11 November 2008

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

"It may seem like a lot of garlic, but I promise it is not overpowering. " Samantha was right - her recipe rocks! Try this chicken recipe for a deliciously comforting meal.

Below is her recipe, word for word:

6-8 chicken thighs, bone in with skin
2-3 heads of garlic, peeled
1/4 cup diced onion
1 1/3 cup chicken stock
3/4 cup of dry vermouth
2 tbsp of butter
hot egg noodles or rice.

Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Sear all sides in olive oil in a dutch oven type pot. Don't cook all the way, just brown it well on high heat. Remove chicken and set aside. When chicken cools, remove and toss out the skin. Add 1/3 cup chicken stock to pot and heat it, scraping up the browned bits. Add garlic and onion and saute until onion is clear and garlic is a little browned. (I've put in carrots, celery and mushrooms at this point sometimes if I want some heartier.) Then add rest of chicken broth and vermouth. Return chicken to pot.

You're supposed to add rosemary and thyme but I never have any so I use basil, oregano, tarragon and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil then lower heat and allow to cook on low for at least 35 minutes. I usually cook it for about an hour and 15 minutes. If you haven't added the hodgepodge of other veggies, remove the chicken, the puree what's left along with the butter. Pull the chicken off the bones, shred it and add the sauce back to it. Serve over rice or noodles.

Here's a photo of my chicken in the pot - I used chicken breast instead of thighs, and I would definitely follow the recipe more closely next time.

I served this with golden smashed potatoes and green beans with breadcrumbs - two super simple side dishes.

Golden Smashed Potatoes

2 yukon gold potatoes, washed and fork-pricked
2 tsp. butter
coarse salt
black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Microwave potatoes until softened - 5 to 7 minutes. Remove potatoes from microwave and place on a cookie sheet. Allow to cool slightly. Using a chef's knife, slightly score tops of potatoes with an "X". Using the flat of the knife, press the potatoes flat - "smashing" them. Place a pat of butter in the center of the "X", salt & pepper potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy.

Green Beans with Buttery Breadcrumbs

1 lb. fresh green beans, cut and washed
2-3 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. Italian breadcrumbs
Steam green beans until cooked but still crisp. Add butter to hot beans, stir to melt. Pour breadcrumbs into bowl and stir to combine. This is Andrew's mother Linda's recipe, and it's a winner. Granted, it's not the healthiest way to eat your beans, so I only make it on special occasions. And Tuesdays. :)

Purple Macaroni & Cheese

We went out to dinner with Andrew's dad and stepmom to ML in Chagrin Falls. We absolutely adore the restaurant, and this meal was no exception. Ann and I decided to eat a bunch of appetizers for dinner, which turned out to be a great idea. One of our leftovers was an amazing habanero goat cheese topped with blueberry preserves. Ann insisted I take it home, so I decided I had to figure out a great way to use it.

Here is the goat cheese:

My purple macaroni and cheese was easy to make, and beautiful too! Of course, you could use any cheese you have on hand. Because of the habanero, this mac & cheese was a bit spicy, and yet a bit sweet from the blueberry preserves. It definitely made an interesting combination.

1/2 lb. rotini or pasta of your choice
6 oz. habanero goat cheese
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1 big handful fresh spinach

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to directions on box - until slightly al dente.

In the meantime, melt butter in saucepan and add flour. Whisk to combine flour & butter, creating a roux. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Slowly whisk in goat cheese a little at a time, melting and whisking to combine. When all goat cheese has been incorporated, allow to come back to a simmer - do not boil.

Add spinach to pasta water, allow to wilt. Drain pasta and spinach and add to sauce. Toss all ingredients to combine. Garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, if available.

03 November 2008

Happy Halloween!

An adorable little monkey...my friend Heather's sweet son Connor.