Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

I absolutely love all things Chinese food, but when we transitioned to a gluten-free way of eating it ruled out a lot of take-out options. Unfortunately, soy sauce and other soy products contain wheat, and they’re hidden in a lot of dishes. I’ve learned a lot about how to balance the intricate flavors of what we consider “Chinese” cooking (and I’ve still got A LOT to learn about the legit, authentic, traditional recipes), and and I’m pretty proud of how this dish turned out. The combination of the punchy garlic and ginger paired with the sweet honey and earthy toasted sesame oil is mind blowing, plus the dish is pretty healthy! Let’s make it!

Ingredients needed to make Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

All the ingredients used in this dish are ones I pull out constantly when I’m making anything Asian-inspired. If you love Asian flavors and cook them at home frequently, I would highly recommend stocking up on some of these ingredients to ensure your meals are tasting as true-to-flavor and balanced as possible! Here’s everything you’ll need:

Tools used to make Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

This take-out-inspired dish is wonderful because it requires very basic kitchen equipment. You’ll need the following items: a cutting board, a sharp chef’s knife, a medium pot with lid, a medium-large skillet, a pair of tongs, and a jar with lid OR a medium mixing bowl with a whisk. There are also a few optional kitchen tools that helped make this meal happen quickly, which are a microplane and a force juicer, although the dish can still be successfully made without those items.

How to make Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

This dish happens rather quickly, so I find it’s helpful to have most of your ingredients measured out ahead of time. You’ll begin by cutting your chicken breast into thin 1/4-1/2 inch strips and coating them in a mixture of tapioca starch (this helps our chicken get a nice crispy sear), ground ginger, ground turmeric, and garlic powder. Once your skillet is heated, sear the chicken on both sides. You may need to work in batches to do this in order to avoid crowding the pan. While the chicken sears, steam the broccoli and make the sauce.

I love to make this sauce in a mason jar with a lid so I can just dump everything and shake to mix. However, if you don’t have a mason jar, it works perfectly well to mix everything in a bowl with a whisk. Either option is perfect!

Once all the chicken has been seared, return it all to the skillet and pour in the sauce. The honey will help create a delicious, thick sauce that coats all of the pieces of chicken. You’ll let the sauce simmer with the chicken for a few minutes, toss in the steamed broccoli, and garnish with fresh lime juice, cilantro, and more sesame seeds! Serve it over rice, rice noodles, or eat it as-is. It’s so delicious!

Looking for other Asian-inspired dishes?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Ponzu Greens and Grains Bowl

Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

Recipe Ingredients

1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced

2 ½ tbsp tapioca starch

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp garlic powder

2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into florets

3 tbsp avocado oil, divided (1 for searing chicken, 2 for sauce)

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

¼ cup coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp rice vinegar

¼ cup honey

1 tbsp sriracha, more or less to taste

1 tbsp raw sesame seeds

1-inch knob fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

2 cloves fresh garlic, grated or finely minced

Juice of 1 lime

Cilantro, for serving

Sesame seeds, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into thin strips, each about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Combine the tapioca, ground ginger, ground turmeric, and garlic powder and coat the chicken in the mixture.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat and sear the chicken, working in batches if necessary. While the chicken sears, steam the broccoli until fork-tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the chicken and broccoli are cooking, make the sauce. In a mason-jar with a tight fitting lid OR a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp avocado oil, sesame oil, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, honey, sriracha, sesame seeds, fresh ginger, and fresh garlic. Shake or whisk to thoroughly combine.
  4. When the chicken is seared, return all of it to the skillet and pour in the sauce. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce with the chicken until the chicken is cooked-through and the sauce has thickened slightly, another 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice.
  5. Add the steamed broccoli, then stir once more to coat everything in the sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and more sesame seeds. Serve hot over rice or rice noodles! Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

The crossover recipe to end all crossover recipes….. this stew! Yes, I know that wasn’t a complete sentence. Two of my favorite winter meals are french onion soup and beef stew, and I never really thought of combining them until now. I’d say french onion is my top choice, but it’s frustrating that it never feels like a complete meal. It could be that it’s lacking variety in vegetables, there’s not really any protein, etc. So, I created a cross between the two comfort food recipes, added some quinoa for nuttiness and extra volume, and fully lost it when I tasted the first bite. It was that good.

This recipe is made in the Instant Pot, so it’s relatively quick and easy. The steps can be a bit confusing if you don’t read through the instructions fully, so make sure you actually pay attention before beginning the recipe. But, as long as you read everything, you’ll be left with a delicious, wholesome cold-weather dinner in under an hour. Let’s make it!

Ingredients needed to make Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

This stew has a fair amount of ingredients, which is part of the reason the flavors are so complex. I would not recommend leaving anything out. Here’s the full list:

  • Avocado oil
  • Beef stew meat
  • Yellow onions
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Red wine
  • Beef broth
  • Water
  • Tomato paste
  • Carrots
  • Quinoa
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Sharp cheddar or goat’s milk cheddar cheese
  • Fresh parsley
  • Toasted bread or croutons

Tools used to make Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

As mentioned above, this recipe is made almost entirely in the Instant Pot. If you don’t have an Instant Pot but feel comfortable in the kitchen, you could absolutely try making this on the stovetop or even in a slow-cooker. I did not test the recipe using those methods, so I can’t provide specific instructions. However, it will certainly work as long as you adjust the cooking time accordingly (the Instant Pot works much faster than other methods, so any other method take longer to achieve the same beef tenderness and depth of flavor).

I use the Instant Pot Duo Nova 6-qt, linked here. I absolutely love it. I was NOT a gadget-lover in the kitchen until I bought one of these on a whim, and I promise you- it’s life changing. Other than the Instant Pot itself, you’ll want to gather a few more kitchen items to make this recipe a breeze: a cutting board, a sharp knife, a pair of tongs, measuring cups and spoons, aluminum foil, a rimmed baking sheet, and a stirring utensil. I prefer to use my favorite wooden spoon for stirring, as it’s the perfect length for reaching the bottom of the Instant Pot. That’s it!

How to make Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa and Beef Stew

This stew is not difficult to make, but it does require a few extra steps to ensure everything is cooked to perfection. It drives me nuts when I make a soup and the meat turns out too tough/chewy while the vegetables are so soft they’re falling apart, so I made sure that didn’t happen with this stew. To achieve the perfect tenderness for both the beef and the vegetables, we actually pressure cook the stew twice. The first time, it’s just for the beef, while the second time is for the vegetables and quinoa. It sounds fussy, but I promise it doesn’t take any extra time than if we were to make this on the stove!

You’ll begin by trimming the beef of any fat or cartilage, then cut down any very large pieces. The stew meat should come already cubed, but sometimes there are a few wild pieces that need to be cut in half. Aim for approximately 1-inch pieces of beef.

Once the beef is trimmed, we’ll work in batches to sear it on all sides using the Sauté feature on the Instant Pot. Working in batches is key to ensure our meat gets browned and crispy. If we tried to sear all of the beef at once, the pan would be overcrowded and no browning would occur. Remember: browning= flavor.

Once we’ve seared the beef, we’ll add all of the thinly sliced onions and shallots, garlic, and a little red wine to deglaze the Pot. It’s very important to scrape up all of the caramelized bits that stuck to the Pot as we seared the beef, as those provide amazing flavor in our stew. Once the onions and garlic have absorbed much of the wine and are becoming tender, we’ll transfer them to a plate and return the beef to the Pot.

Next, add a splash of beef broth and start the first round of pressure cooking. The first round takes about 35 minutes start-to-finish, including time for the Pot to pressurize, cook, and then release the pressure. While the beef cooks for the first round, we can prepare the carrots, herbs, and quinoa.

You’ll want to cut the carrots into uniform pieces, each about 1/2 inch thick. Gather your fresh herb sprigs, rinse your quinoa, and maybe even have a glass of wine while you wait.

Once the beef is finished the first round of pressure cooking, we’ll go ahead and add the par-cooked onions and garlic, quinoa, carrots, fresh herbs, and remaining beef broth to the Pot. Close the lid again, and pressure cook the entire stew one final time. We’ll only be cooking it for 2 minutes, however this second round of cooking takes more like 15 minutes start-to-finish, including time for the Pot to pressurize again, cook, and then release the remaining pressure.

Once the stew has finished cooking, taste it for salt and pepper, then season accordingly. Turn your oven to Broil and ladle the soup into oven-safe bowls or crocks. At this point, you can top the soup however you see fit. I love to use a piece of toast and freshly shredded goat’s milk cheddar cheese, while Jeff prefers to top his with salad croutons. Alternatively, this stew is excellent served over mashed potatoes, or eaten as-is. You can absolutely customize it and have a delicious meal!

Looking for other soup recipes?

Try these from The Ardent Cook!

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Recipe Ingredients

1 tbsp avocado oil

1.5 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup red wine

One 32oz container beef broth, divided

1 cup water

2 tbsp Tomato paste

3 medium carrots, cut into ½ inch pieces

¾ cup quinoa, rinsed

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Toast or croutons, for serving

Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, for serving

Fresh parsley, chopped, for serving

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Trim beef of any fat or cartilage and ensure there are no excessively large pieces. Each cube should be roughly 1-inch in size. Season the beef on all sides with salt and black pepper. Turn Instant Pot to “Sauté” and sear the beef, working in batches to avoid crowding the pot. 
  2. Once all the beef has been seared on both sides, remove it from the pot and add the onions. Stir to coat in the beef drippings and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions begin to take on some color. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  3. Stir in the red wine to deglaze the Instant Pot. The onions and garlic will soak up some of the wine and start to become tender. Cook for 2-3 minutes until most of the wine has been absorbed by the onions or evaporated, then transfer the mixture to a bowl. 
  4. Add the beef back into the Instant Pot along with ¼ cup beef broth. Close the lid and ensure the vent is in the “Sealing” position. Turn the Instant Pot to “Pressure Cook” and then “High Pressure.” Set the timer for 20 minutes and let it go. Once the time is up, let the Pot naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then carefully quick-release the remaining steam by opening the vent. 
  5. To the Pot with the cooked beef, add the water, par-cooked onions, quinoa, carrots, herbs, tomato paste, and remaining beef broth. Return the lid to the Pot and follow the same process as above to pressurize the Pot, this time setting the timer for 2 minutes. Let the soup pressure cook once more, allowing for 5 minutes of natural release once the time is up. After 5 minutes, quick-release the steam and safely take the lid off. 
  6. Turn your oven to broil and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Ladle soup into oven-safe bowls or crocks and top with a piece of toast or handful of croutons, followed by the shredded cheddar. Place the filled crocks onto the lined baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden brown. Top with fresh parsley and enjoy hot!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Harissa Chicken Thighs (Trader Joe’s Copycat)

One of the best things to come out of 2020 was my discovery of Trader Joe’s Harissa Chicken Thighs. Now, hear me out. I have never been a proponent of pre-marinated meats in the grocery store. Typically, they’re loaded with extra fillers, sodium, sugar, etc. which is part of the reason they taste so good. However, Trader Joe’s seemingly does it right. There are a few strange ingredients in the marinade, but overall it’s pretty clean and the taste is absolutely ridiculously good.

You may be wondering, “Why change a good thing?” I’ll tell you why. I don’t live particularly close to Trader Joe’s. In fact, every trip is at least 30 minutes one-way, plus waiting in line for pandemic reasons (since all of their stores are the size of matchboxes), plus checking out, driving home, and unloading. It’s a TRIP.

You can probably see why I endeavored to create my own version of these delicious spicy morsels of chicken and let me tell you… I’m so glad I did.

Ingredients needed to make Harissa Chicken Thighs

If you’ve never heard of harissa, you’re not alone. Loads of people I talk to are either unsure of what it is or afraid of its spice level. Traditionally used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking, harissa is a widely used paste of roasted hot and sweet peppers, garlic, warm spices, salt, and a few other ingredients. It’s incredibly flavorful and, while it carries some heat, is not overpowering in this recipe.

Obviously, you’ll need to get your hands on a jar to make these chicken thighs. I would not recommend substituting anything else for the harissa in this dish. Trader Joe’s sells a delicious harissa, but it can also be found in most mainstream grocery stores in the specialty or international foods aisles. I’ve also linked one here which is available on Amazon.

Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Orange juice
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Water
  • Harissa
  • Avocado oil
  • Honey
  • Cilantro

Tools used to make Harissa Chicken Thighs

I love cooking chicken because of how easy it is (and so few dishes!). This recipe comes together using only a few kitchen tools, which I’m certain you already have in your kitchen. You’ll need the following: a large storage container with lid (or gallon-sized plastic bag), a small saucepan, measuring cups and spoons, one mixing bowl, a pair of tongs, a baking sheet, and an instant-read meat thermometer. That’s it!

How to make Harissa Chicken Thighs

There is a little fuss when it comes to this recipe, but most of the cook time is actually spent hands-off as passive time. We’ll start by making a quick citrus brine for our thighs, which is exactly what Trader Joe’s processing plant does to make their harissa chicken thighs. To do this, simply combine water, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan and heat it until both are dissolved. Add some citrus juice (in this case orange and lime), cover the chicken, and let it sit for 30-40 minutes. When I make these chicken thighs, I typically use that brining time to make the rest of the components of whatever meal I’m making.

Chicken thighs resting in the quick citrus brine

Next, you’ll transfer the chicken thighs to a mixing bowl with the harissa, avocado oil, and honey, stirring to coat them all evenly. We add a decent amount of oil here to ensure that our thighs achieve some level of browning in the oven. The small amount of honey helps with that too.

Chicken thighs covered in harissa, avocado oil, and honey

Before preheating the oven, you’ll want to place a clean sheet tray inside of the oven. As the oven preheats, the sheet tray will heat up with it. When we add our chicken thighs to the hot sheet pan, this will start the process of browning the bottoms immediately. It’s a great trick I use anytime I want caramelization (tip: I love using this method for oven-baked fries).

The chicken will cook for anywhere from 13 to 20 minutes. Cook time depends a lot on how large your chicken thighs are. This recipe calls for 1.5 pounds of chicken thighs. If the pack comes with only 2-3 larger thighs that make up those 1.5 pounds, then your cook time will likely be closer to the 20 minute mark. 4-5 thighs per pack, and you’re going to want to air on the side of 13 minutes to avoid over-cooking. Rely on your meat thermometer and you’ll achieve perfectly cooked chicken every time!

Once the chicken is cooked through, transfer it to a serving plate and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. I love serving this chicken over rice with lots of vegetables, or on a chopped salad with other Middle Eastern flavors. Enjoy!

Looking for other delicious chicken recipes?

Give these dishes a try from The Ardent Cook archives!

Favorite Roast Chicken

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

Roasted Apricot Chicken

Red Curry Pulled Chicken with Turmeric-Lime Rice

Harissa Chicken Thighs are a unique addition to any meal

Recipe Ingredients

1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

½ cup water

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp coconut sugar 

½ cup orange juice, unsweetened

Juice of 1 lime

⅓ cup harissa paste

¼ cup avocado oil

1 tbsp honey

Cilantro, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water, salt, and coconut sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar and salt are just dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the orange juice and lime juice. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. In a large storage container with a lid (or gallon-sized plastic bag), add the chicken and brine. Let sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. 
  3. After the time has passed, combine the harissa, avocado oil, and honey in a large mixing bowl. Remove the chicken from the brine and transfer to the mixing bowl to coat in the harissa mixture. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 and place a baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. Once the oven has reached temperature, remove the baking sheet and place the chicken directly onto the hot sheet. Return to the oven and bake for 13-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  5. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Creamy Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

The holidays always bring about strong feelings of comfort food, and this Creamy Sausage and Kale Rigatoni fills the void so incredibly well. If gluten and dairy aren’t for you, I’ve tested this recipe using a grain-free pasta alternative as well as dairy-free milk and cheese. Luckily, there are loads of swaps you can make to create the dish that works for you based upon your dietary needs, or just use the real stuff. I love this as an easy weeknight dinner or as a solution to your Christmas Eve dinner needs for gatherings large and small. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients needed to make Creamy Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

This dish uses all the traditional Italian pasta ingredients like rigatoni, ground sausage, herbs, and cheese. Here’s a full list of everything you’ll need, plus links to some swaps I used to make this compliant with my current gluten- and dairy-free eating habits:

  • Rigatoni or other cylindrical pasta shape (I like this brand if GF)
  • Ground Sweet Italian sausage
  • Olive oil
  • Kale
  • Fresh garlic
  • Crushed red pepper flake
  • Heavy cream (substitute non-dairy milk or cream alternative if DF)
  • Pasta cooking water
  • Mozzarella (substitute non-dairy cheese or goat cheese, if tolerated)
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Tools used to make Creamy Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

I love pasta dishes because they take close to no equipment to pull off. This dish comes together with only a few tools, most of which you likely already have. Here’s the complete list:

How to make Creamy Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

This pasta recipe is very straightforward, making it a welcome addition to any weekly meal plan. It’s also the perfect recipe to throw together the night before a big holiday, such as, ahem, Christmas Eve… particularly if you haven’t finished wrapping gifts for the big day.

You’ll start by cooking your pasta in the pasta pot according to package directions. Be sure to reserve approximately 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid before draining, as this helps us achieve a silky creamy sauce that adheres to each noodle.

While the pasta cooks, brown your sausage in a large skillet or deep pot. I prefer to use my Dutch oven for this step. Once browned, push the sausage into a ring at the outside of the pan to make space in the middle for the garlic. Add the olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring it around until fragrant, then stir to combine with the sausage. Add the kale and stir again, allowing it to wilt slightly.

Once the pasta is drained, add it directly into the pot with the sausage and kale while still hot. Add the heavy cream, pasta cooking water, and cheese, folding everything together. If needed, you may turn the burner on low to encourage melting of the cheese and thickening of the sauce.

Once the pasta is creamy and all ingredients are incorporated, fold in the freshly grated lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately! Leftovers keep well in the fridge or freezer.

Looking for other weeknight comfort food ideas?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Favorite Roast Chicken

Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens

Recipe Ingredients

1lb Rigatoni

1lb ground sweet Italian sausage

1tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste

1 head kale, stems removed and roughly chopped

3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more if needed

1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1 tbsp fresh lemon zest

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and set aside.
  2. While the pasta cooks, brown sausage in a large skillet or deep pot. Once browned, push sausage to the sides of the pan and make an open area in the center.
  3. Add olive oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes to the center of the pan and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Mix to incorporate with the sausage. Add the kale and stir again, allowing it to wilt.
  4. Add the pasta directly to the pan with the sausage and kale, turn the pan to low heat, then stir in the heavy cream, pasta cooking liquid, and mozzarella. Fold consistently until a creamy sauce forms. You may use additional cream to achieve your desired sauce consistency, if needed.
  5. Stir in the freshly grated lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and serve hot! Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Green Curry Chicken Tacos

Curry of any kind is one of my favorite foods and I truly think I could eat a variety of curry every night for dinner. In an effort to change it up from the usual protein, vegetables, curry sauce, and rice, I thought I’d give a curried taco recipe a go and BOY am I glad I did. This easy green curry chicken comes together in under 15 minutes in the Instant Pot, then gets stuffed into a delicious soft tortilla and topped with a few effortless garnishes. So easy and SO flavorful- let’s make ’em!

Ingredients needed to make Green Curry Chicken Tacos

Here’s everything you’ll need to make Green Curry Chicken Tacos:

Tools used to make Green Curry Chicken Tacos

These chicken tacos come together fastest and easiest when you use a pressure cooker, such as the Instant Pot. If you don’t have one, you can also cook the chicken in the oven using a covered Dutch oven, but be prepared that this method takes significantly longer. In addition to the Instant Pot, you’ll need the following tools:

How to make Green Curry Chicken Tacos

The entire process takes about 30 minutes start-to-finish when you factor in the time it takes the Instant Pot to pressurize and depressurize. You’ll start by mincing or grating your garlic and ginger and cutting each chicken breast in half crosswise. Place the chicken, garlic, ginger, curry paste, and coconut milk in the instant pot and stir until roughly combined. Set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure and set the timer to 11 minutes. Let the Instant Pot do its magic while you prepare the toppings.

Finely chop the cilantro and set aside. In a small, dry skillet, toast the cashews over medium-low heat until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop them.

Once the chicken has finished cooking, allow the Instant Pot 5-7 minutes of natural release, then carefully open the valve to quickly release the rest of the pressure. Using tongs, place the chicken onto the cutting board (you could also do this in a large mixing bowl) and shred using two forks. Turn the Instant Pot to sauté and allow the sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce and thicken. Return the chicken to the pot to soak in the curry sauce.

Warm your tortillas over the flame of your gas stove, or in the same dry skillet that you toasted the cashews in. Place the chicken into each tortilla, then top with the cilantro, cashews, and a little sriracha if desired. Enjoy!

Looking for other quick and easy recipes?

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Roasted Apricot Chicken

Recipe Ingredients

2-3lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (3 medium breasts)

1-inch knob ginger, minced or grated

3 cloves garlic, minced or grated

3oz green curry paste, such as Mike’s Organic Curry Love

1 13.5oz can full-fat coconut milk, unsweetened

Small (taco-sized) tortillas, any variety, or jicama wraps

1/2 cup raw cashews

Sriracha, for serving

Cilantro, roughly chopped, for serving

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise. Place chicken, ginger, garlic, curry paste, and coconut milk into the bowl of the Instant Pot. Turn the Instant Pot to Manual, then High Pressure, and set the timer for 11 minutes. Let the Instant Pot do its work, then allow for 5-7 minutes of natural pressure release before carefully opening the valve to quick-release the remaining steam. **If using oven method, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and add above ingredients to a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, then bake for 1-1.5 hours until the chicken easily shreds with a fork.**
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings for the tacos. In a small, dry skillet, toast the cashews over medium-low heat until golden in color and fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop, then set aside. Roughly chop the cilantro, then warm the tortillas in the same skillet that you toasted the cashews in. Alternatively, you may char the tortillas over the open flame if you have a gas stove.
  3. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and shred using two forks. Turn the pot to the sauté feature and let the curry sauce simmer for 10 minutes or so, until reduced and slightly thicker. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken to the sauce.
  4. Assemble the tacos. Place a serving of chicken into each tortilla, then top with the cilantro, cashews, and sriracha, if desired. Serve immediately!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Filet Mignon with Turnip Cauliflower Purée

Man oh man, this meal is an absolute stunner. A while back during pandemic grocery-scarcity scares, we ordered a grass-fed, pastured meat and poultry box from one of my favorite online retailers and got two free filet mignons in the package. I had been saving them for something special, until I realized that 2020 was a complete sh*t storm and I could make filet mignon on a weeknight and call it a special occasion. Paired with an earthy (not to mention low-carb) puree of white turnips and cauliflower, these steaks are filled with flavor and take just minutes to cook to a perfect medium rare. Go ahead and bookmark this recipe for your next date night in, or just a random Thursday- who really cares anymore!

Ingredients needed to make Filet Mignon with Turnip Cauliflower Purée

It goes without saying that you need a couple filets to make this recipe. If you wanted to use a different cut of steak, you certainly could, using the same cooking method described in this recipe and adjusting the time based on the weight of the meat. I will say that the tender, almost-buttery nature of the filet pairs so well with the turnip cauliflower purée that I’d highly recommend you splurge on the filet, but any steak will still taste great. Here’s the full list:

  • Olive oil
  • Filet mignon
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Cauliflower
  • White (Hakurei) turnips
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Red wine
  • Salt and pepper

Tools used to make Filet Mignon with Turnip Cauliflower Purée

You don’t need a whole lot of equipment to make this dish, as most of the work is done in your cast iron skillet. The purée comes together best in a food processor or high-speed blender, but it can certainly be done using a hand-masher in a pinch (and with a little extra effort). Other than those two items, you’ll also need a large pot to steam the cauliflower, a sharp chef’s knife, a meat thermometer, a stirring utensil, paper towels, measuring cups and spoons, and a large cutting board. It’s a pretty straight-forward list, and hopefully you have most of the equipment stocked in your kitchen! If not, I’ve provided links to some of the items I use above.

How to make Filet Mignon with Turnip Cauliflower Purée

I absolutely love teaching people how to make steak, because more often then not they realize just how easy it is. I used to fret constantly about making any kind of meat besides chicken, and for no good reason. Once I got a meat thermometer, it totally changed the game for me. I stopped worrying about the time and learned to cook to the feel and temperature. Curious what I mean by that? I’ll give you a brief explanation here… if you want to go really in-depth, I’d recommend signing up for one of my private Zoom cooking courses where I can really take time to answer your individual questions and we can make this dish together in real time. Shoot me an email at ‘theardentcookblog@gmail.com’ if that sounds like something you’re interested in (hint: a Zoom cooking class makes a wonderful gift!).

Now back to the steak. When I say, “cook to the feel,” I mean literally TOUCH YOUR MEAT. I’m not asking you to give it a massage, but don’t be afraid to poke it with a clean finger. Getting a lot of resistance? It’s probably done, or overdone. Still tender? It could probably use more time. As you continue to do this, you’ll start to get a calibration for how the meat you enjoy feels. When I say, “cook to the temperature,” that means exactly what it says. Don’t just use your meat thermometer, but rely on it. I will check my meat numerous times throughout the process of cooking, and not just at the end of cooking! For example, taking the temperature of the meat when you know it’s NOT done serves as an excellent benchmark to help you guess how much longer it needs. I like to take the temperature of my steaks after they are seared but before they go into the oven as a way to gauge how long to leave them in the oven for. This probably sounds overwhelming, but think of it like a tire gauge! You probably check your tires halfway through filling them with air so you know how far you have left to go, right? Same concept here.

Now back to how we actually make this dish. It’s pretty simple. You’ll begin by steaming your cauliflower florets and turnips until fork tender. Drain them completely, then set them aside so you can pay full attention to your steaks, because they cook quickly. You’ll sear the steaks for a few minutes per side over medium-high heat in your oven-safe skillet, then transfer them immediately to the preheated oven. Set your timer, but don’t be afraid to air on the side of caution. You can always add time, but you can’t take it away, and nothing is worse than an overcooked steak.

Once the steaks are done, take them out of the oven and let them REST. Rest is so important to ensure that all of those flavorful juices you cultivated during the cooking process recirculate into the meat and keep it moist. If you cut into it too soon, those precious juices will grace your cutting board rather than your taste buds.

While the steaks rest, you’ll make your turnip cauliflower purée and red wine pan sauce. Add all of the ingredients for the purée to your food processor and blend until no lumps remain, then transfer to a serving bowl. Return the skillet you cooked the steaks in to the stove (leave the steaks to rest on the cutting board) and heat it over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up all of the bits from the bottom of the skillet, and allow it to reduce by half. Once it’s reduced, add the final tablespoon of butter and whisk until combined.

To serve, scoop the purée onto each plate and top with the steak (sliced against the grain). Drizzle all over with the red wine pan sauce and enjoy immediately!

Looking for more date-night-in recipes from The Ardent Cook?

Give these other delicious dishes a try!

Favorite Roast Chicken

Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Buttered Sage Breadcrumbs

Recipe Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 (5oz) filet mignons

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 medium head cauliflower

1lb white (Hakurei) turnips

3 tbsp butter, divided

2 tbsp sour cream

¼ cup red wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot with 1-2 inches of water to a boil. Cut the cauliflower into florets and quarter or halve the turnips, depending on their size. Steam the vegetables until fork tender, approximately 5 minutes, then drain and set aside. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, then heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet (or other oven-safe pan) over medium-high heat on the stove. 
  3. Pat the filets dry with a paper towel and season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. When the oil is hot, sear the steaks without disturbing for 2 minutes each side. Transfer to the oven and continue to cook for 2-4 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (for medium rare). You may continue to cook the steak in the oven if a higher internal temperature is desired. 
  4. Remove the filets from the oven and allow them to rest for at least 10 minutes on a cutting board. While the steaks rest, make the puree. Combine the steamed cauliflower and turnips along with 2 tablespoons of the butter, sour cream, and pinch each of salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until few lumps remain and the mixture is mostly smooth.  
  5. Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Use caution and remember that the handle will be hot, as it was just in the oven! Add the wine and stir, scraping up the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, until the sauce has reduced by half, then whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter. 
  6. Spoon the turnip cauliflower puree onto a plate. Slice the steak, against the grain, and plate on top of the mash. Spoon over the red wine reduction and finish with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt. Enjoy immediately!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Now that I finally bit the bullet and bought an Instant Pot (albeit I got it for half price on Facebook marketplace), I truly can’t believe I lived without one. It’s not that it can do anything magical that I can’t do in a pot on the stove, it’s just the fact that it goes so. much. faster. What would normally take over 2 hours takes like…. 15 minutes?!

I will admit I was extremely nervous to use this. Something about the pressure had me totally wigged out, like I’d open the lid and pork would shoot across my kitchen. Let me state this disclaimer: as long as you allow for 10 minutes of natural release (or longer, if you’re doing something else), you will be completely fine to let the remaining pressure release via the quick release function. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, continue reading this recipe, which will explain everything.

These Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls are loaded with bright flavor from the lemongrass and fresh veggies. They are customizable based on the vegetables you have on hand and it’s easy to swap out the brown rice base for whatever base you want. If I can give you one tip, it would be to absolutely make the easy pickled red onions. They totally make this dish in my opinion, and they only require a little bit of forethought and prep work to have homemade pickled red onions for days.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and I look forward to sharing more Instant Pot recipes with you all in the future!

Ingredients needed to make Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

These bowls are made using lots of fresh ingredients, which is one of the reasons I love them. The recipe includes amounts for 4 servings, so this is great for a small family or to have prepped leftovers for later in the week. You can always halve the amounts listed in the recipe if you only want 2 servings! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Brown rice
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Fresh garlic
  • Lemongrass paste
  • Shredded carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Pickled red onion
    • Red onion
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Sugar
    • Salt
  • Jalapeno
  • Cilantro
  • Sesame Chili Vinaigrette

Tools used to make Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

As the title of the recipe suggests, you need an Instant Pot to make this recipe in the time specified. If you don’t mind spending a little extra time, you could also do the pork in the oven roasted low and slow to get it to the perfect shredded consistency. I’d highly recommend the IP version, however, to make this a quick weeknight meal. Other than the Instant Pot, you’ll need a large cutting board, sharp chef’s knife, small saucepan, mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, and a whisk.

How to make Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

The majority of the work for these bowls happens behind the scenes in the Instant Pot, which is great. To start, you’ll want to make your pickled red onions so they have time to cure while the rest of the meal cooks. Bring the vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil and stir until everything has dissolved. Pour over the sliced red onions in a glass jar or tupperware container, and set aside.

Next, sear the pork on all sides using the sauté feature on the IP. You may need to work in batches to avoid crowding, then you’ll transfer the seared pork back into the pot along with the garlic, lemongrass paste, water, and a little salt and pepper. Set it to manual high pressure, then set the timer for 32 minutes. Keep in mind the whole thing will take longer than 32 minutes, as the pot needs time to pressurize as well as time to naturally release after cooking. Total time in the pot is about 50-60 minutes.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can easily make the pork in the oven. Simply follow the steps above to sear the pork, then roast in a Dutch oven (or similar oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid) at 350 for 1-2 hours, until the pork shreds very easily.

While the pork cooks, you’ll thinly slice all of the vegetables and cook the rice (if not cooked ahead of time). You can also make the dressing- simply combine all the ingredients and whisk until mixed. Once the pork is finished, shred it using two forks and toss it back in with the juices, then assemble. Layer the rice, shredded pork, sliced veggies, and fresh cilantro, if using, then drizzle all over with the sesame chili vinaigrette. Easy as that!

Looking for other easy weeknight bowls?

Try these other recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

Harvest Steak and Goat Cheese Bowls

Ponzu Greens and Grains Bowl

Recipe Ingredients

2 cups brown rice or quinoa, cooked

2 pork tenderloins, about 2-2.5lbs total

½ cup water 

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup lemongrass paste

1 cup shredded carrots 

1 cup thinly sliced cucumber

½ cup pickled red onion

  • one medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt

1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped, packed 

½ cup sesame chili vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¾ tsp chili garlic sauce (or sriracha)
  • ¼ tsp salt

Recipe Instructions

  1. Make the pickled red onions. Thinly slice onion and add to a large pickle jar or heat-safe container. Bring the vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let cool for 3 minutes, then pour over the onions to cover. Set aside.
  2. Cut the two tenderloins into 2-3 equal pieces and season on all sides with salt. Turn instant pot to the normal sauté function and sear pork. You may need to work in batches. 
  3. Once seared, transfer the pork to a plate and add the lemongrass and smashed garlic. Stir for 30 seconds or so, until very fragrant, then add water to deglaze the pot. Add the pork back in and set to manual high pressure, then set the timer for 32 minutes. Allow for natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then quick release to completely depressurize the instant pot.
  4. Shred the pork using two forks, then return it to soak in its juices. Assemble the bowls by dividing the ingredients amongst four servings. I like to have a bowl each for dinner, then have two leftover for our lunches the next day. Layer the rice, shredded pork, sliced veggies, pickled red onions, and cilantro (if using). Drizzle all over with the sesame chili vinaigrette and enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Buttery Dinner Rolls

When I set out to create a dinner roll recipe, I had a few criterion I needed to hit: I wanted a firm, somewhat crusty outside, a soft interior, and extreme buttery flavor. My mind immediately went to a crescent roll flavor, although I knew that crescent rolls were too soft on the outside for my taste. After a few failed attempts at dough (and maybe some tears), I finally got them to a place that I loved. These rolls hold up extremely well to things like Thanksgiving gravy and soup. There’s nothing worse than dunking a piece of bread into a bowl of soup and having it disintegrate, and these do nothing of the sort. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Ingredients needed to make Buttery Dinner Rolls

These rolls incorporate a lot of basic bread ingredients like flour and yeast. Here’s the full list of what you’ll need:

Tools used to make Buttery Dinner Rolls

You don’t need a ton of special equipment to make these rolls, but I do highly recommend using a stand mixer with a dough hook to knead your dough. This dough takes a good 10-12 minutes to knead properly, and that’s a lot of hard work if you’re only using your hands. It can be done without a mixer, just be prepared to work the dough a lot. I have a KitchenAid mixer that was passed down from my dad, but any brand of stand mixer will work.

In addition to the mixer, you’ll want a clean work surface, such as the counter or a large cutting board, to roll the dough on. You will also need a large mixing bowl, clean kitchen towel, small mixing bowl to melt the butter, kitchen brush to brush the butter (or use a spoon), sharp knife to divide the dough, parchment paper, and a large rimmed baking sheet.

How to make Buttery Dinner Rolls

These rolls require a little forethought to make sure you have enough time to let them rise, but otherwise they’re pretty easy to pull together. The dough begins like most yeasted doughs by mixing the yeast with warm milk. I warm my milk in the microwave in two 30 second runs. I stir it in between each run, then check it to make sure its between 110-115 degrees with my meat thermometer. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can test it by feel. It should be warm to the touch but not hot by any means. Think of what a hot tub feels like! If it’s too hot, you run the risk of killing your yeast.

Once the yeast and milk have relaxed together for a few minutes, you’ll add that and all of the other ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer. I like to start by mixing it for 30 seconds or so, then stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides, then going again. Once the mixture is homogenous (roughly 1 minutes of mixing and scraping down the sides), you can turn the mixer up slightly and let the dough knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. The dough will be smooth with minimal puckering and will bounce back when you press your finger into it.

Roughly shape the dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled mixing bowl, then cover with a clean dish towel. Let rise until the dough has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour. I like to let my dough rise in a cold oven with the light turned on. The light creates the perfect, slightly warm atmosphere for the dough to do its magic.

Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few more times to shape it into an even ball. Using your knife, divide the dough into 16 equal parts and shape each one into a ball. Place equal distance apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with the towel, then let rise again for 30 minutes or until dough balls have puffed up slightly.

Now, you’re ready to bake! Well, almost. You’ll melt the remaining butter and brush that all over the tops of the rolls just before they go into the oven. That’s it! These little guys are so perfect in my opinion, and they really stand up to Thanksgiving gravy, making them the perfect vessel for sopping up every last bit on your plate.

Looking for other Thanksgiving-inspired recipes?

Butternut Mashed Potatoes with Sage Compound Butter

Favorite Roast Chicken

Sweet Potato, Celery, and Apple Bake

Recipe Ingredients

2 ½ -¾  cups AP flour, plus more for dusting

2 ½ tsp instant yeast

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup milk, warmed to 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit

1-2 tbsp water

5 tbsp butter, melted, divided

Recipe Instructions

  1. Warm milk to 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit and whisk in the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, salt, milk-yeast mixture, and 2 tbsp of the melted butter. Knead with the mixer until a smooth dough forms, about 8-10 minutes. If the dough is too dry, you may add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. The dough should be smooth and not puckered, and should spring back when you poke your finger into it. If the dough does not spring back immediately, it needs more knead time. 
  3. Transfer the dough ball to an oiled mixing bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let rise at room temperature for an hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Knead it once or twice to form an even ball, then cut the dough into 16 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, and place equidistant apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with the dish towel and let rise again for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the rolls with the remaining melted butter, then bake for 27-32 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with additional butter immediately out of the oven and sprinkle with chopped herbs (such as sage, rosemary, and thyme), if desired. Serve warm! Leftovers keep nicely on the counter in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Favorite Roast Chicken

There are few things that make me more nostalgic than the smell of a chicken roasting on a Sunday afternoon. It was such a staple meal for my family growing up and it’s way easier to make than most people think.

This is my absolute favorite way to roast a chicken, hence why I named it Favorite Roast Chicken. It’s also what I’ll be making for my family on Thanksgiving, because I firmly believe that turkey is overrated. If you need to feed a crowd, simply opt for roasting two or three smaller chickens, which reduces your risk of the bird drying out.

Here are a few of the reasons I love this Favorite Roast Chicken:

  1. You get way more bang for your buck when it comes to the price of meat per pound, especially when compared to buying boneless, skinless, (flavorless) chicken breast.
  2. You can save the bones to make delicious, easy bone broth. It’s great for your gut, filled with protein, and keeps in the freezer for use in everything from homemade soups to Thanksgiving gravy. I love to keep it on hand for pesky winter colds, too.
  3. The flavor can’t be beat. Just trust me on this one.

Ingredients needed to make Favorite Roast Chicken

It goes without saying that you need a whole chicken to make this recipe. The time and temperature for my recipe is specific to a 5-5.5 pound bird. If you happen to find a larger one, you can aim to add an extra 10-15 minutes per 1/2 pound, but check it frequently to ensure you don’t overcook it. I would not recommend a chicken larger than 7-7.5lbs, as I’ve had issues with the breast drying out before the dark meat parts of the bird have finished cooking. In addition to the chicken, you’ll need the following:

  • Butter
  • Fresh winter herbs, such as thyme, sage, or rosemary
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Shallots or yellow onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Tools used to make Favorite Roast Chicken

The tools needed to perfect the roast chicken are so minimal! The most important item is an oven-safe roasting pan or skillet. If I’m just doing one chicken, I’ll opt for my favorite Le Creuset cast iron skillet. If I’m doing two, or a large bird, I’ll use this larger pan by All Clad. You can also use a traditional square or rectangular roasting pan. Whatever you’ve got that fits the chicken and can go in the oven is perfect!

You also need a small microwave-safe bowl to melt the butter, paper towels to pat the chicken dry, a chef’s knife to minced the herbs and carve the chicken once it’s cooked, kitchen twine to truss the legs, a large cutting board, and a meat thermometer. That’s it!

How to make Favorite Roast Chicken

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually make a roast chicken. It sounds intimidating, but trust me, it’s not that bad.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll start by melting the butter, giving your herbs a good chop, and roughly chopping the celery, carrot, and shallot. I like to do this before I even touch the chicken, so I limit the amount of times I have to wash my hands. Mix the herbs with the melted butter, and set everything aside right next to your work station.

Remove the chicken from it’s plastic packaging and discard the giblets from the center of the chicken. There may be juices stuck in the cavity that you can go ahead and dump down the drain or into your trash can. Do not rinse the chicken! This causes a mess in your sink and it’s also not necessary.

Bring your chicken over to your work station and pat it dry with paper towels. I like to set up my largest cutting board and make that the raw chicken zone instead of using the countertop, but you should do what works best for you and your own kitchen set up. Tip: line your work station with a layer of paper towel before putting the chicken down, as this helps dry the bottom while you pat the other parts dry.

Make sure the chicken is dry all over, then coat the chicken in the melted butter. You want to get it completely covered, as well as spread some butter underneath the skin of the breast. The skin will easily separate from the breast meat when you run your finger underneath and pull upwards gently, at which point you can spoon a little melted butter inside and spread it around with your fingers.

Next, you’ll “truss” the chicken legs. Trussing is when you tie the legs up against the breast, which helps prevent air from circulating around the breast during the cooking process (which makes for a dry breast) and ensures an even cooking time for all parts of the chicken. It sounds fancy, but it’s super easy to do with a piece of kitchen twine.

Once the chicken is covered in the butter and herb mixture and trussed, wash your hands with soap and dry them well. Using one hand to hold the chicken (your “dirty” hand) and one hand to touch the salt and pepper, season the chicken liberally all over, as well as in the cavity. Use both hands to transfer the chicken to the roasting pan, then stuff the cavity with the celery, carrot, shallot, and whole herb sprigs. Wash your hands, the cutting board, the knife, and anything else that touched raw chicken.

Roast the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees at the deepest part of the breast, and 180 in the thighs. Remove from the oven and tent loosely with aluminum foil, then allow it to rest for 15 minutes or so.

To carve the chicken, you’ll want to transfer it to a large cutting board. You’ll begin by removing the wings, which should easily pop off without much pressure being applied. Next, to remove the leg and thigh, cut between the breast and the leg, turning the knife inward and downward to remove them in one piece. To remove the breast, start at the center of the bird and cut down along the breast bone, turning the knife outward as you cut downward. Then, slice the breast against the grain. Plate all the pieces on a serving platter, and surround the chicken with the pieces of vegetable that were in the cavity. You may also garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.

If preparing or carving the chicken sounds scary to you, you can always feel free to leave a comment or DM me on Instagram and I’d be happy to help you. I’m also planning to host a Zoom class all about roasting a chicken that will take you through the process step-by-step in a small group setting. More information on this class is available on my Instagram, @theardentcook.

Recipe Ingredients

One 5-5½ pound whole chicken

3 tbsp salted butter, melted

1 bunch whole fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, or thyme

1 large carrot, roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 medium shallot, halved

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Finely chop roughly 2 tbsp of the herbs and add to the melted butter. Leave the rest of the herbs whole.
  3. Remove the giblets and pat the chicken dry. Rub all over with the melted butter and herb mixture, getting some butter underneath the skin of the breasts as well. Season the chicken and the cavity liberally with salt and pepper, then truss the legs using kitchen twine.
  4. Transfer to the roasting pan and stuff the cavity with the carrot, celery, shallot, and the remaining bunch of herbs. Roast for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit and the thigh reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and tent lightly with aluminum foil. Allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving. To reheat, place skin-on chicken in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. For breast, reheat in a shallow pan with 1/2 inch of chicken stock or gravy to retain moisture. Enjoy!
  6. BONUS: For a quick chicken gravy, pour off all but 5 tbsp of pain drippings from the same pan you roasted the chicken in. Heat drippings on the stove over medium heat, then whisk in 4 tbsp of all-purpose flour to create a roux. Let the roux bubble for 1-2 minutes, until the raw flour taste is cooked out and the roux has browned nicely. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup dry white wine, making sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, then return to the heat. Add 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme to the pan. Once the wine has cooked off, about 3-4 minutes, slowly whisk in 2-3 cups chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Once the gravy has thickened, add in the next 1/2 cup, and so on, until all of the stock is incorporated and gravy has thickened to your liking. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita is literally comfort in a bowl. I know you may be thinking, “I’ve definitely seen other food bloggers with recipes for curry chickpeas,” and you’re right! However, none of them are as good as mine. I say that humbly, but also based in fact. Many other recipes I came across when doing research for this recipe included hard-to-find spices (which aren’t practical for all home cooks), added water when the recipe doesn’t really need any, and so on. The balance of flavor, heat, acid, texture, and overall taste of this curry is truly amazing. Plus, it’s made using ingredients that are found in most pantries, which is what we all need right now. My protein-obsessed boyfriend didn’t even complain that this is a vegetarian main dish. It’s delicious. Bonus? It’s vegan if you substitute the Greek yogurt in the raita for a vegan alternative.

Ingredients needed to make Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

I like to serve this curry over brown rice, but it would also do well over quinoa, cauliflower rice, or just eaten on its own. It’s easy to substitute whatever grain or grain-alternative base you want for this recipe. In addition to the rice, you’ll need the following to make the curry:

The cucumber raita, while not necessary, is an absolutely delicious compliment to the slight heat of the curry. It adds a cooling, fresh element that leaves you with a really balanced bite every time. Here’s what you’ll need to make the raita:

  • Cucumber
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Curry powder
  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Salt

Tools used to make Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

The tools needed to make this dish are as follows: a sharp chef’s knife for chopping, a large cutting board, a Dutch oven or large, deep-sided sauté pan, a wooden spoon, a mixing bowl, and measuring spoons. It’s fairly minimal, and the bulk of the dish is made in one pot, making for easy clean up!

How to make Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

This curry begins by sweating the onions with garlic, ginger, and all of those warm spices. The entire process takes about 6 minutes, but it will make your kitchen smell incredible. Once the onions have sweat and the other aromatics have been added, you’ll add the chickpeas, coconut milk, and pumpkin. Some brands of canned pumpkin are thicker than others, so if you need to add 1-2 tablespoons of water at this point, you may. Use your judgement. The goal is to simmer this curry long enough to create a thick, saucy final product that feels like it’s been cooking all day, when it really only takes 15-20 minutes. You’ll stir to combine, then reduce the heat to low and allow the curry to do its thing.

While the curry simmers, I like to make the raita. It’s really simple to pull together and takes the curry to the next level, in my opinion. As I mentioned above, it’s easy to make this dish completely vegan by substitution the Greek yogurt for a non-dairy alternative.

Start by peeling your cucumber and halving lengthwise. Then, scoop out the seeds and cut it into a very small dice. Add the cucumber to a bowl, along with the Greek yogurt, spices, and cilantro. It’s important to add salt after tasting, as some brands of Greek yogurt can be saltier than others. Salt the raita to your liking, then transfer to the fridge until the curry is finished.

Serve the curry over brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, or whatever other base you’d like, then top with a dollop of raita and extra cilantro. This dish is also awesome paired with some fresh naan or pita bread. It’s so warming and stick-to-your-ribs, as they say!

Looking for other comforting dinners for colder-weather nights?

Try these other recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Pineapple Chipotle Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Roasted Apricot Chicken

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Recipe Ingredients

For the Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1-inch piece ginger, minced

1 tsp curry powder

¾ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground turmeric 

⅛ tsp cayenne, or more if desired (I used closer to ¼ tsp)

2 (15oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 (13.5oz) can full-fat coconut milk

1 (13.5oz) can pumpkin puree

1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

Juice of ½ lime, plus wedges for serving

Cilantro, for serving

Cucumber raita, for serving (recipe below)

Brown rice, for serving

For the Cucumber Raita

1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded, diced very small

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

⅛ tsp cayenne 

¼ tsp curry powder

2 tbsp cilantro, very finely chopped

Salt, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 4-5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and cayenne, and cook for an additional 30-45 seconds until very fragrant.
  2. Add the chickpeas, coconut milk, and pumpkin. If the consistency is too thick (some canned pumpkin options are thicker than others), you may add water 1 tablespoon at a time, however keep in mind you want the final product to be thick like a slow-simmered curry. 
  3. Turn the heat to low and allow the chickpeas to simmer for 30-45 minutes, until they are very fragrant and the consistency is as thick as you’d like it. Continue to simmer if a thicker consistency is desired. 
  4. While the chickpeas simmer, make the raita. Combine the cucumber, yogurt, cayenne, curry powder, and chopped cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with salt to taste. 
  5. When the chickpeas are finished simmering, remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Season one final time for salt.
  6. Serve the curry over brown or basmati rice, then top with a dollop of the raita and additional cilantro, if desired. Leftovers keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

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