Musing with Max

Musing with Max

January 3, 2011

House of Fire

So 2010 finally came to an end and not soon enough as far as I'm concerned. We decided not to give it the usual blaze of glory goodbye and just spend some nice quiet time at home which of course requires cooking and eating and cooking and eating and cooking and eating...well you get my drift. Lots of cooking and eating.

Breakfast 12/31/10- Homemade English Muffins, yes homemade, with butter and homemade pear jam!
Then we're off to Costco which I know doesn't sound very exciting for a New Year's Eve but the larder is running perilously low and besides you have to do something during the daylight hours. Big decision time, what to make for dinner? Well considering that we just came home with dubious amounts of meat and poultry we should be able to come up with something. "How about rack of lamb?" Frank says, "Sure, whatever" I say since I couldn't get lobster which is what I really wanted to make, other story. And, since baby it's cold outside, we'll put on a fire:

Now we're talking! We have some lovely spinach I bought at the Eden Gourmet the other after I drove over 30 inches of snow in their unplowed parking lot:

dinner is spinach salad, roast rack of lamb and Au gratin potatoes:

ate around ninish, went upstairs to watch TV with Maxy

fell asleep around 11:40 PM and woke up around 12:45...oops missed the big moment, oh well. Watched Matewan until about 4:00 am. Works for me!

January 1, 2011! Yay, it's a new day and typically our laziest day of the year (we say, ha) which means we do nothing much for most of the day, mainly cause everywhere we wanted to go was closed. Time for dinner, what to do, what to do. I have a chicken, hmmm, don't feel like roasting it especially since the way I roast it is from the Zuni Cafe cookbook and I should have started yesterday; Frank suggests something Moroccan and stewy which sounds good to me and I figure a Tagine of some sort which I really don't need a recipe for but I decide to bring out Paula Wolfert's Slow Mediterranean Kitchen book
for inspiration and find that she really doesn't have any stewy chicken dishes which surprises the hell out of me, however I find this little gem: Double Cooked Red Chicken Marrakesh style. So much for stewy; this sounded absolutely amazing, and it was. I didn't have to cut the whole chicken up either which was nice, just remove the back and tie it back together to keep its shape. Here is the recipe, adapted from her book:

Serves 4
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed
1 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 whole chicken, backbone removed and cut in pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet paprika, preferably Spanish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of ground ginger
Cayenne pepper
1 small onion, grated

1. In a mini food processor, mash the garlic with the parsley saffron and 1 teaspoon of salt. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the melted butter.
2. Re-form the chicken by tying it up with kitchen string and rub the garlic paste all over. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

3. Put the backbone pieces in a large enameled cast-iron casserole and ad the chicken breast side up. In a bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the paprika with 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, the pepper, ginger and a pinch of cayenne. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken and cook over moderately low heat until steam begins to rise, about 5 minutes.

4. Mix the grated onion into 1 1/2 cups of water and pour around the chicken. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the juices run clear, about 1 hour. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, remove the string keeping chicken intact.
5. Discard the backbones. Skim off the fat from the sauce, reserving 3 tablespoons. Boil the sauce until it is reduced to 1 cup, abut 15 minutes.
6. Preheat the broiler. Stir the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin into the reserved fat, add a pinch of cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Put chicken in a roasting pan breast side up and rub with the spiced fat. Broil until browned, about 10 minutes. Carve the chicken, passing the warm sauce.
The depth of flavors is awesome, and the chicken is super duper tender. I took a few liberties: She uses cilantro instead of parsley, I'm not a lover of it, her recipe uses two chickens, I used one but kept most of the same amounts for the spices and sauce. She suggested garnishing with sliced preserved lemons which I would have done but time...Frank grated the onion cause he's the best hubby. We lit another fire

and ate in the living room again. Chicken served with jasmine rice.

Max walked around trying to look inconspicuous

We ate every morsel

Sorry buddy boy

Day one is in the far so good. Here's hoping!

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