Lebanese Garlic Chicken Thighs and Warm Spinach Salad

img_2619by Karen Frazier

I’m on day 22 of my Whole30 30-day challenge, and I’ve been tinkering in the kitchen. Yesterday, I decided to make Lebanese garlic sauce. Today, I decided to spread it on chicken thighs. The result? Delicious!

The recipe is Whole30 approved when you use sugar-free bacon (I like it from US Wellness Meats), as well as paleo and low-carb.

Lebanese Garlic Sauce

Makes about 2 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups EVOO
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the garlic cloves and sea salt. Blend, scraping down the sides occasionally, until the garlic cloves make a fine paste.
  2. Add the EVOO in a very thin stream with the food processor still running until it is completely incorporated. This step will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon juice and pepper. Blend briefly to mix.

This has pretty good kick, but you can taste and adjust by adding more olive oil or lemon juice to suit your own taste buds, which is what I do. Even after I’ve added the lemon juice, I add extra olive oil, just making sure it goes in a thin stream. This will store in your fridge, tightly sealed, for a few weeks. If you prefer a more neutrally flavored oil, you can use another expeller pressed oil, such as avocado oil, or use half avocado oil and half EVOO. I like the California Olive Ranch everyday EVOO, which has a mild flavor.

Lebanese Garlic Chicken Thighs

Serves 4

  • 8 whole chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons Lebanese garlic sauce
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the chicken thighs, skin side up, in a large baking or roasting pan and sprinkle them with the sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Spread each with one tablespoon (or more) of the Lebanese garlic sauce.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 70 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

I like to make enough for two meals – my motto is cook once and eat twice. It’s a great time saver.

Warm Spinach Salad

Serves 4

  • 6 slices sugar-free bacon, chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, or champagne vinegar
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  1. In a medium saute pan on medium-high heat, brown the bacon until all the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the fat in the pan with a slotted spoon and set it aside.
  2. Add the shallot to the fat in the pan along with the salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for one minute.
  3. Add the orange juice and vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half, three or four minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the spinach and the bacon. Toss with the warm vinaigrette and serve immediately.

 

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Warm Spinach Salad

baby spinachI have a certain person in my family who despises green food, and it’s not me or one of the kids. Still, I can get him to eat his spinach when I make this warm spinach salad. You can vary it in a number of ways, which I’ll include after the recipe. For the salad, I prefer baby spinach, which is more tender and flavorful; however, you can use other types of spinach, as well. The recipe below serves four.

  • 8 ounces of baby spinach
  • 2 Tablespoons duck fat
  • 5 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or raw apple cider vinegar)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  1. Wash and drain baby spinach. Place dry spinach in a large, heatproof bowl.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan and cook chopped bacon until crispy.
  3. Remove bacon from fat with a slotted spoon and put in bowl with spinach.
  4. Add shallots and cook until soft.
  5. Add red wine vinegar, scraping browned bits off bottom of pan.
  6. Pour dressing from pan over the top of spinach and bacon and toss. The bacon will wilt slightly.
  7. Top with fresh pepper and serve immediately.

Variations:

  • Change vinegar to sherry vinegar or balsamic
  • Add pine nuts
  • Add zest from one orange to dressing when you add sugar