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Thursday, October 28, 2010

might have helped.

   So back in school I used to have to turn in book reports.You know what book reports are,don't you? They are those evil assignments given by teachers that require you a. to sit still for an extended amount of time, b. to READ a book of some sort and c. "report" on it.I had to read a smallish book,usually fiction (a huge,million page novel in my 3rd grade mind) and report such interesting facts like the title,author's name,general subject matter and what you liked about the book. Sadly enough it's been a million years so I don't remember the actual requirements for the report,but you get the idea.  I usually fared well on these assignments,but would invariably miss some major point of interest,get counted off for it and well needless to say I, from that point on, tried my dangedest (spelling,also important) to gather all the necessary details needed to complete the assignment . I even rounded up a few extra details about the story just to show that I had my you know what stuff together and threw those interesting little tidbits into the now fantastic report. My teacher would read that report and quickly get swept up into the world of Ramona Quimby or have a caper to solve with Nancy Drew,hopefully.
   The funny thing is those little,itsy,bitsy details that I used to get counted off for,well...sometimes,on the rare occasion...once in a blue moon I still miss those little fun facts. Luckily by grace or sympathy, everything usually works out just fine. Such a happening occured last Friday night.We had a good friend to dinner and it was a pretty wonderful evening even if the main dish on the menu changed 2 hours before the meal began. I had plans to make this Coq Au Vin recipe from Martha Stewart and was all geared up for some cripsy-skinned chicken pieces coated in a rich,red wine/tomato broth and some mushrooms and pearl onions to savor with each bite of chicken.Oh I had thought about this meal ALL DAY ! I had all my ingredients ready to go and having had made this TWO times before that night, I was 85% certain I had my you know what stuff together. I got home from work and decided to read over the recipe just one more time,.... yep the little fun fact that I missed : marinating the chicken overnight in red wine.HA! details,shmetails. Darn it to heck,must find Plan B quickly,like now. Well Plan B was calling my name and it was Chicken Fricassee With Garlic and Red Wine Vinegar. Thank my lucky stars that Virginina Willis had it together for me. I knew that this recipe was a tiny bit similar to Coq Au Vin since Ihad made it once before and my friend would never know the difference (if I hadn't told him,apparently marinated,baked feta and Parmesan Triscuits brought out the slight confession...).I gathered all my ingredients together and got to cookin'! The meal turned out great and the conversation even better.The cookbook by Virginia Willis is called Bon Appetit Ya'll and is beautifully written.The recipes are all very accessible,the pictures are appetizing and the stories she shares with you the reader are not to be forgotten in any book report.Enjoy!
Chicken Fricassee with Garlic and Red Wine Vinegar
adapted from Bon Appetit' Ya'll by Virginia Willis
page 105
1(4-5 lb) chicken cut into 8 pieces
*I just used 4 bone-in,skin-on chicken legs
and 4 bone-in,skin-on chicken thighs*
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 TBL unsalted butter
1 TBL canola oil
4 cloves garlic,crushed
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes,crushed with liquid
1 cup chicken stock,reduced-fat,low-sodium
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh parsley
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1.To cook the chicken,season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and oil over medium heat in a large,straight-sided skillet or sauce pan (not cast iron,as it will interfere with the acidic tomatoes and vinegar,
* I used enameled cast iron and it worked fine,bare cast iron would not fare well.
Add the chicken,skin side down,without crowding the pan. Cook until rich,golden brown on both sides,3-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate.
2. Pour off all but 1 TBL of fat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant,45-60 seconds . Add the vinegar and scrape with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stand back when adding the vinegar,because when it hits it will produce strong vinegar fumes. Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the tomatoes with their liquid,chicken stock,bay leaf,parsley, and thyme. Bring to a boil,then decrease the heat to medium-low,cover and cook until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear,an additional 30-45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
3.To make the sauce-remove the chicken pieces to a warmed serving dish. Increase the heat to high,and cook the sauce until reduced and lightly thickened,about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper,remove the whole herbs and pur the sauce over the chicken and serve. Delish I tell you.

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