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Marinating Chicken in Yogurt

October 22, 2008 | Meat & Poultry, Technique

I rushed to photograph this recipe last night (so sorry it’s a bit blurry) while testing out the “tungsten light” setting on my digital camera. I have an inexpensive point and shoot camera but am learning that if you master some of the manual settings, it’s incredibly versatile. Changing the light setting to “tungsten” allows you to take a picture inside in “light bulb light” without it appearing yellowed.

Anyway…on to the food! I still have some heritage chicken that I purchased last year from Dallas Gilbert at Eastern Plains that I’ve been meaning to experiment with. Heritage breed poultry tends to be much leaner (and consequently tougher) meat than conventionally raised birds, so it benefits from a marinade that both tenderizes the meat as well as helps it maintain moisture while cooking. I watched a show on Indian cooking and was inspired to see if a yogurt marinade would accomplish the task. It did – and it was quick and easy as well!

Yogurt Marinated Chicken with Indian Spices
Serves 4

1 small onion, diced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt (or use lowfat or whole milk variety if desired)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 small chicken, cut into pieces

Combine onion and garlic with yogurt and spices in a container large enough to hold the chicken and mix well. Remove skin from chicken pieces and toss with the marinade, then cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove chicken from marinade, allowing each piece to retain the marinade that it is coating it. Place chicken pieces in a glass baking dish. Bake uncovered until chicken is fully cooked, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with your favorite couscous (mine is below)

Quick Couscous
Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup whole wheat or regular couscous
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley or mint
Salt and pepper to taste

heat olive oil in a medium stock pot over medium high heat; add onion and cranberries, and saute until onions are softened. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add couscous, give it a quick stir, cover, and remove from heat.

Let stand 5-10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and add pine nuts and parsley or mint. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with additional extra virgin olive oil as desired before serving.

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