This colorful Moroccan stew offers deep spices, but stays light and bright with tart citrus, briny green olives and fresh cilantro. For the most authentic presentation, serve it in a tagine, atop a bed of couscous.
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
2 Tablespoons warm water
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
6 Tablespoons olive oil
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 1/2 cups cracked green olives
2 preserved lemons, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth
In a small bowl, soak the saffron in the warm water for 10 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the onions, the 1/2 cup cilantro, 1/2 cup parsley and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Add the cumin, ginger, turmeric, the saffron and its soaking liquid and the salt. Process to a pulpy puree. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the garlic and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the chicken thighs, seal the bag and massage to coat the chicken with the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
Put the olives in a large, heavy fry pan and add water to cover. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, then simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the olives and set aside. Thoroughly dry the pan.
In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the lemon slices and sear until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off the excess and reserving the marinade. Working in batches, sear the chicken, skin side down, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to another plate.
Pour the broth into the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Stir in the reserved marinade and add the chicken and any juices. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 40 minutes.
Add the olives, the reserved lemon slices and the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice to the pan with the chicken. Cover and simmer until the chicken is falling-off-the-bone tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Garnish the stew with chopped cilantro and parsley and serve immediately.
According to my Grand, “The secret to a great gumbo is that it takes as long as it takes—It’s time that makes it good.”
And just in time, here is a chicken gumbo recipe you can prepare for Mardi Gras!
The real star of this dish is the Sauternes wine used to braise the chicken in this classic gumbo dish. I used a 2011 Le Tertre du Bosquest Sauternes for this recipe. This barrel-aged Sauternes features a beautiful, brilliant, golden-yellow color and an attractively fresh bouquet with delightful hints of vanilla, peach, citrus fruit, and honey. Smooth and powerful on the palate, this delicious Sauternes has mandarin orange and quince flavors, and a slightly botrytised aftertaste. When using a good quality Sauternes, what you will get is a get a rich, balanced liquid for the gumbo, and plenty of tender poached chicken meat.
If you cannot find a good quality Sauternes in your neck of woods, your favorite white zinfandel or a riesling are excellent substitutes.
One 3 pound chicken, cut up into 8 pieces.
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
3 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 Tablespoons Lea & Perrin Worcestershire sauce
1 1⁄2 pounds andouille sausage (or smoked sausage or kielbasa)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups water
4 cups Sauternes wine (or a white zinfandel or a riesling)
1 1⁄2 teaspoon filé powder
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Cooked white rice, for serving
Season chicken lightly with salt and black pepper, cover and set aside in the refrigerator. For best results, let the chicken stand over night to get seasoned. Slice the sausage into 1/4 to 1/2-inch rounds; cover and set aside.
To make the roux, heat oil in a Dutch oven that is very clean over high heat until the the oil should begins to shimmer – and gradually begin to stir in flour, using a long-handled wooden spoon. The roux will take about 3 to 4 minutes to cook and must be stirred constantly so that it does not burn. If you see black specks in the roux, it has burned and you must start over again.
As you make the roux, it will change in color from cream to blonde, from tan to brown and then to dark chocolate red-brown. Remove from heat. Stir in the garlic, onions, green peppers, celery and Worcestershire sauce, stirring constantly until roux stops getting darker. Bring to stove once more, and cook over low heat about five to seven minutes, stirring constantly until the onions are transparent.
In a another large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil remove from the heat and add to the roux in the Dutch oven, stirring to dissolve the roux thoroughly. Add the Sauterne wine. Add the cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Carefully add chicken and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook about 35 to 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken, and set aside to cool.
De-bone the chicken, and cut into bite-size pieces. Add sausage, to the Dutch oven, and simmer for another 35 to 45 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently. Taste, and adjust the seasoning with salt, as needed.
Stir in the chicken, and remove the gumbo from the heat. Skim the surface to remove the fat that the sausage renders during cooking.
For best results, cover and store the gumbo in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, remove the gumbo from the refrigerator and stir in the filé powder. Bring the gumbo to a boil and then reduce and simmer the stew for 25 to 30 minutes.
Garnish with parsley and serve over rice with French bread.
Laissez le bon temps rouler , ché!
Photo Credit: The 99 Cent Chef, 2011
Considered to be one of the finest white wines in the world, Sauternes is a French sweet wine from the Sauternes is region of the Graves section in Bordeaux.
As in most of France, viticulture is believed to have been introduced into Aquitania by the Romans. The earliest evidence of sweet wine production, however, dates only to the 17th century. While the English were Bordeaux’s main consumer since the Middle Ages, their primary tastes were for red claret. It was the Dutch traders of the 17th century who first developed an interest in white wine. For years they were active in the trade of German wines but production in Germany began to wane in the 17th century as the popularity of beer increased. The Dutch saw an opportunity for a new production source in Bordeaux and began investing in the planting of white grape varieties.
Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. Due to its climate, Sauternes is one of the few wine regions where infection with noble rot is a frequent occurrence. Even so, production is a hit-or-miss proposition, with widely varying harvests from vintage to vintage.
Wines from Sauternes, especially the Premier Cru Supérieur estate Château d’Yquem, can be very expensive, due largely to the very high cost of production. Barsac lies within Sauternes, and is entitled to use either name. Somewhat similar but less expensive and typically less-distinguished wines are produced in the neighboring regions of Monbazillac, Cérons, Loupiac and Cadillac.
In the United States, there is a semi-generic label for sweet white dessert wines known as sauterne without the “s” at the end and uncapitalized.
On the other hand, cooking wines like sauternes date to the days when wine wasn’t something the average home cook kept on hand in the pantry. Wines that we find on the supermarket shelves labeled “cooking wine” usually contained preservatives, particularly salt, to make them shelf-stable after opening.
Basically, the standard advice for cooking with wine is “never to cook with something you wouldn’t drink”. Think about it, since most of us would not want to drink salty wine, the old cooking wines are slowly disappearing.
But for people who do not commonly drink wine with meals, that leaves the problem of what to use in recipes that call for a small amount of wine. One handy solution is the miniature four-pack. Since a bottle is only 187ml, or about 3/4 cup, you will not waste much, and the packs usually cost $7 or less.
Since Sauternes is a sweeter wine, something like a white zinfandel or a riesling should be a good replacement, if you cannot find it at your local wine and liquor stores.
Mustard has the ability to make bland dishes more interesting and it can be used with all types of meats, poultry and seafood. Dishes prepared with Dijon mustard are usually called “à la dijonnaise” and there is a reason for that, but I am getting ahead of myself.
Mustard is an ancient spice — one of the world’s most popular seasonings. The Chinese have grown mustard for more than 3,000 years and the Egyptians popped the seeds into their mouths when eating meat. It was the Romans who brought the seeds to France, sprinkling them along the roads where the plants flourished.
At first, mustard was considered a medicinal plant rather than a culinary one. In the 6th century B.C., Greek scientist Pythagoras applied mustard to relieve scorpion stings. One hundred years later, Hippocrates used mustard in a variety of medicines.
Dijon is the capital of the Burgundy region in France and without a doubt, the mustard capital of the world. It was not until the 14th century that this condiment was officially called “mustard”. In 1382 the French Duke of Burgundy granted a coat of arms to the city of Dijon bearing the motto “Moult Me Tarde” -meaning “much awaits me”. And by this time, dijon gained its reputation as the home of the master mustard makers in Dijon mustard was considered the condiment of the kings. In 1777 the Dijon mustard firm was founded when Monsieur Grey developed a secret recipe for strong mustard made with white wine. When he formed a partnership with financier Monsieur Poupon — voilà! — Grey Poupon mustard was born! Today at 32 rue de la Liberté in Dijon, one can visit the Grey Poupon building.
The chicken drumstick is a favorite among home cooks, mainly because it’s juicy and easy to brown.You can also use chicken thighs, to make this delicious mustard flavored stew—thickened with tangy crème fraîche—so that all the meat cooks at the same rate.
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
4 medium chicken drumsticks
4 medium chicken thighs
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup finely shallots (or onions)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (or low sodium chicken broth)
1 Tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
Crusty bread, for serving
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the butter to the skillet. Season the chicken drumsticks and thighs with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the skillet by adding the wine (or broth) and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover and keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard with the crème fraîche and tarragon. Whisk the mixture into the skillet and simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Return the chicken to the sauce and warm over low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. To serve family style, place the drumsticks and thighs on a large platter and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with the fresh tarragon. Serve with a good crusty, rustic bread.
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