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Moroccan Chicken Tagine December 30, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Chicken, Entree, Recipe.
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4 lbs. various chicken pieces, bone-in
1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
(or substitute 2 cans chickpeas)
3 cups couscous
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. paprika
small pinch of saffron threads
2 onions, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2/3 cup golden raisins, soaked in warm water
24 pitted Kalamata olives
2 preserved lemons*, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt
black pepper

Time to prepare: 3 hours + overnight prep.

Difficulty: 4/10

Serves: 6-8

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1. Drain the chickpeas and rinse under cold water. Boil chickpeas vigorously in fresh water, about 10 minutes. Rinse again under cold water. Bring to a boil again in fresh water, and simmer, covered, for 90 minutes. Remove from heat and salt lightly. (You can skip this entire step if you use canned chickpeas, though the texture of homemade is preferable.)

2. In a large bowl, combine half of the olive oil with the sugar, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, paprika, and saffron. Add a teaspoon of salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Toss the chicken parts in spice mixture and set aside for 20 minutes.

3. Heat remaining olive oil in a large pan. Fry chicken parts in batches until well browned. Set aside.

4. Add the onions to the pan and stir constantly until golden. Stir in garlic, tomatoes, and one cup water, scraping the bottom of the pan to release browned bits.

5. Combine chicken, onions, garlic, and tomatoes in a large casserole. Add enough water to just cover, then bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour.

6. Drain the chickpeas and add to chicken with about 1 cup of water. Stir in raisins and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the olives and preserved lemons and simmer for 30 more minutes. Stir in cilantro, remove from heat, and serve over couscous.

*Preserved lemons: I never make these the real way, which takes weeks. Instead, prepare a bowl of heavily salted water. The water should be as salty as sea water, of perhaps even more. Add 1/2 tsp. sugar per lemon. Slice lemons in thin wheels and let soak for 24 hours.

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Braised Chicken with Wild Mushrooms March 25, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Braising, Chicken, Entree, Mushrooms, Recipe.
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6 large whole chicken legs
zest of one lemon
3 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
4 tbsp. butter (1/2 stick)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped (white and pale green parts only)
1 cup wild mushrooms1
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dry Sherry
1 qt. low sodium chicken broth

Put chicken pieces in a large bowl with lemon zest, thyme, and chopped parsley. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Remove chicken from refrigerator. Sprinkle with salt and freshly grated black pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes, until room temperature. Preheat oven to 325° F degrees.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skiller over medium-high heat. Add 3 chicken pieces, skin side down, and sear for five minutes. Turn chicken over, reduce heat to medium, and cook for another two minutes. Remove chicken and place it in a large broiling pan or pot. Repeat process for the other 3 pieces of chicken.

Spoon half the drippings from the skillet and discard. Add onion, leeks, mushrooms, and bay leaves to skillet. Saute over medium heat until onions are golden, about 7 minutes. Add wine and sherry. Increase skillet to high heat, and boil liquid until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add a handful of fresh parsley sprigs.

Pour vegetables and liquid over the chicken in the braising pot. Cover the pot with aluminum foil, and place the lid over the aluminum foil, to seal as tightly as possible. Cook at 325° F until chicken is very tender, about 90 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 400° F. Add 1 millimeter of chicken liquid to a large flat baking dish. Transfer chicken pieces skin side up. Strain mushroom and vegetable solids from chicken liquid, surrounding the chicken legs with them in baking dish. Roast in oven until brown, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer remaining chicken liquid into a medium saucepan. Boil liquid gently to reduce, about 15 minutes or until thickened slightly. Optionally add 1 or 2 tbsp. butter if it looks like it needs more essence. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve whole chicken legs with reduced juices spooned over, accompanied by browned mushrooms and vegetables.

Time to Prepare: 4 hours marinating + 3 hours total cooking time (90 minutes baking).

Level of Difficulty: 6/10

Serves: 4 to 6

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1 Any type of wild mushrooms can be used, dried or fresh. Morels are nice, as are Yellow Foot Chanterelles. It is best to use whole mushrooms, so don’t use anything too large.

This dish is more work than I would ever commit to on a weekday. But as a special-occasion chicken it’s a winner.

The browning at the beginning is crucial. I have skipped the marinating step without disastrous results, but it’s really better if you can commit to it.

Silkie (“Black-skinned”) Chicken January 17, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Article, Chicken, Cooking, Link, N.Y. Times, Photo.
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Silkie Chicken Dish (Tony Cenicola/The New York Times - Used without permission.)

New York Times has an article about Asian cuisines, silkie chicken, and how they are beginning to capture the attention of the NYC restaurant scene. (This is bad news for the silkie if this becomes a serious trend.)

Sounds intriguing, assuming the gamey-ness isn’t overpowering, as gamey fowl can sometimes be. One of the techniques mentioned uses Chinese five-spice ingredients to braise, adding both galanga and Coke(!) to the mix.