Top (chef) secrets

Learn to use seasonings better in your next chicken recipe.

March 26, 2015 12:27
Omer miller

Omer miller's Chicken drumsticks in Ras El Hanut. (photo credit: BEN YUSTER)

Chicken, arguably the most popular main dish in most Israeli kitchens, will no doubt play a large role on Seder tables around the country. Although every cook and every family have their own favorite recipes, sometimes it’s good to add a little extra something that will raise your dish to a higher level – top chef level, to be exact. This time, instead of asking one chef for some recipes, we bring recipes from four chefs who are part of a new idea – a cookbook that includes a seasoning kit.

The following chicken recipes were taken from the recently published Sodot Hatibul (“Secrets of Seasoning”) book-kit, which is the new initiative of the culinary start-up Chef Box. The book provides not only a host of great recipes but also the seasonings that the chefs use, teaching home cooks how to use seasonings the right way.

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In the cookbook, 10 of Israel’s top chefs reveal their seasoning secrets, each giving two of his/her winning recipes. The small numbered glass jars filled with the different seasonings that are included in the kit will get home cooks started in understanding the seasoning secrets and will no doubt open the door to one’s own creativity.

The recipes provided by the top chefs – for everything from salads to desserts – are printed on cards, making it easier to use them in the kitchen than a cookbook.

CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS IN RAS EL HANUT This recipe was developed by chef Omer Miller, together with Chef Box.

Note: If you are not cooking this during Passover, the chef suggests using ptitim shaped like rice instead of the rice.

✔ ½ cup olive oil ✔ 8 chicken drumsticks ✔ Salt and freshly ground black pepper ✔ 3 onions, chopped ✔ 1 carrot, peeled and cubed ✔ 2 celery stalks, chopped ✔ 5 garlic cloves, peeled ✔ 3 cups rice ✔ 2 bay leaves ✔ 1 liter water or chicken broth ✔ 1 cup frozen green peas ✔ 1 cup chopped parsley for garnish ✔ 1 Tbsp. secret seasoning mixture* *Secret seasoning mixture ✔ 1⁄8 tsp. ground clove ✔ ½ Tbsp. ground fennel seeds ✔ ½ Tbsp. ground coriander ✔ ½ Tbsp. paprika ✔ ½ Tbsp. turmeric ✔ ½ Tbsp. black pepper ✔ 1 Tbsp. cumin ✔ ¼ tsp. dry ground ginger Heat oil in a wide pot and sear the drumsticks on all sides. Season with a little salt and pepper. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add to the pot the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes until onions are golden brown. Add the rice, bay leaves and the secret seasoning mixture and mix well for 3 minutes.

Bring the chicken back to the pot and mix gently. Pour enough broth or water to cover.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to minimum and cook covered for 45 minutes. Add the peas, mix and cook 10 more minutes.

Serve garnished with chopped parsley.

CHICKEN TAJINE WITH FENNEL AND PEAS Chef Yossi Shitrit developed this recipe for Chef Box. He says it reminds him of dishes prepared by his grandmother. “I used to walk home on winter days, and I could smell the sweet aroma of the fennel from afar and it would fill me with happiness. I will never forget the welcoming smell.”

✔ 4 chicken thighs ✔ 4 plump fennel bulbs (get the small ones, they are sweeter) ✔ 6 garlic cloves ✔ ½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen) ✔ 1⁄8 cup olive oil ✔ 3 cups to 1 liter chicken broth Secret seasoning mixture ✔ 1½ tsp. turmeric ✔ 2 tsp. kosher salt Pour oil into a wide, low pot and add the chicken, fennel and garlic. Sprinkle with the secret mixture. Carefully pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 50 minutes. Add the green peas and cook for 10 more minutes.

Garnish with fresh fennel leaves.

YONATAN ROSHFELD’S CAJUN CHICKEN ✔ 800 gr. skinless chicken thighs off the bone (pargiot) ✔ ¼ cup olive oil Secret seasoning mixture ✔ 3 tsp. sweet paprika ✔ ½ tsp. dry chili ✔ 1 tsp. cumin ✔ 1 tsp. garlic powder ✔ Salt to taste Heat oven with top grill to 250°.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the chicken pieces in one layer.

In a bowl, mix the seasonings and the oil and rub the chicken with the mixture using your hands. Place the baking sheet in the oven in the lowest position (this is very important).

Bake for 10 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to the top position in the oven and brown the chicken for 1 minute.

PIQUANT CHICKEN WINGS Chef and TV host Shay Lee Lifa prepared this recipe for Chef Box. “I make this recipe every time there is a group of hungry people at home, and the tray is always empty within minutes,” says Lifa. She adds that 1 tsp. of chili flakes should be enough unless you really like it hot – in which case add another tsp. of chili flakes.

✔ 16 chicken wings (fresh, not frozen) ✔ ½ cup orange or apple juice ✔ ¼ cup olive oil ✔ 2 Tbsp. natural 5% vinegar ✔ 2 Tbsp. honey or silan Secret seasoning mixture ✔ 3 tsp. onion flakes ✔ 1 tsp. chili flakes ✔ 1 tsp. sweet paprika ✔ 1 tsp. garlic powder ✔ ½ tsp. ground ginger ✔ ½ tsp turmeric ✔ ¼ tsp. black pepper ✔ 1 heaping tsp. salt Wash the wings under cold water and dry well with paper towels. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except the chicken wings. Add the wings and mix to coat all sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

Heat oven to 200°. On a baking sheet, arrange the wings tightly in one layer and pour the remaining marinade on top.

Bake for 25 minutes; turn the wings and bake for 25 more minutes until wings are browned. ■ Recipes and photos courtesy of Chef Box.

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