Chicken Cooked Under a Brick (al Mattone) with Pomegranate & Herbs

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 4

I love this way of cooking chicken. The weight of the brick seems to compress the mat and gives it a firm texture. Since it cooks quicker this way, it comes out very moist and tender with an exceptionally crispy skin (my favorite part!)

  • 2 each Whole Chicken, 2 ½ pounds each)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon thyme, fresh, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon oregano, fresh, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sage, fresh chopped
  • to taste salt & black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Syrah-Pomegranate Glaze

Directions

  1. Cut chickens in half. Remove the backbone and the breast bones, Leaving only the leg bone and the 1st joint of the wing. To make it easier, you can leave the small breast bones, but it is easier to eat with these bones removed.
  2. Combine olive oil and herbs. Then coat chicken halves with the olive oil marinade. Let rest for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight. Just before you are ready to cook the chicken, sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper.
  3. Place a cast-iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pan over medium heat with canola oil. Place chicken skin-side down in the pan.
  4. Wrap a brick in foil and place it on top of the chicken to act as a weight. You will need at least 2 or three bricks.
  5. Cook this way for approximately 8-12 minutes. When the skin is very crisp and golden brown, remove the bricks, turn over the chicken and cook it for just 3-5 minutes on the opposite side to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. If needed, just before serving, flip the chicken one more time to re-crisp the skin. Serve with a Pinot Noir Cranberry Sauce or Pomegranate Glaze.

Coq au Vin

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 8

  • 2 each Frying Chickens, 3 1/2 pounds, each cut into 8 pieces
  • 32 each Pearl Onions, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1.5oz(vol) Water
  • 1 Tablespoon   Canola Oil
  • 1 teaspoon   Butter
  • 1/4 pound   Bacon, sliced, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 each  Red Onion medium, diced
  • 3 each  Carrots, medium size, peeled, sliced thinly
  • 4 each  Celery stalks, peeled, sliced medium
  • 4 each  Bay Leaves
  • 1 teaspoon  Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon  Rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon   Oregano
  • 1 1/2 pound  Button Mushrooms, quartered
  • to taste  Salt & Pepper
  • 3 cups  Pinot Noir
  • 2 cups   Beef Broth
  • 2 cups   Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tablespoon   Cornstarch
  • 1/2 pound  Bacon, sliced, baked crisp in the oven, & broken into pieces

Directions

  1. Place pearl onions in a small sauce pot with sugar & water, boil slowly
  2. until tender. Allow liquid to evaporate and continue to cook on medium heat until the sugar turns golden and coats the onions. Remove from pan and save for later.
  3. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place a shallow heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add oil. Allow it to heat until you see ripples on the surface when you swirl the pan. Add butter, swirl the pan once and place each piece of chicken skin side down. Cook until golden brown (5 min). Flip the chicken, lower heat to medium and cook on the other side for 3 minutes. Remove from pan and save for later.
  4. Add bacon. Cook until crisp & brown (5 min). Add red onions, cover and cook until the onions are soft (5 min). Add celery, carrots, and herbs. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Add mushrooms and increase heat to high. Cook until the vegetable mixture is dry. Add Pinot to vegetables. Boil until it has been reduced to half. Add beef and chicken broths. Bring to a boil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add chicken pieces and return to a simmer. Cover and place in 325
  5. degree oven for 45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove from oven, remove the lid and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and place into a glass dish. Turn oven off and place covered chicken in oven to remain warm. Remove as much fat as you can from the top of the cooking liquid. Reduce it to half. Add salt & pepper as needed.
  6. Mix cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of pinot noir and stir to make a smooth slurry. Add it slowly to the simmering sauce, add just enough to thicken so it coats a spoon. Simmer for 5 minutes. Pour over chicken, garnish with the rest of the bacon (warm and crisp) and pearl onions. Serve and enjoy!!!

Chicken Cacciatore

Category: Entrees Comment
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, xv
  • 2 each yellow onions, sliced
  • 3 each red bell peppers, sliced thin
  • 3 each green bell peppers, sliced thin
  • 12 each whole garlic cloves, sliced
  • 8 each portabello mushrooms, medium size, sliced
  • 2 cups red wine (Sangiovese)
  • 4 cups roasted chicken stock (OG @ 2.5 oz base/40oz water))
  • Italian parsley
  • Basil, fresh
  • Rosemary, fresh
  • Thyme, fresh
  • 1/3 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 2 quarts tomato fondue
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes in juice, canned
  • 2 Tablespoons capers
  • 4 each bay leaves
  • to taste sea salt

Directions

  1. Put garlic in olive oil.
  2. Add onions and cook until translucent.
  3. Add peppers and sweat until soft.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their moisture.
  5. Add wine and reduce until almost dry.
  6. Add tomatoes, stock, herbs, spices, capers and simmer for at least 1 hour. Reduce to desired thickness and flavor.
  7. Disjoint whole chicken. Reserve breast (remove all bones except 1st joint of the wing) and thigh (leave single bone in). remove skin from both.
  8. Season with S&P, dust with flour and sautée in a small amount of cooking oil until golden. Turn chicken, add sauce, cover and bake in oven until chicken is done. Place chicken on plate and top with sauce.

Gougeres

Category: Accompaniments Comment

Yield: 1.8 pounds (70 gougeres)

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 1/2 ounce butter, unsalted, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ounces (wt) all-purpose flour (1 1/4 cups)
  • 4 – 5 each eggs, large
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated (1/4 pound)
  • 1/4 cup gruyere cheese, grated (1 ounce by weight)

Directions

  1. place water, salt & butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, add all the fpour at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. It should “pull away” cleanly from the sides of the pot.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and stir until smooth after each addition. After adding the first 4 eggs, check the consistency of the batter. When the spoon is removed, the batter should peak and then fall back. If not, add the add’l egg white and check again. If needed, add the yolk.
  3. Add the larger amount of gruyere to the batter and mix thoroughly.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Pipe or spoon batter on to a non-stick baking pan or a baking pan lined with either a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  6. Place in oven for 8 minutes until the puffs have tripled in size. Then, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for another 30-40 minutes, until the insides are dry and hollow and the outside is a light golden brown. Do not open the oven during baking!!
  7. Optional: add nutmeg and pepper.

Figs Marinated in a Merlot Syrup with Gorgonzola and Tapenade

Category: Accompaniments Comment

Yield: enough for 8 – 10 guests

Figs season is relatively short. This is a great way to enjoy fresh figs during and after the season. The sweetness of the fig, the sharpness of the cheese and the saltiness of the tapenade compliment each other and the wine.

Since there are so many good commercial tapenades on the market, if you prefer, find one you like and purchase rather than make it yourself.

Set this up as a platter so your guests can put it together themselves. Serve it with thick slices of great hearty artisan bread and a good bottle of fruity extra virgin olive oil.

  • ¾ pound gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 ea bottle of good extra virgin olive oil
  • 24 each merlot marinated figs
  • 8 ounces black olive tapenade
  • 2 each loaves of great hearty artisan breads (pumpkin seed, or other flavor), thick slices

Figs Marinated in a Merlot Syrup

Yield: 24 figs

  • 1 bottle Merlot
  • 1 each cinnamon  stick
  • 1 each vanilla  bean (cut length wise)
  • 1 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 24 each Mission figs, fresh

Place Merlot, cinnamon, vanilla bean and sugar in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer over medium to low heat until 50% reduced (approximately 25 minutes).  Tightly pack the figs in a jar (or two) and pour in hot syrup to cover completely. Let sit until cooled and then cover. Allow to marinate for at least two days before using.

Fig and Olive Tapenade

Category: Accompaniments Comment

Yields: 2 cups

Here is a very versatile accompaniment that can stand on it’s own or can be part of a more involved dish. Since it will last for weeks, it is worthwhile making more than you need and holding the rest in the refrigerator for other uses.

You can adjust the amount of anchovy to suit your tastes and then increase the salt or capers to add the salt needed for the final taste of the dish.

I will often use this sweet and salty tapenade as part of an hors d’oeuvre: either placed on a speak of Belgian endive and topped with crumbled goat or bleu cheese. Or served on a cracker. It makes a great spread for your favorite roast beef or turkey sandwich. It goes just as well with warm meat dishes.

  • 2 Tablespoons  Anchovy Fillets, chopped fine
  • 1 cup Dried Mission figs, chopped fine
  • 1 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped fine
  • 3 Tablespoons Capers, rinsed and chopped finely
  • 1/2 each zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 each juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • to taste salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper at the end. Since you have salty anchovies and salty olives, be careful the amount of salt you add.
  2. This recipe can be done completely in the food processor although I prefer the clean cut of a hand chop.

Corn & Leek Pudding with Chili Peppers

Category: Accompaniments Comment

Serves 6-8

  • 4 cups corn kernels (cut from fresh ears of sweet yellow or white corn)
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, warm

Cut whole corn kernels off the cobb until you have 4 cups of corn (6-8 ears). Set aside the corn and scrape the cobs with the back of a knife to get the “corn milk”. Add the corn milk to the warm milk.

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour, all purpose
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a medium sauce pan, Add flour, sugar and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes. Place mixture into a mixing bowl, add milk to butter & flour mixture a little at a time, stirring to make sure it is smooth, until all the milk is added. If needed, use a whisk.

  • 3 each eggs, large, beaten
  • Add the beaten eggs to the milk mixture.
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, fresh, chopped
  • 3 each small red chili peppers, thinly sliced, seeds removed

Directions

  1. Place butter, leeks, chilis and thyme in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until the leeks and chilis are soft. Remove cover, add corn kernels. Stir, cover again and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the cooked vegetable mixture to the milk mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and white pepper.
  2. Lightly coat the inside of an 8-10” cast iron skillet with non-stick spray. Pour mixture into the skillet.
  3. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until it is lightly puffed in the center and no longer liquidy. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
  4. This dish can be made earlier in the day or the day before and re-heated.

Cashew-Mint Chutney

Category: Accompaniments Comment

Makes 2 cups

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup cashews, roasted, unsalted, chopped medium
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon mint leaves, chopped

Combine all ingredients.

Black Olive Tapenade

Category: Accompaniments Comment

Yields: 2 cups

Here is a very versatile accompaniment that can stand on it’s own or can be part of a more involved dish. Since it will last for weeks, it is worthwhile making more than you need and holding the rest in the refrigerator for other uses.

You can adjust the amount of anchovy to suit your tastes and then increase the salt or capers to add the salt needed for the final taste of the dish.

I will often use this tapenade as part of an hors d’oeuvre: served on a crostini or cracker and topped with crumbled goat or bleu cheese. It makes a great spread for your favorite roast beef or turkey sandwich. It goes very well on Grilled Salmon

  • 2 Tablespoons  Anchovy Fillets, chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 cups  Kalamata Olives, chopped fine
  • 3 Tablespoons  Capers, rinsed and chopped finely
  • 1/2 each  zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 3 cloves  garlic, peeled cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon  Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup   Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon  Freshly ground black pepper
  • to taste   sea salt (if needed)

Directions

Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper at the end. Since you have salty anchovies and salty olives, be careful the amount of salt you add.

This recipe can be done completely in the food processor although I prefer the clean cut of a hand chop. If you decide to use a food processor, blend all ingredients except the olive oil until they are finely chopped. Then, with the food processor running, add the olive oil slowly to the chopped mixture until is has all been absorbed.

Beef Florentine

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 6pp

  • 2.5 lb. Niman Ranch tri tip, trimmed to 1/4” fat on the outside
  • 1 oz. chopped rosemary
  • 1 oz. chopped garlic
  • 4 oz. extra virgin olive oil
  • Mix all ingredients and marinate the tri tip overnight.

Balsamic Glaze

  • 1 qt. Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 oz. shallots, chopped
  • 4 oz. honey
  • 1 small sprig rosemary
  • 1 pt. Zinfandel wine
  • Combine all the ingredients and reduce down to 6 oz.
  • 2 lb.spinach, washed and stems removed
  • 4 oz. arugula, washed, stems remvoed
  • 1 oz. shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 oz. olive oil
  • 3 oz aged parmesan

Directions

Cook the beef on a grill, medium rare or to your preferred doneness. Hold for a few minutes to allow the juices to settle and become re-absorbed by the meat.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and cook shallots over medium heat in a covered sauté pan until translucent.  Add the spinach and arugula and toss over high heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to plate.

Slice the beef and place atop the spinach-arugula mixture. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with shaved aged parmesan. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.