, and are sent directly to your liver where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat. They have actually been shown to stimulate your metabolism and aid in weight loss. Incorporating coconut in all its forms, and particularly using the oil can have dramatic effects in you body. Try this delicious recipe which incorporates coconut flour, coconut powder and coconut oil for luch or dinner. I’m sure you’ll love it.
Cuckoo for Coconut Chicken with Mango Salsa
You will need a large non-stick skillet, and 4 mixing bowls. this recipe will yield 4 servings.
Prepare the Mango Salsa. You will need:
- 2 cups of fresh or frozen thawed mango, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
- 2-3 tbls; chopped cilantro
- 2 tbls. red wine vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Prepare the Coconut Chicken. You will need:
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 eggs beaten well with a splash of milk
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup coconut powder (available at your Asian market)*
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 3 tbls. coconut oil for frying
- salt & pepper
- romaine, green or red leaf lettuce for garnish
Place 1/2 cup of coconut flour on a plate. In a separate pie pan or deep dish, beat the egss, milk, salt and pepper together. In a separate pie pan or deep dish combine 1/2 cup coconut powder (coconut powder is a finely grated coconut. If you can’t find coconut powder, you can substitute unsweetened coconut flakes but increase the amount to about 3/4 cup) and 1/2 cup almond flour and stir together well. Season the coconut powder/almond flour mixture with salt and pepper. Now, season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Start by dredging the seasoned chicken breasts in the coconut flour, making sure to coat all surfaces. Then, place the dredged chicken breasts in the egg mixture. Now, place the chicken breasts in the coconut powder/almond flour mixture making sure to completely coat the schicken breasts. set the coated chicken on a plate and heat the coconut oil in the non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the coconut oil is hot, fry the chicken breasts for 7 to 10 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, and until cooked through. Check the chicken often to ensure that the coating is not burning and adjust the heat if necessary also being careful not to disturb the coating. Meanwhile, place 5 lettuce leafs on each of 4 plates. When the chicken is browned and cooked through, place one breast on each plate, top each chicken breast with 1/2 cup of mango salsa and serve.