bacon-wrapped chicken thighs

Okay…so who doesn’t love pretty much anything bacon-wrapped?!  If you don’t then we probably aren’t friends and never will be…and you should stop reading this blog right now!  (Just kidding (not really)  Anyhoo…we are def bacon lovers over here.   Having said that…I am not a huge fan or promoter of eating crappy quality bacon.  Perhaps a bacon snob of sorts!  I fully admit it!  Hehe!!!  Trust me though…once you do away with the low-grade grocery store variety…you will taste and notice such a HUGE difference.

If you are able to make the change to bacon that is sourced from a local farm near you….DO IT!!!  This is what we do.  Sure it may cost a little bit more…or take a little more digging around to find a high-quality standard…but in our opinion it matters.  Worth every penny!!!  Check out the ‘Eat Wild‘ site for a farm near YOU!  Your source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry, pork, dairy and other wild edibles.  If you frequent farmer’s markets, this is also a great opportunity to pick up some delicious swine.  Check out Evergreen Brick Works and the St. Lawrence Market if you are in the Toronto area.  We also buy some of our meat from The Healthy Butcher, Rowe Farms, Cumbrae’sFresh From the Farm and occasionally Fiesta Farms.

Happy bacon shopping!!!  If you haven’t yet tried wild boar bacon…I highly recommend you do!!!  OINK…OINK…

5.0 from 5 reviews
bacon-wrapped chicken thighs
appetizer, main
2-4
 
Ingredients
  • coconut/olive oil - a couple splashes (I eyeballed it!)
  • balsamic vinegar (good quality) - several splashes (again...I eyeballed it!!)
  • 9-12 chicken thighs or you could use 3-4 chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion - chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic - minced/crushed
  • 1 package of white mushrooms (approx. 10-12) - chopped
  • bacon slices - quantity is dependent on number of chicken pieces used
  • sea salt and ground pepper - to taste
Instructions
  1. prepare the above ingredients and place everything into a large glass mixing bowl
  2. then add chicken thighs into the mix as well
  3. in the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  4. use your hands to combine and ‘massage’ the mixture into the chicken pieces
  5. one-by-one, remove chicken pieces from the bowl and wrap with a slice of bacon (I stretch the slice of bacon a little bit before doing so, to make it wrap more easily around the poultry)
  6. place the bacon-wrapped chicken thighs in a single layer, in an oven-proof dish (Corningware) or on a foil-lined baking sheet
  7. before placing in the oven, top with any of the extra marinade mixture that may be left behind in the bowl
  8. bake for approx. 45-60 minutes, until juices run clear and bacon is cooked (watch them, as you don’t want to overcook/dry-out)
  9. broil for an additional 3-5 minutes if you want the outside crispy (optional)
  10. remove, set aside and serve
  11. enjoy!
Notes
• The combination of the crispy bacon, onions and mushrooms is delightful!!!

 

baked chicken thighs – 3 ways!

Chicken thighs…marinated three ways to suit your fancy.  Up until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t even sure if I really cared for good ol’ thighs to be honest with you, as I had never really had them before.  This may be somewhat surprising, but I had previously just overlooked their goodness.  Who knows why?  Basically, the inaugural recipe of such began when I was at the butcher shop, unable to find some chicken breasts for dins one evening.  Sitting lonely, neighbouring the section which once sat the breasts, were some boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  Without much thought, I snagged them and was on my way.

With this new (to me) poultry part in my possession, I decided to get a wee bit creative and whip up some simple, yet flavourful marinades to soak these bad boys in.  I had 12 chicken pieces in total…and decided to separate them equally into three Ziplock bags, containing different marinades.  Funny enough, as it turned out, the night I intended on baking them, I got tied up and just turned to having leftovers that night.  Regardless, they were all ready to go (minus the actually cooking process), so the chicken thighs were fortunate to be able to sit, immerse in the liquid concoctions overnight in the fridge.

Fast forward through the magical world of the www.  Verdict…2 thumbs up!  They turned out super moist and tender, totally filled with an abundance of juicy flavour.  They def get additional bonus points, if you are on a budget, as chicken thighs are a very affordable option.  Similar to that of their white meat counterpart, they can either come with the bone-in or boneless…and also with skin-on or skinless.  The choice here is ultimately yours…personal preference I suppose.  I think I want to try boneless chicken thighs, with the skin-on next time!  Lastly, I must also mention that these delicious chunks of meat serve as terrific leftovers.  I found myself quickly grabbing a couple thighs in the morning for breakfast, as I was literally darting out the door for work.  A super sweet option for those who are often on the go!

Marination is the process of soaking foods in a seasoned, often acidic, liquid before cooking. The origins of the word allude to the use of brine (aqua marina) in the pickling process, which led to the technique of adding flavor by immersion in liquid. The liquid in question, the ‘marinade’, can be acidic with ingredients such as vinegarlemon juice, or wine or enzymatic (made with ingredients such as pineapple or papaya.)[1] Along with these liquids, a marinade often contains oils, herbs, and spices to further flavor the food items.

It is commonly used to flavor foods and to tenderize tougher cuts of meat.[2] The process may last seconds or days. Different marinades are used in different cuisines. For example, in Indian cuisine the marinade is usually prepared with a mixture of spices. (Source: Wikipedia)

Note:  I will try to be as accurate as possible, but not gonna lie – mostly eyeballed it, test-tested and hoped for the best when it came to the amounts of olive oil and balsamic that I put in!!!  I will make these again in the next week or two, and re-jig the recipe to include the exact measurements for y’all.

Marinades (12 chicken thighs total – each marinade was made for 4 chicken thigh pieces each.  You may want to adjust, depending on your quantity)

Balsamic

  • coconut/olive oil – generous amount to coat
  • balsamic vinegar (equal parts oil and vinegar)
  • 3 shallots – finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard – good quality
  • coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Lemon

  • coconut/olive oil – generous amount to coat
  • 1.5 lemons – squeezed
  • 3 tbsp Italian seasoned herb mix (dried basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, black pepper)
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Smoky

  • coconut/olive oil – generous amount to coat
  • 2 limes – juice squeezed
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 shallots or small white onion- finely sliced
  • handful of fresh cilantro – finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground chipotle
  • 2.5 tsp of chili powder
  • coarse sea salt and ground pepper

Prep

  • for each individual marinade – measure and pour all ingredients into a large Ziploc bag
  • add chicken thighs into the bag and zip closed
  • use your hands to shake and ‘massage’ the marinade mixture into the chicken pieces
  • allow to soak and absorb all the flavours for at least 2 + hours (I let marinade for 24 hours – the longer, the better)
  • when ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • remove chicken thighs from bag, and place in a single layer, in an oven-proof dish (Corningware), covering with the liquid marinade
  • bake for approx. 30-45 minutes, until juices run clear (watch them, as you don’t want to overcook/dry-out)
  • broil for an additional 3-5 minutes if you want the outside crispy (optional)
  • remove, set aside and serve
  • enjoy!

twice baked chipotle sweet potato

Well hello there.  It has been awhile.  I have missed you.  Hope you all have been enjoying some quality family and friend time over this holiday season!  We had a wonderful Christmas filled with loads of laughs, wicked eats and special moments with our loved ones.  The Duster and I are both feeling very fortunate to be surrounded by such incredible people. Infectiously, we wish the same to you and yours!!

Since opening up my stocking on Christmas morn, I have been dying to try out this new wee kitchen gadget that I received as a gift from my mother-in-law.  It is the Joseph Joseph Rocker Garlic Press.  I had never before seen this sweet little tool and was pumped to give it a go!  Coincidentally, in my mind I had been conjuring up this idea for a twice baked sweet potato recipe for some time now.  I knew lots of crushed garlic, bacon and chorizo were all ‘musts’ in this one…so it was the perfect opportunity to put ‘The Rocker’ to the test!

Let’s just say…I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.  This quirky kitchen gadget is better than any garlic press I have ever tried before!  I highly recommend that it finds it’s way into your utensil drawer as well.  Super sturdy, a breeze to clean…and crushes the garlic in it’s entirety – sans mess!  This product was also a main player and motivation for me to create a new and very garlicky guacamole recipe that is ADDICTIVE!  I created a big batch on Boxing Day for a fam dins and other one today for us here at home.  It is some serious business.  I just can’t get enough!  YUM!!!  Stay tuned for my upcoming recipe blog post on this.

I am presently off on holidays for two weeks, so I have been a busy bee in the kitchen creating new recipes and making some of the visions that have been twirling around in my head, come to life!  I have to be honest, this recipe isn’t a ‘quick paleo’ or ‘on-the-go’ style recipe, but extremely fabulous for a special occasion or weekend dins, when you have a little more time on your hands.  The end product is def worth the wait.  I really enjoyed my time in the kitchen, cheffin’ up this bad boy.  A total meal onto itself…the combo of flavours and ingredients are guaranteed to make your mouth water and your belly smile.

Alright…signing off for today!  Sending huge amounts of love & goodness to you for 2012!!!  Keep an eye on my website, as I am currently working on some new projects…

twice baked chipotle sweet potato
Appetizer, Side
4 +
 
Ingredients
  • 2 large sweet potatoes - halved
  • 2 hot chorizo sausages (pre-cooked) - diced
  • .5 lb bacon - baked and chopped into pieces (I used back bacon ends from my local butcher shop)
  • 1 large package of white mushroom - diced
  • 3 small white onions - thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic - crushed
  • 1-2 tbsp of smoked chipotle
  • fresh chives - chopped
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • butter (from grass-fed cow) - optional
Instructions
  1. start by cooking bacon in oven on a tin foil-lined pan
  2. bake at 325 degrees, until bacon has achieved desired crispiness, set aside to cool
  3. next, slice sweet potatoes evenly in half
  4. take some of the leftover bacon fat and brush on the flesh side of the sweet potato
  5. place the halves face down on another foil-lined baking pan
  6. bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until inside is tender (time may vary depending on size of sweet potato - can check using a fork to press on skin side)
  7. when done, set aside and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes
  8. in the meantime, on medium, heat all leftover bacon fat in a skillet
  9. add in onion and garlic and cook until translucent
  10. then, add in mushrooms and smoked chipotle
  11. cook until softened and slightly browned
  12. then, add in chopped bacon and chorizo sausage (pre-cooked) to the mixture and cook for another 5 minutes - stirring occasionally
  13. when finished, take baked sweet potatoes and remove insides into a bowl using a spoon
  14. take the mixture that you created in the skillet and combine with the softened sweet potato insides - mix well
  15. take the empty skins and fill them up with the mixture from the bowl
  16. place stuffed skins back on the foil-lined pan and broil for 5 minutes or so, until they are slightly browned and crispy on top (keep a close eye on them, as you don't want them to burn!)
  17. remove from oven and garnish with some sea salt, ground pepper and chopped chives
  18. top with some butter (if desired - optional)
  19. enjoy!

bacon-wrapped cajun sweet potato wedges

Rewind to a few days ago…my husband and I were walking along the beach discussing what was on the menu for dins.  I was saying that I was totally in the mood for chicken wings.  Feeling adventurous, we decided to make our own.  They turned out fab (we made 2 different types), but that recipe will be featured in another blog post later this week.

Anyhoo…we also knew we wanted something ‘bacon-wrapped’ to be partnered along side it.  My initial thinking was to do some bacon wrapped asparagus in the oven.  Then we conquered…meh…a solid choice, but we really wanted to kick it up a notch.  I wanted to try making something new.  Creating a dish which was a better pairing for the wings was definitely in order.  And besides, who doesn’t love the classic good ‘ol bacon n’ sweet potato combo?!? I DO…I DO!!!

Disclaimer:  Not gonna lie…as we continued strolling on our merry walk…there was perhaps a mini-domestic, ummm, I mean a friendly discussion on how to tackle these babies!?  LOL!  The Duster was somewhat skeptical to say the least!  Should we pre-cook the bacon a little bit first?  Hmmm…or should we wrap ‘em up and cook  it all at once?  Will the bacon make them super soggy?  Geezzzzz, or do you think that they turn out crispy-ish?  In the end, we just decided to go the most simple route and chop up the sweet potato into chunky-sized wedges, wrap them with wild boar bacon, sprinkle with some Cajun spice…and basically hope for the best!  To our surprise and content (bellies were growling at this point)…our fingers crossed method totally worked!  They actually turned out INCREDIBLE!!!

Since I posted a photo on Facebook…3 friends have made them, and have been more than happy with the way that they have turned out!  Oh ya…BTW –  you don’t need to use wild boar bacon (that’s just what we had on hand).  Go with your favourite variety.  However, I would stress good quality bacon is a better choice!  This lil’ number is fully excellent right out of the oven, but equally as wonderful at room temperature to serve as a fantastic appetizer at a party or wee shindig!

P.S – Later that Saturday evening we met up with a good friend of ours, and brought him all the leftovers.  Let’s just say…he gobbled them up like nobody’s business.  No talking  at all, and perhaps not even coming up for air, as they were demolished!  In the end…super easy and one of my fav’s to date!!!  Try ‘em…(but beware…highly addictive!)  ;)

* quantity of ingredients depends of size of desired batch

5.0 from 1 reviews
bacon-wrapped cajun sweet potato wedges
appetizer, side
4 +
 
Ingredients
  • good quality bacon - we used wild boar (pretty thick)
  • sweet potatoes - peeled and chopped (fairly chunky - into wedges)
  • a dash or two of Cajun spice
  • some sea salt
Instructions
  1. start by peeling and chopping the sweet potatoes into wedges (chunky style) and place in a bowl
  2. sprinkle with Cajun spice and mix thoroughly
  3. then take the sweet potato wedges and wrap them with slices of bacon (if bacon is too wide, you can slice length-wise...it really depends on the cut!)
  4. line a baking sheet with some tin foil and then arrange bacon-wrapped wedges evenly on the pan
  5. preheat oven to approx. 325-350 degrees and cook until bacon becomes crispy (40-ish minutes depending on oven)
  6. if you wish to make them 'extra-crispy'...turn the oven to broil for the remaining 5-10 minutes
  7. plate and sprinkle with coarse sea salt (we used lemon & thyme - yummy!)
  8. for extra enjoyment...we dipped them in some delicious spicy guacamole
  9. enjoy!