I had a friend over for dinner the other night, and we enjoyed an extremely satisfying meal.
The dinner consisted of:
– Chicken with Garlic and Herbs
– Green Beans and Zucchini with Salsa Verte
– Blend of Wild Rices
– Deep Dark Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream
There were three of us total, and we each made one dish. (The rice cooker made the fourth dish- a blend of wild rices from Berkeley Bowl.) These were great recipes that went well together.
The chicken recipe came from Nigel Slater’s cookbook, Appetite. It’s basically bone-in chicken parts cooked in a saucepan on the stove top with a wine sauce made from the leftover fat and cooked chicken bits. It’s simple to make and really good.
The Green Beans and Zucchini with Salsa Verte recipe came from the June 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. The vegetables were briefly steamed in a saucepan and tossed with the “Salsa Verte”- a puree of herbs like a pesto made of basil, parsley, green onion, capers, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic and olive oil.
Regarding dessert: I used to make brownies all the time, but finally got tired of my recipes. I was therefore enthusiastic to try a new recipe I found through Food Buzz on The Peche food blog. I guess it originally came from a cookbook called The Chocolate Bar. Which explains a lot, as these brownies are extremely rich. Freshly baked that night, they were almost like the liquid chocolate cake you often get at restaurants. Very yummy with some vanilla ice cream.
Here’s the chicken recipe:
Chicken with Garlic and Herbs
2 pieces chicken per person (I used thighs and drumsticks), with skin and bones
butter – a thick slice
garlic – 6 large, sweet cloves
herbs – a small bunch of fresh parsley, plus thyme (or tarragon or chervil)
wine – a large glass white wine or dry vermouth
Rub the chicken all over with a little oil and some black pepper. In a large pan- it can be high-sided or shalllow but it must have a lid- warm enough olive oil to give a small puddle in the bottom, then add the butter. once the butter starts to froth, put in the chicken pieces and keep the heat moderately high while they colour. A pale and relatively even gold is what you are after.
Meanwhile, put the whole unpeeled garlic cloves on a board and, with the flat blade of a knife, squash them so that they flatten but remain fairly intat. Throw them in with the chicken. Turn down the heat so that the fat under the chicken is gently fizzing, then add a little sea salt, cover the pan with a lid and leave to cook over a low to moderate heat. The time it takes to cook will depend on the thickness of your chicken joins, but you should expect them to need about forty minutes. You will have to turn them during cooking so that they colour on all sides.
While this is happening, pluck the leaves from the herbs and chop them roughly. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish or warm plates, then fish out the garlic (although the garlic has done its work, it may be tender and sweet and is worth adding to the plate, though the skin should be discarded at some point).
Tip off most of the fat from the pan – what you are after is the golden, caramelised juice stuck to the bottom – then turn up the heat, pour in the wine and add the herbs and let it bubble. Scrape away at any stuck bits in the pan, encouraging them to dissolve into the wine with a wooden spoon. Let this all bubble away for a minute or two until you have a thin liquor. It should be pale and interesting. Now taste the juice for seasoning – it may need salt, pepper or a squeeze of lemon juice – and spoon it over the chicken. (Add an extra pat of butter at the end when making the sauce if desired.)
Green Beans and Zucchini with Salsa Verte Recipe.
Super Dark, Chocolatey Brownies Recipe.
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin from Nigel Slater’s book, Appetite.