Category Archives: Poultry

Braised Chicken Thighs with Sauerkraut, Riesling, Apple and Bacon

Braised Chicken with Cabbage

Did I make it in time for the Super Bowl this weekend?! This may not be your typical Super Bowl fare, but I think that it meets the requirements. It’s a one-pot meal and it goes well with beer. What more could you ask for? Oh, bacon you say?… Don’t worry, that’s included too!

One of our favorite neighborhood restaurants in the city is Café D’Alsace. Dishes like charcroute garnie, duck sausage with sauerkraut, and tarte flambee are mainstays on the menu.  It must be cold in Alsace, because the food here is hearty, rich, and meat-heavy. With temperatures barely reaching 20 degrees in New York last week, it’s exactly the sort of food that I was craving.  However, bitterly cold temperatures also make me want to hibernate, so I decided to satisfy both my desire to stay out of the cold with my yearning for sauerkraut.

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Enter chicken braised in sauerkraut! I was so excited to make this recipe, especially after I found large hunks of meaty bacon and sauerkraut at my local German grocer (Schaller & Weber for those of you who live in New York City). I started by slowly sautéing the bacon in a pan, allowing the fat to render out and the bacon to become slightly crispy. I debated pouring some of the fat out of the pan, but there wasn’t too much, and I figured that we could use a little bit of extra blubber to fend off the cold this winter. To the bacon, I added thin slices of sweet onion and a Granny Smith apple, which I slowly caramelized in the pan. After pouring in a hearty amount of Riesling wine, a can of drained mild sauerkraut, shredded fresh red cabbage, juniper berries, thyme, pearl onions and chicken broth, my kitchen smelled like a German beerhouse. As the cabbage braised, I browned boneless chicken thighs, added them to the cabbage, and also baked cookies. That is not a typo, I had made cookie batter the night before and after a proper rest in the refrigerator, (I have heard that is the key to great cookies) I figured why not wait, I had time while my cabbage braised.  Let me just note that my small apartment kitchen now smelled like a cross between an Auntie Anne’s cookie shop and a Bratwurst stand. Weird, sort of like when I stumbled across a café in the West Village a few years ago called New York Hot Dogs & Coffee. Now, dogs and ketchup, dogs and pop, dogs and shakes—those all make sense to me. Dogs and coffee??? Needless to say, when I passed by the same location this summer, New York Dogs & Coffee had sadly closed. I guess even New Yorkers aren’t that adventurous when it comes to combo meals. Now, back to that chicken recipe…

I had to wait for my husband to get home from a cross-country trip to L.A., so my cabbage and chicken braised longer than I had originally intended. And herein lies the benefit of using chicken thighs. Unlike chicken breasts, they don’t easily become dry and overcooked, which is why I recommend using them when you are braising. Even though I cooked my chicken thighs at least 10 minutes longer than necessary, they remained tender and juicy. We ate our chicken and cabbage with homemade crusty bread and a salad dressed in simple vinaigrette, but you could also serve it with mashed potatoes or egg noodles (spaetzle would be great too). I should also note that this recipe is not comfort food in the sense of “I cannot move and must lie on my sofa for the next few hours while I digest”. It is bright and lively thanks to the sauerkraut and wine, and it will definitely warm you up on a cold night. It’s also perfect for a crowd (Super Bowl party anyone?).

Guten Appetit!
Pippa

Braised Chicken Thighs with Sauerkraut, Riesling, Apple and Bacon
Serves 4
Time: 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours, including prep time

  • 6 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ head of a medium-sized red cabbage, core removed and thinly sliced
  • 1, 14-ounce can of mild sauerkraut (I used Hengstenberg Mildessa mild sauerkraut, made with wine), drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium granny smith apple, chopped into small ½ inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup of dry Riesling wine (you can substitute the Riesling for any dry white wine if necessary)
  • 10 ounces pearl onions, peeled (I found fresh, peeled pearl onions in the produce department at my grocery store, but you can omit these if you can’t find them or don’t have time to peel the onions)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 12 juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1.75 pounds boneless chicken thigh (with skin or without is fine here)
    1. Heat a large, straight-sided sauté pan with a lid (or a braising pot) over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the bacon, and cook until almost all of the fat has rendered out and the bacon is slightly crispy.
    2. Add the onion slices and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onion is soft and caramelized.
    3. Add the apple pieces, and cook for an additional 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
    4. Add the fresh red cabbage and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is beginning to wilt.
    5. Add the sauerkraut, pearl onions, wine, broth, juniper berries, fresh thyme, and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper.
    6. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
    7. While the cabbage is simmering, heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a tablespoon of canola oil.
    8. Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper and place them in the hot pan, being careful not to over-crowd the chicken (I browned my chicken in 2 batches). Brown the chicken thighs on both sides, about 8 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
    9. Transfer the chicken to a platter or plate until ready to use.
    10. Remove the cover from the pot with the cabbage, add the chicken thighs and nestle them into the cabbage mixture so that they are covered with cabbage.
    11. Cover the pot again and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.
    12. Uncover, remove the pot from the heat and serve.

Indian Food at Home

Ever since taking an art history class on Indian painting and sculpture in college, I have wanted to visit India, and even before that I loved eating Indian food. Everything about it appeals to my taste buds, the bold use of spices, the subtle (or in some cases fiery) heat, and the coolness of yogurt raita that I often accompanies the curries.

One of my favorite parts about going out to eat at an Indian restaurant for dinner is how many dishes I get to sample. In my family, we always share some samosas and pakora, a few curries, a daal (lentil dish), and a tandoori baked naan or paratha bread. The combination of flavors on my plate always entice me back for another serving, I just can’t help myself.

When I moved to New York from the Washington DC area, my favorite Indian restaurant quickly became a small vegetarian restaurant that serves a combination of Southern and Northern Indian food. Although they make some great dosas, my favorite dishes on the menu are the samosas and the chana masala (chickpea curry). Samosas in many restaurants can be disappointing, either too bland or too greasy, or both. The samosas at this restaurant are brimming with spices and are perfectly crispy on the outside. The chana masala is gingery and bright, containing fresh herbs and a nice dose of sautéed onions, tomatoes, cumin, and coriander. However, I can’t always make it downtown to eat at this restaurant, and to be honest, I like experimenting at home when I can.

A few weekends ago I decided to make my own version of an Indian chicken curry, loosely based off of Jamie Oliver’s recipe for chicken tikka masala. I have made this recipe before, and each time I remember why I love it. The first step involved marinating chicken in a pureed mixture of toasted spices, ginger, garlic, fresh cilantro, and yogurt. My best piece of advice is to marinade the chicken overnight if you have time, because the yogurt tenderizes the meat and ensures that the chicken stays nice and juicy after it is cooked. After allowing the chicken to marinade, I add the chicken to a sauce made of sautéed onions, more spices, and tomato sauce. Although Jamie Oliver discards the yogurt marinade and cooks his chicken under a broiler, I just add the yogurt and the chicken to the tomato sauce in the pan because the yogurt adds extra creaminess to the sauce without the need to add extra cream or butter. And to be honest, I didn’t feel like taking the time to broil the chicken. Even though it can’t compare to my favorite Indian restaurant, this curry perfectly satisfies my craving for Indian food.

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Indian Chicken Curry
Loosely adapted from Jamie Oliver’s chicken tikka masala

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala (can be purchased in some grocery stores and at specialty stores)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1.5 cups low fat or whole plain yogurt
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned pureed tomatoes or finely chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup water

Instructions:

  1. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil and the mustard seeds. Cook mustard seeds until they begin to pop. As soon as they start to pop (being careful, because the seeds will try to pop out of the pan!!) add the cumin, paprika, one teaspoon of garam masala, the coriander, curry powder, ginger, and garlic to the pan. Sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes and then remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Combine the cilantro and yogurt in a food processor with the toasted spices and process until smooth.
  3. Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Pour the yogurt marinade over the chicken and combine well. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  4. 30 minutes before you plan to serve the meal remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the onion to the pan and sweat over low heat until the onion in translucent and soft.
  5. Add one teaspoon of garam masala and a pinch of cayenne to the pan and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato sauce and water to the pan, increase the heat, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  7. Add the chicken pieces and the yogurt marinade to the pan and cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked through.
  8. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  9. Serve over steamed basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Additional serving suggestionsraita (homemade or store bought), yogurt, naan bread, daal, mango chutney.

Simple Roast Chicken with Dorie’s Creamy Rice


I’m not sure how I have managed to neglect roast chicken on a blog with the title of “Sunday Suppers”, but somehow I did. It’s time to change that. Last weekend we made a simple roast chicken with fresh haricot verts (green beans) and Dorie Greenspan’s “creamy, cheesy, garlicky rice with spinach”. I can’t decide if the chicken or the rice was the highlight of the meal. Irregardless, it was a great meal accompanied by a nice bottle of wine, and perfect for a cold winter night. Make this soon!

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Simple Roast Chicken with Dorie Greenspan’s ‘creamy, cheesy, garlicky rice with spinach’
Rice slightly adapted from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan
Serves 4

Ingredients the roast chicken:

  • 1 3lb. free range, organic chicken
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • ½ head of garlic (skin on)
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions for the roast chicken:

  • Take the chicken out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before you plan to cook it.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove the giblet packet from the chicken if it inside the cavity.
  • Liberally season both the cavity and skin of the chicken with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  • Stuff the chicken with the lemon, garlic, and thyme sprigs.
  • Truss the chicken with string if available.
  • Rub the entire chicken with melted butter.
  • Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan and place it in the preheated oven.
  • Cook for approximately 1 hour, or until the chicken is done and the juices run clear.

Ingredients for the rice:

  • 3 ¼-3 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup Carnaroli rice (Arborio may be substituted but Carnaroli is more resistant to overcooking)
  • 10 ounces frozen leaf spinach
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ – ½ cup grated Gruyere
  • Approximately ¼ to ½ cup half and half
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for the rice:

  1. In a medium saucepan with a lid, bring 3 ¼ cups of broth to a boil. Add the rice and stir once, cover, and simmer over low heat until almost all of the broth has been absorbed and the rice is tender but still slightly al dente (approximately 20 minutes).
  2. While the rice is cooking, defrost the frozen spinach by placing it in a colander in the sink and pouring boiling water over the spinach. Drain and dry the spinach and coarsely chop.
  3. Place a medium to large sauté pan with straight sides over low heat and sweat the onion and garlic in butter until the onion is translucent and soft.
  4. Add the spinach and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and stir well. Add the cheese and cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook over very low heat until the cheese has melted.
  6. If the mixture is dry, add a bit more half & half or broth.
  7. Serve immediately.