Spicy, Garlicky Cashew Chicken

This is one very easy and delicious weeknight dinner where flavor shines. The only requirement is a little marinating time.

I am moving (slowly) through Melissa Clark’s In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite and really enjoy the recipes. They all feel very homey and taste like Mom’s cooking you grew up with but with more herbs. And butter. Clark has a very realistic perspective on making food, which is that it has to please everyone, has to take less than an hour to cook so you can make it any night of the week, and that bacon is a fine addition. I appreciate this about her.

Cashew Chicken: never had it in my life. I can’t say it’s something that I see on restaurant menus and I didn’t grow up with this, so was intrigued to try something new. After getting the ingredients, I find out that Frank hates Cashews, so it had to be at least a little interesting, right? My argument was to be adventurous and try something new. Turns out, Frank didn’t mind this dish at all as long as the remainder of sauce stayed far away from his plate.

Spicy, Garlicky Cashew Chicken
Melissa Clark, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite

1 cup roasted salted cashew nuts
6 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, with some stems
1/4 cup safflower or olive oil
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tbls soy sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedes for garnish
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded or not, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds chicken thighs and/or drumsticks

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the nuts, 2 tablespoons cilantro, the oil, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, lime juice, jalapeno, and 2 tablespoons water. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
2. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Smear on enough cashew mixture to coat the pieces thoroughly, but don’t make it too thick or the sauce will fall of into your grill. Set aside any remaining mixture. Let marinate at room temperature while you heat the grill or broiler. Or refrigerate for up to 12 hours before cooking.

3. Preheat the broiler or grill. Grill or broil the chicken, turning frequently, until it is crisp and golden on the outside and done on the
inside, 20 to 30 minutes

4. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 4 tablespoons cilantro and serve with lime wedges and the remaining cashew mixture.

As a side, our neighbors gave us a bag of beans from their garden, so we fried up bacon with chili peppers and sauteed the beans for about 5 minutes, cooked but still crunchy.


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