Blackened Chicken with Blackened Carrots, and Quinoa

This weekend I was on a cooking competition show and I made some carrots that went over pretty well.

I actually never wanted to be on a cooking reality show before, but always thought that this specific one would be something I might be good at. The whole thing, starting with the first email I received, has been an amazing experience in ways that I never expected. I still almost can’t believe that everything happened the way it happened. Thank you to everyone who tuned in, tweeted, snapped, and reached out to me over the past few days, it really means so much to me!

When I was trying to come up with this idea in the heat of the moment, I was actually thinking of the idea and flavors of chicken wings. It needed to be a little more upscale and a full dinner instead of a bar app, so I upgraded to the drumstick. The prune sauce replaced what would have been a sticky sweet wing sauce, and the yogurt raita what would have been ranch or blue cheese. I was heading to grab carrots because what goes with wings better than carrots, when I got the idea to blacken the carrots. The rest was hashtag trending history.

If you want more details about this dish or the parameters behind why I had to make it, you need to watch the episode.
I roasted the chicken for about 40 minutes, which is more time than I even had on the show. I guess this is more of the perfect version than the actual one I made. The carrots cooked in some olive oil with lots of salt for about 20 minutes. Getting a nice char on them is the most important part. I had to use prunes in this recipe, so I chopped them up and made a sauce with balsamic vinegar to create a sweet and sour flavor. A quick yogurt sauce freshens up the dish. This has chives, garlic, lemon, honey, salt, and pepper. The quinoa also has chives and some red pepper flakes and olive oil. Put the quinoa down and then the carrots. This is also way prettier than I was able to make it in the pressure of the show environment. This dish has such a great balance. Hearty quinoa, tart yogurt sauce, and that sweet prune and balsamic sauce, and the super tender savory chicken. The carrots though, like the judges said, completely steal the show. Since I was on the show I have made blackened carrots a few times, even on the grill, and they never disappoint.

Blackened Chicken with Blackened Carrots, and Quinoa

  • chicken
  • 8 Chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • quinoa
  • 2 cups Cooked Quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Chives
  • 2 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
  • carrots
  • 12 Carrots The colorful kind with the stems still attatched
  • raita
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Lemon (juice)
  • 1/2 a small clove Garlic grated
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Chives
  • 2 teaspoons Honey
  • prune sauce
  • 1 cup chopped prunes
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Toss the chicken with the spices and salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake until blackened well on all sides and tender in the middle, flipping once or twice during the cooking as needed, about 40 minutes.
  2. Cut the tops off the carrots and wash them well but do not peel them. Place them into a frying pan with a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook on medium high heat to brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.
  3. Simmer the prunes with the balsamic and oil with a little salt. Simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Add water if it becomes too thick.
  4. Toss the quinoa with the chives, oil, and chile flake and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix the yogurt ingredients and set aside.
  6. Build the plates starting with the quinoa, then the carrots, then the prune sauce, then the chicken, and finally the yogurt. Top with extra chives.