Chicken in our pot, to hail the eve of the eve of the new year.
Wonder of wonders, we were still able to include fresh local tomatoes in the celebration (and they were not to be the last).
- four fresh 6-ounce thighs of their Cornish Cross breed from Cascun Farms, purchased at Eataly Flatiron, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, browned well in two tablespoons or so of butter inside a medium size oval enameled high-sided cast iron pot, then covered with aluminum foil (it needn’t be a tight seal) and cooked over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature was 155-165 degrees, or until the juices ran clear when pricked with a fork, which turned out to be roughly 12 minutes, then transferred to a small oval platter, ideally warm, and covered with the foil again to keep warm while the sauce was completed, beginning with one shallot [from Norwich Meadows Farm and 2 small aji dulce seasoning peppers from Eckerton Hill Farm stirred into the pan and allowed to soften a little before about a third of a cup of good chicken stock was added, the heat raised to medium high, the liquid boiled and reduced quite a bit, or until it was the desired consistency of a sauce, when a generous amount of chopped winter savory from Stokes Farm was added and stirred in, the ‘gravy’ transferred to a glass sauce boat, from which some of it was poured over the chicken, which had been just been arranged onto warm plates
- ten or 12 twelve ounces of la Ratte potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, scrubbed, halved lengthwise, tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, a pinch or two of crushed dried habanada pepper, arranged on a large well-seasoned unglazed ceramic Pampered Chef oven pan, roasted in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 400º, removed, arranged on the plates and garnished with chopped parsley from Phillips Farms
- two heirloom tomatoes from Eckerton Hill Farm halved through the middle, the cut sides sprinkled with salt, pepper, and chopped fresh marjoram leaves from Willow Wisp Farm, drizzled with a little olive oil, placed cut side up on a hot enameled grill pan which had been brushed with a little oil, grilled for 3 or 4 minutes, turned over and the cut side grilled for another minute, or a minute and a half, arranged on the plates and sprinkled with additional marjoram and a drop or two more of olive oil
- the wine was a California (Russian River) red, DRG Daryl Groom Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2018, from Naked Wines
- the music was more of the 2019 WKCR-FM Bachfestival, streaming
“A Chicken for Every Pot”
Hoover never said any such thing, although his enthusiastic supporters did include the phrase in in a 1928 campaign advertisement boasting that Republican prosperity had:
‘”..put the proverbial ‘chicken in every pot.’ And a car in every backyard, to boot.”
The Republican prosperity is history, but the attraction of chicken continues to this day, as does that of the car.
For what it’s worth, the chicken part of the phrase probably has its origins in seventeenth century France; Henry IV (le bon roi Henri) reputedly wished that each of his peasants would enjoy “a chicken in his pot every Sunday.” [encyclopedia.com]
While Barry and I don’t yearn for a car in our backyard (we live in the middle of Manhattan, so we don’t have to test our commitment to a small carbon footprint, and our backyard is a garden), but we do find a chicken, or parts of a chicken, in an occasional pot, and the occasion isn’t just a Sunday these days.
- two fresh 8-ounce New York State chicken thighs from Cascun Farms, purchased at Eataly Flatiron (in a preparation partly inspired by Mark Bittman) seasoned on both sides with a local P.E. & D.D. Seafood sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, browned well in two tablespoons or so of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ inside a medium size oval enameled high-sided cast iron pot, then covered with aluminum foil (it needn’t be a tight seal), then cooked over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature was 155-165 degrees, or the juices ran clear when pricked with a fork, which was roughly 15 minutes, transferred to a small oval platter and covered with the foil to keep warm, ideally the platter, or at least the plates, kept inside a warm oven while the sauce was completed, beginning with one shallot from Norwich Meadows Farm, 3 small seasoning peppers, one aji dulce (red) and 2 small Granada (yellow, with the flavor of a habanero, but a fraction of the heat), both from Eckerton Hill Farm were stirred in and allowed to soften a little before about a third of a cup of white wine [Matt Iaconis Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017] was added to the pot, the heat raised to medium high and the liquid boiled until reduced quite a bit, or until it was a of the consistency of a sauce, a generous amount of chopped winter savory from Stokes Farm added and stirred in, the sauce transferred to a glass sauce boat, from which some of it was poured over the chicken, which had now arranged on plates
- the remaining greens from a ‘braising mix’ (young Brassicaceae: kale, collards, mustards, escarole, and dandelion) purchased from Keith’s Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket, mixed together with the leaves left from a bunch of broccoli raab from Lani’s Farm, barely wilted in a little olive oil in which several small rocambole garlic cloves, also from Keith’sFarm, had been heated until fragrant and beginning to soften, seasoned with sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper
- slices from a small sunflower and flax seed sourdough peasant baguette from Hawthorne Valley Farm
- the wine was a Portuguese (Dão), Niepoort Rotulo Tinto, Dão 2016, from Astor Wines
- the music was Beethoven’s ‘Musik zu Carl Meisls Gelegenheitsfestspiel’, Claudio Abbado conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Berlin Radio Chorus
[the image of the Republican political flier is from IowaCulture.gov]
I couldn’t get to Union Square on Wednesday because I had to stay home waiting for the plumbers (a double indignity).
Once I was free (and hundreds of dollars lighter), it was too late to expect to find anything at the Greenmarket fish stall, so I headed down the street toward Eataly Flatiron. Once there I checked around and texted Barry, asking for his preference among 4 of my suggestions, “Luca Donofrio’s fresh ravioli di zucca, a small New York strip steak, chicken thighs, or a duck breast. He didn’t reply immediately, but just as I had narrowed down my own preferences and had come up with chicken, I saw on my phone screen that he had suggested the same.
Chicken it was, and very good chicken, and it turned out to be a happy choice, as it always is.
The preparation was inspired by a great, and quite simple Marc Bitttman recipe, very open to adjustments and elaboration.
And yes, I can now confirm that you can successfully substitute a rosé for a white as a cooking wine.
I mostly succeeded in restraining myself from going overboard with the ingredients this time, but I couldn’t resist including one tiny, mostly heatless red chili pepper and one extremely small very hot ur-pepper in the mix that produced the sauce, if only as an experiment.
- two 8-ounce fresh New York State chicken thighs, from Cascun Farms, purchased at Eataly Flatiron, the loose skin of one pinned with 3 toothpicks, seasoned on both sides with local P.E. & D.D. Seafood sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, browned well in two tablespoons or so of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ inside a medium oval enameled high-sided cast iron pot, then covered with aluminum foil (it doesn’t have to be a tight seal at all, and it definitely wasn’t) and cooked over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature is 155-165 degrees, or the juices run clear, which was roughly 15 minutes, transferred to a small oval platter and covered with the foil to keep warm while 3 minced very small round shallots from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, one small chopped red shishito pepper from Alewife Farm, and only one finely chopped small-pea-size yellow Brazil wax pepper from Eckerton Hill Farm were stirred in and allowed to soften before about a third of a cup of rosé wine (an Oregon Willamette Valley rosé, Chris Baker Willamette Valley Rose of Pinot Noir 2018, from Naked Wines] was added to the pot and the heat raised to medium high, until the liquid reduced quite a bit, or until it was a of the consistency of a sauce, a generous amount of chopped pericón (Mexican tarragon) from Quarton Farm was added and stirred in before it was transferred to a glass sauce boat, from which some of it was poured over the chicken, now arranged on plates
- three different kinds of potato (because I didn’t have enough of any one kind), ‘Chieftain’ potatoes from Keith’s Farm,’Pinto’ potatoes from Norwich Meadows Farm, and ‘Purple Peruvian’ potatoes, also from Norwich Meadows Farm, washed, scrubbed, and boiled unpeeled in generously-salted water until barely cooked through, drained, halved, dried in the still-warm large vintage Corning Pyrex Flameware blue-glass pot in which they had cooked, rolled in a little butter, seasoned with salt and pepper and arranged on the plates garnished with micro scallion from Two Guys from Woodbridge
- one medium head of radicchio from Tamarack Hollow Farm, sliced broadly and sautéed until barely wilted inside a large, high-sided tin-lined copper pot with a little olive oil in which one sliced medium tropea onion from Alewife Farm had been allowed to soften, seasoned with salt and black pepper, finished with a splash of white balsamic vinegar and arranged on the plates, with a little more added at the table later, to offset the unusual bitterness of the chicory
- the wine was a French (Loire/Cheverny/Cour-Cheverny) red, Domaine de Montcy Cheverny Rouge 2016, probably from Philippe Wines
- the music was the album, ‘L’homme de genie’, which is Volume 5 from the project, ‘Haydn 2032’, with 3 Haydn symphonies and one by Joseph Martin Kraus, all performed by Giovanni Antonini conducting the Basel Chamber Orchestra
It was a pretty splendid entrée, even without the full Greek treatment it was supposed to get, meaning I didn’t have any feta cheese on hand.
And without the feta, I felt I felt I would be excused for including an element I thought was not Greek, halved roasted potatoes, specifically the 4 orphan la ratte fingerlings I had been keeping in a brown paper bag in a basket high above the spice cupboard. I’ve just looked around on line however, and it turns out that roasted potatoes can be very Greek.
The meat was superb. It came from the same farmers responsible for our enjoying it so much the last few times we had chicken. Yesterday’s Sunday spring chicken was a last-minute choice. I picked it up at our local Eataly rather than in the Union Square Greenmarket, where I usually shop for meat, and only its flavor was dear: the cost was only $8.50 for all 4 pieces.
The recipe began with Mark Bittman’s New York Times Magazine spread on what to do with chicken parts; it appears here, although absent almost any details or quantities, since it assumes the reader has more than a little cooking experience:
Heat the oven to 450. Make a paste of minced garlic, fresh oregano, lemon zest and olive oil; slide it underneath the chicken skin. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, surround with cherry tomatoes and olives and roast, skin side up, basting occasionally with pan drippings, until the juices run clear, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with a little crumbled feta and oregano and serve.
- the chicken I prepared was four 6-ounce thighs of the, Cascun Farms‘ Cornish Cross breed, from Eataly Flatiron and, although not mentioned in the basic outline of a recipe, of course I first seasoned them with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; the other ingredients used were 2 cloves of garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm; a heaping tablespoon of fresh oregano from Phillips Farms; lemon zest from a Chelsea Whole Foods Market organic lemon; 6 Backyard Farms Maine ‘cocktail tomatoes’ from Whole Foods; and about a dozen Kalamata olives (Greek!) from Chelsea Whole Foods Market, pitted, garnished with micro chervil from Two Guys from Woodbridge [note: the garlic/oregano paste can be seen as the darker area just under the skin in the picture at the top]
- four la ratte potatoes from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, scrubbed, skins left on, halved, tossed with a little olive oil, sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper, rosemary leaves from Phillips Farm, and a bit of dried habanada pepper, arranged, cut side down, on a small well-seasoned Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic pan, roasted at 450º for about 25 minutes (without the chicken thighs’ need for the higher temperature, I would normally roast the potatoes at 400º, but, if anything, the fingerlings came out better than usual at the higher temperature)
- handfuls of washed raw light frizzy mustard greens from Campo Rosso Farm, dressed only with olive oil
There was a very small cheese course.
- a maturing ‘Mammuth’ goat milk cheese (camembert style) from Ardith Mae
- slices of Gran Daisy Pugliese bread from Chelsea’s Foragers Market
[the beautiful portrait of Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835), painted by Carlo Arienti before 1827, from Il Blog dei Ragazzi]
There was chicken in the pot last night. Well, parts of chicken.
As I tweeted last night, near the end of this delicious simple meal, that doesn’t happen here very often, and, repeating something else I wrote, meals with chicken as good as this make me question my judgment.
I worked with the simple outlines of a Mark Bittman ‘recipe’ I’d used at least once before.
- four 6-ounce chicken thighs, the Cascun Farms‘ Cornish Cross breed, from Eataly Flatiron, rinsed, patted dry, and seasoned with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch or 2 of crushed dried habanada pepper, browned well on both sides in two tablespoons or so of Organic Valley ‘Cultured Pasture Butter’ inside a heavy antique high-sided copper pot, the pot covered and cooked over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature was 155-165 degrees, or the juices run clear, this time taking slightly less than 15 minutes, transferred to plates resting inside my 1934 Magic Chef at the ‘slow oven’ setting, the door wedged ajar with the bamboo toast tongs that rest next to it, one minced ‘yellow shallot’ from Norwich Meadows Farm and about a fourth of a cup of white wine introduced to the pot, the heat raised to medium high and the liquid reduced until it had become a sauce, then more than a dozen chopped tarragon leaves from Flatiron Eataly added and stirred in, the sauce transferred to a glass sauce boat, from which some of it was poured over the chicken
- one bunch of sweet, absolutely delicious, slightly purple flat kale from Norwich Meadows Farm wilted inside a large enameled cast iron pot in a little olive oil in which 2 halved and slightly bruised cloves of Windfall Farms ‘music’ garlic had first been allowed to sweat and begin to brown, the greens seasoned with salt, pepper, and a little more olive oil
- slices of ‘table bread’ from Lost Bread Company
There was a cheese course.
- three very different cheeses: Secret de Compostelle (a wonderful French Basque sheep milk cheese) from Schaller & Weber, a French goat milk log (otherwise unidentified) from Schaller & Weber, and a delicious semi-firm Riverine Ranch water buffalo milk ‘farm stand cheese’
- slices of the same ‘table bread’ that had accompanied the main course