Posts Tagged ‘stew’

Flying high with one of Spain’s top chefs

We give Iberia Airlines credit for hiring superchef Sergi Arola to create the menus for its business class customers. Arola has been one of our favorite Spanish chefs since we met him shortly after he opened his first restaurant in the Hotel Michelangelo in Madrid. His great flair with food was matched only by his deep sense of hospitality.

For those of us in coach seats, the airline tortures us every month with an Arola recipe in the inflight magazine, Ronda Iberia. This chicken stew is a great example of a dish that can be reheated and served at 35,000 feet and will still taste good. Arola’s unexpected touch is the addition of a vanilla bean. We’ve adapted it for home use and added an optional roux for diners who like the liquid of a stew to enrobe the solids. And when we eat it, we stretch our legs out at the dining table and allow unlimited refills on the wine—just like business class.

CHICKEN STEWED WITH PRUNES, DRIED APRICOTS AND VANILLA

Sergi Arola’s note on this recipe reminds cooks that stews—and especially this one, because it has dried fruits—improve by being left a few hours before reheating and serving. We like to serve it with a mixture of rice and Puy lentils.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 lb. pearl onions
1 scallion
1 medium carrot
1 clove garlic
2/3 cup red wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Vanilla bean
12 dried apricots
8 large prunes
4 cups chicken stock

Optional roux
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour blended with 2 teaspoons olive oil

Directions

Cut thighs into 3/4-inch squares and season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Heat olive oil in 10-inch diameter deep skillet and quickly fry chicken. Drain in paper towels and reserve.

If using fresh pearl onions, boil in salted water for 4 minutes, peel and put to one side. If using frozen onions, measure and have on reserve.

Peel the scallion, carrot, and garlic, and cut into a fine julienne. Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of olive oil from skillet. (Reserve excess oil for future cooking.) Add vegetables to skillet and cook over a low flame until the vegetables are soft but not browned.

Heat wine in a saucepan until it reduces to one-quarter of its volume. Set aside.

Once the vegetables are soft, add the heated red wine and soy sauce. Bring to boil, add the chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Pass the sauce through a fine strainer and return to skillet.

Add the vanilla (opened lengthwise), the dried apricots, the prunes, the pearl onions, and finally the squares of chicken thigh. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

Add salt to taste, remove the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds with a sharp pointed knife. Return seeds to stew and discard pod.

If you prefer a thick rather than a thin sauce, thicken by whisking in optional roux and heating until sauce coats the chicken and fruit.

20

03 2011

A Cayman Islands version of a pepper pot

Chef Dean Max

As we were pondering how else to use our beautiful Cayman peppers, we were reminded that chef Dean Max is also a big fan. We met him last winter at an “Island Organic” presentation at the Cayman Cookout on Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island. When Max isn’t presiding over the kitchens of his Miami seafood empire, he’s often on Grand Cayman kicking back at the Brasserie, the restaurant he owns with King and Lisa Flowers.

For him, one of the pleasures of cooking in the Caribbean is drawing inspiration from local cooks. “I always take the traditional thinking,” he said. “We use their technique, but then we add things. Take chicken pepper pot soup. You’re making this beautiful chicken soup…and then you use the incredible peppers you get here.”

Like so many dishes, there are as many versions of chicken pepper pot soup as there are cooks. In most parts of the Caribbean, though, it can be a pretty spicy pot. We didn’t have chef Dean’s recipe, but we took his advice to adapt the dish to what we had. We played around with several chicken hot pots before we settled on this one. It has enough heat to earn its name, but not so much that it overwhelms the fruity taste of the Cayman peppers.

CHICKEN PEPPER POT SOUP

Ingredients

1/4 lb. bacon, diced
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut in 1/2 inch dice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, quartered lengthwise, half thin sliced, half diced
15 Cayman peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 small moderately hot peppers (Numex 6 or similar), seeded and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or marjoram
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2-4 drops Scotch bonnet hot sauce
7 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
5 oz. fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Directions

1. In large stock pot, fry bacon over medium heat. When browned, remove bacon to paper towels.

2. Add chicken pieces to fat and sauté until lightly browned. Add onions and continue cooking until onions begin to soften.

3. Return bacon to pot with sweet potato, Cayman peppers, red bell pepper, Numex chiles, garlic, spices and chicken stock. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

4. Add spinach and coconut milk. Simmer another 15 minutes.

19

09 2010

Making patatas a la Riojana at home

We don’t feel too bad messing around a little with tradition to make this dish with New England provender. This rich stew hails from the Ebro River valley in La Rioja, but until Napoleon brought potatoes to northern Spain in the early 19th century, this dish was made with chestnuts!

Of course, nowadays the local potato varieties of the Ebro valley are highly prized—considered by many the tastiest potatoes in Spain. In fact, the Riojanos tend to keep them for themselves. Not only do they have the rich potato flavor of say, a Kennebec, they also keep their shape like a waxy potato while containing enough starch to thicken a broth. We discovered that a mix of waxy potatoes (Red Bliss are the easiest to find) with some starchy potatoes like russets both thickens the stew and provides some toothy pieces of potato.

The Riojanos also have a special way of cutting their potatoes to maximize the exposure of starch to the broth. Hold the scrubbed, unpeeled potato and insert a sharp small knife at a 45 degree angle to the surface. Dig in about an inch, then twist the potato to make a conical cut. Snap out the piece, and continue until the whole potato is cut into irregular, roughly conical pieces. (It’s actually a quick way to cut up potatoes with a small knife.)

Spanish chorizo is usually available in U.S. grocery stores that cater to a Latin American clientele. Other types of chorizo are less spicy; if substituting, double the garlic and add an additional teaspoon of paprika.

This version of the dish is adapted from chef Raúl Pérez Marín of Restaurante Sopitas in Arnedo, southeast of Logroño, the capital of La Rioja.

Patatas a la Riojana

Ingredients

1 ancho chile pepper, stemmed and seeded and torn into pieces
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/4 lb. (two large) russet potatoes
1 1/2 lb. Red Bliss or other waxy potatoes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled, cut into quarters and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and roasted to remove skin, cut into 1-inch pieces
3-4 large cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1 large fresh tomato, cored and skinned, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
8 oz. Spanish chorizo, cut in 1/2-inch slices
1 cup dry wine (white or red)
3 cups chicken or beef stock
coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste
chopped parsley to garnish

Directions

1. Soak dried chile pieces in boiling water for a half hour. Puree in blender or food processor. Set aside.

2. Cut up potatoes. Peel russets and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. (They will almost disappear and provide the thickening.) Scrub the waxy potatoes and cut into irregular, more or less conical shapes about 1 inch on widest dimension. Set potatoes aside.

3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in 4-5 quart Dutch oven or other large pot. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until onion is soft. Add garlic, tomatoes, and bay leaf and sauté until most liquid has evaporated. Stir in thyme and paprika and cook another 30 seconds.

4. Add chorizo and raise heat to lightly brown the meat. Add the pureed pepper.

5. Stir in potatoes and add wine. Bring to boil and cook 3 minutes to burn off alcohol. Stir in broth and raise to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.

6. Remove about a cup of potatoes from the stew and mash with a little liquid. Stir back in and cook another 5 minutes.

7. Serve in shallow bowls with a little chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

05

03 2010

Warming up with green chile chicken stew

Green chile chicken stew

Green chile chicken stew

El Pinto Restaurant (10500 4th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM, 505-898-1771, www.elpinto.com) may seat up to 1,000 people at a time, yet the quality of the handmade New Mexican food belies the size. Maybe that’s because it is a family restaurant run by the grandsons of Josephina Chavez-Griggs. Her daughter Katy opened La Posta de la Mesilla in 1939, and Katy’s nephews Jim and John Thomas Meek (“the salsa twins”) operate El Pinto. Many of their recipes, though, go back to Josephina. When I was there recently on a cold November night, the green chile chicken stew lifted both the chill and my mood. It’s a perfect winter warmer and simple to make at home once you have the green chile sauce (see the recipes page or the post of November 19). Here’s the recipe adapted from El Pinto:

Green chile chicken stew

Ingredients

1 tablespoon corn or canola oil
1/4 cup all-purpose white flour
1 quart homemade chicken stock
1 lb. boneless chicken thighs cut in 1/2″ pieces
3 cups (about 4 medium) red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 1/2″ cubes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 recipe green chile sauce (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups whole kernel corn (fresh or frozen)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Heat oil in 1 gallon or larger Dutch oven. Blend in flour and make into a roux, heating and stirring until golden brown.

Whisk in chicken stock to make smooth sauce.

Add chicken. potatoes, garlic, and chile sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer about 45 minutes until potatoes are tender and chicken is very tender.

Add corn and bring back to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with warm tortillas.

Serves 12.

21

11 2009