Our second visit to Seasons & Suppers is a shot at Jennifer’s pan-roasted chicken thighs. We’ve talked at length her about how I prefer chicken thighs to other cuts of the bird, and I think we have even touched on my family’s attachment to garlic as an element of cooking.
Naturally, this recipe’s call for 20 to 22 garlic cloves caught my eye. The last time I cooked with this large quantity of garlic was a stab at sopa de ajo, where 30 cloves were put into play. Co-workers complained that I was emitting a garlic scent during the day and that they could not sit near me. I wasn’t sweating, but my natural Jared scent had been poisoned by a high concentration of garlic. I didn’t notice it until the first time I had to use the restroom that day. It turns out that eating large quantities of garlic has the same impact on your excretory system as consuming asparagus. Continue reading Wednesday Dinner: Rustic Chicken In Garlic Gravy
Chicken thighs again.
I know. I could have reached out of the box and gone for something with a little more flair, but I try to build in one meal each week that does not take a lot of effort to assemble in case I get home later than normal. Today’s 2 p.m. conference call ran a little more than 90 minutes, which pushed back the rest of my afternoon. I left about a half-hour later than normal.
Thus, chicken thighs.
Continue reading Wednesday Dinner: Honey-Chili Chicken Thighs with Cilantro Cream
Chicken thighs are far superior to breast meat when you are roasting. I’ll let Albert Burneko from Deadspin explain:
You can get all the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs in the industrialized world for, like, 10 bucks; the great thing about these is that they taste better than all other things; the worst thing about them is that roughly 97% of their matter takes the form of fat, which will convert to liquid grease the instant they are exposed to any heat warmer than the inside of your refrigerator.
So, all of the extra fat that gets exuded from the chicken thigh makes it a self-basting meat when roasting. It’s pretty cool when you think about it. Plus, you really have to work hard at screwing up a roasted chicken thigh. Drying out a chicken breast in the oven happens more often than not.
But, chicken thighs on their own? That’s boring. What we need is a complementary vegetable. Something hearty. Something that stands up on its own. Something like…broccoli.
Continue reading Thursday Dinner: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Pureed Broccoli
Panzanella has become the new hot salad here at Al Dente HQ, making multiple appearances over the past couple of weeks. They are great fresh, perfect for a loaf of stale bread and bright red tomatoes. Personally, I like the second-day panzanella, with the bread soggy from an overnight soak in oil and vinegar. Wet bread isn’t the best texture, but when done right, it has a great flavor.
Asparagus panzanella, like signaling when changing lanes and being nice to my co-workers, is something that had not occurred to me before reading about it online. In the case of the salad, Daniel Gritzer’s version featured a spatchcooked whole chicken served with the salad. I opted for something a little narrower in focus, since I was just cooking for The Wife and I (panzanella does not really translate to a Celiac’s diet, not that she would try it if it were). I restricted myself to chicken thighs, since they roast quickly and with little fuss, and do not dry out easily. Continue reading Monday Dinner: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Asparagus Panzanella
On Thursday, I was driving home on Interstate 690 listening to The Dan LeBatard Show when it occurred to me that I didn’t have anything planned for dinner. As I got closer and closer to my house, I decided that Wegmans would be cooking dinner. After veering into the lane for Route 5 and Fairmount, which dumps right into the Wegmans parking lot, it occurred to me that I had chicken thighs and asparagus in the fridge, though with no real plan.
Instead of going straight at the off ramp, I made a right and headed home. Continue reading Thursday Dinner: Lemon Chicken Thighs and Asparagus
Dirty rice has been a personal favorite of mine since high school when I would devour bowls of it from the Dinosaur Bar-b-que. Back in the day, the Dinosaur was something really special. Enormous portions, a lot of smoke and heat, waitresses with bad attitudes, and an eclectic menu that with barbecue that spoke a Memphis dialect but featured a number of Bayou-inspired touches. Now…it’s still a restaurant I enjoy, but it’s not the same. I think the shine wore off when the waitresses were told to stop swearing at the customers. Anyhow, it’s still somewhere The Wife and I enjoy and take people to when they visit. But, it’s just not the same.
Where was I? Oh, right, dirty rice. So, the Dinosaur’s dirty rice would reach up and slap you with heat from the jalepeños and the rich rice that had been sauteed with okra, bell peppers, onion and garlic. The “dirty” comes from the brownish tinge that the rice grains take on from the browned garlic and onions. The rice binds right to this goodness and enhances the flavor. While I didn’t have okra on hand, I went with some cured andouille sausage for some extra flavor.
Dirty rice does not need to cook all that long. The rice toasts, steeps in broth, absorbs the liquid, and hits the table in less than 40 minutes with a lot of flavor. Continue reading Thursday Dinner: Dirty Rice
It’s not what I would call and “ordinary” chicken stew, nor would I call it chicken casserole, as authors Cathal Armstrong and David Hagedorn did in their book, My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve. The story behind the dish is that Armstrong was cooking a chicken casserole on his off-day from helming the kitchen at D.C.’s Restaurant Eve. He got a call that President Obama was headed in for dinner. So, he stopped what he was doing, ran into work and cooked. He has included this story and recipe, which he calls President Obama Stew, in the aforementioned book.
This was a great Saturday evening dinner: there are a lot of ingredients, the recipe goes slowly and every flavor complements one another. It’s quite a thing.
Continue reading Sunday Dinner: Chicken Stew
I didn’t know you could make a chicken bouillabaisse. My deteriorating knowledge of the French language had me convinced that “bouillabaisse” shared some meaning with seafood. I was wrong. Before I cooked this for dinner I poked around on the history of the fish stew to see if I was missing something. I got this from Wikipedia (and if it’s there, it must be true):
Bouillabaisse is a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille. The French and English form bouillabaisse comes from the Provençal Occitan word bolhabaissa, a compound that consists of the two verbs bolhir (to boil) and abaissar (to reduce heat, i.e., simmer).
So, it turns out bouillabaisse is a lot like lasagna. You can do pretty much whatever you want with it, as long as it includes noodles and cheese, but an authentic bouillabaisse has fish and an authentic lasagna has ricotta and tomato sauce.
Fair enough. Continue reading Wednesday Dinner: Easy One-Pot Chicken Bouillabaisse