Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category


Monday, September 3rd, 2007

(to serve with Roast Turkey or Pork Chops and cress)

        Quite a long time ago chestnut purée became a given on our Thanksgiving turkey-and-trimmings menu.  Earlier than that, back in my Orléans days, it accompanied wild boar or venison when several culinarily deprived GIs trooped to the stately salle of the Hôtel Ste-Catherine for a festive meal.

        Another delicious escape from Headquarters Co. 7805 was dinner at a little upstairs place called Au Père Jean where course 2 out of 5 was always escargots and the gastronomic needle tended to get stuck in a groove at this point as we ordered seconds of the good father’s amply-garlicked snails.


Put 12 to 20 chestnuts in a pot with cold water up to 1 inch above them, bring the water to a boil and simmer the chestnuts exactly 30 minutes. Keep the chestnuts covered in the water as you remove them one at a time, cutting each nut in two and pushing the inside out.

Now put all the peeled nuts in a pot with water to cover and boil them until they’re very soft, about 30 minutes. Purée the nuts in a blender or food processor a little at a time, along with some cooking liquid, until they’re the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Finally, add butter to taste (don’t stint if you want a silky texture) and reheat the purée in a double boiler.

ALTERNATIVE:   Serve your turkey or pork with Gigi’s Sweet Potato Croquettes.


Monday, September 3rd, 2007

And as I was waiting for a light in a publisher’s eye I invented . . .


While vigorously browning chicken pieces in a skillet to your left, in another to your right sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil 1 sweet red pepper cut in fat juliennes and 2 or 3 roughly chopped scallions, adding after a couple of minutes 2/3 of a 28 oz. can of tomatoes, 1 large pressed garlic clove, a splash of sherry, a tiny dusting of cumin, a pinch of sugar, 2 tablespoons of pine nuts and boutique pitted olives to taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

When the chicken is brown, deglaze its skillet with a little lemon juice and simmer for something like 15 minutes, cover partly off, along with the tomatoes-peppers-etc., adding part way en route 1 chopped hard boiled egg.


Monday, September 3rd, 2007

        We offer here a crunchy mélange, a sort of camouflage-sur-plat inspired by an appetizer at Bruno’s, a big-boothed San Francisco restaurant with an Ike Age “continental” décor and a very un-50s cuisine fusing upscale French bistro and California East/West cooking: Bruno’s really should be called Benoit Mandarine . . . And having written this particular note in 1998 I must report that by 2000 James Ormsby that enfant terrible de cuisine had transferred his fusionizing to a restaurant called Red Herring where he was serving chicken salad with apples, pecans and (fanfare, please) sweet & tangy blackberries.  But is this more daring than oldtime duck and cherries?


In the center of rather large white or near-white plates place a pile of mixed boutique greenscilantro; tinned, briefly baked (on a cookie sheet) French fried onions; and halved dried apricots poached 10 minutes in a little water, drained and somewhat cooled. Around this pile apply a light dusting of Chinese Five Spice Powder (fennel, pepper, star anise, cinnamon and cloves) which, in hip San Francisco at least, is available in supermarkets as well as health food stores and Asian groceries.

Meanwhile in a fat-free skillet fry chicken legs-and-thighs coated with 1/4 teaspoon of Five Spice each, along with a few oblongs of bacon which will need to be taken out of your pan well before the chicken is cooked through.  Finally, deposit chicken and bacon atop each pile of greens-etc. and dress lightly with 3 parts olive oil to 1 of balsamic vinegar.