Tag Archives: New York City

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.
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Gina de Palma’s Almond Olive Cake

I actually never meant to blog about this cake. It came about in part because of boredom, in part because I hadn’t baked anything in quite a long time, and in part because Brian has developed quite the predilection for almond cakes ever since he sampled a piece (actually probably more like 4 or 5 pieces) of buttery almond cake at our neighborhood Italian grocery store a year ago.

As I perused my cookbooks, old magazines, the Internet, and various other sources of inspiration this weekend, I came across Gina de Palma’s recipe for an almond cake that is made with olive oil instead of butter. Gina de Palma is the pastry chef at Babbo, one of our favorite Italian restaurants in New York City (just thinking about it makes me salivate, especially the thought of their mint love letter ravioli…).  The desserts at Babbo are also worth ordering and definitely worth the extra calories (and that is on top of the thousands of calories that you already consumed eating the beef cheek ravioli, which arrive at the table plump and oozing with rich meat, squab liver and the essence of black truffles. These are also worth getting by the way.) Oh, and I probably should have mentioned that Babbo isn’t your typical red-sauce Italian restaurant—it’s a rare treat that can only be enjoyed after painstakingly hitting the redial button on your phone for 45 minutes (exactly 30 days prior to the day that you want to reserve a table) in hopes that you will eventually get through to the reservationist, who will most likely offer you two equally dismal times of 5:30pm or 10:30pm (take the 5:30pm table, just trust me).

Enough about Babbo, let’s move on to this cake, which is truly one of the best cakes that I have ever made, and that is saying a lot. It’s everything that a cake should be—moist, sweet but not too sweet, tender, and most importantly, delicious.  In fact, I am warning you, once you start eating this cake you may not be able to stop. It took a massive effort for me to restrain myself from taking a second slice.

This cake would be great even without the glaze, but I implore you to make it. The brown butter adds wonderful depth and nuttiness to the glaze, and it compliments the citrusy cake beautifully. The slivers of almond also contribute great textural contrast.

I barely adapted this recipe, so all of the credit should go to Gina de Palma. However, I did make a few minor modifications, which you may or may not want to follow. To begin with, I increased the amount of vanilla extract to a half-teaspoon and the amount of almond extract to a scant full teaspoon. I also ran out of fresh orange juice (I only had one orange), so I add the juice of half a lemon and some skim milk until I reached the full half-cup of liquid that the recipe called for.

Now, on to the recipe because you should really make this immediately, or at least in the near future and I don’t want to delay you any longer.

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Almond Olive Oil Cake
Serves 6 to 8
Adapted slightly from pastry chef Gina de Palma of Babbo via Serious Eats

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup orange juice (or juice of 1 medium orange, juice of ½ a lemon, and ¼ cup milk—or enough liquid to equal ½ cup)
  • Zest of ½ medium orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • ½ cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted and cooled

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan or a springform pan and reserve for later.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk lightly until the yolks are broken up completely. Add the sugar and whisk briskly for approximately 30 seconds. Slowly add the olive oil and whisk until all of the ingredients are combined and the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Whisk in the orange juice (and lemon juice and milk if using), zest, and extracts.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and whisk lightly until the batter is smooth and homogenous.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake taster inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow cake to cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then carefully invert the cake out of the pan and allow to cool completely on the rack.
  8. While the cake is cooling, heat a small saucepan (not non-stick if possible) over medium heat. Add the butter and swirl the butter around in the pan, carefully, until the solids begin to turn a light tan/golden color (do not overcook). Remove the pan from the heat. The solids will continue to darken slightly as the butter cools.
  9. While the butter is cooling, whisk together the confectioners sugar and milk in a medium sized bowl. Add the cooled butter slowly, whisking continuously until the glaze is smooth.
  10. Add a few drops of lemon juice, taste, and add more as necessary to balance the sweetness of the glaze. Stir in the toasted and cooled slivered almonds.
  11. When the cake has cooled, place it on a large serving plate and spread the glaze on the top and sides of the cake. (The glaze may be a touch liquidy, which is fine, just allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides of the cake). Allow the glaze to cool and harden.
  12. Serve the cake either on its own, or with slightly sweetened whipped cream or berries.

Pasta Salad for Hurricane Irene

This weekend, as the East Coast waited for Hurricane Irene to arrive, I whipped together this pasta salad.  I was in the Philadelphia area this weekend, away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, and happy that I had access to a backyard and a grill.  Friday’s weather was gorgeous, so I made the most of the brief hours that remained before the rain came pouring down to grill some chicken and make this side dish.

I am not the biggest fan of traditional pasta salad, mainly because I dislike mayonnaise in almost anything except for tuna salad.  This pasta salad is still creamy, due to the incorporation of goat’s milk cheese, but it is lighter, and in my opinion, more befitting of a nice summer evening.  My favorite thing about this pasta is the way that the raw corn bursts in your mouth as you take a bite.  It’s also easy to prepare, and can be made in the time that it takes to heat the grill and cook some chicken or steak.  I will definitely be making this again, although hopefully not on the eve of another hurricane!

Happy Cooking,
Pippa

Summer Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese, Sweet Corn, and Scallions

Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 1-pound box of macaroni-shaped pasta
  • 1  bunch of scallions (green parts only), sliced thinly
  • Kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn (or 1.5 cups of frozen corn)
  • 4oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the box.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, slice the scallions, crumble the goat cheese, and remove the kernels from the 2 ears of corn.
  3. When the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta in a colander and add it to a large mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Add the scallions, goat cheese, and raw corn to the pasta and toss everything together.  Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately or allow the pasta to cool and serve at room temperature.