Chicken and Wild Mushrooms

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It’s starting to get chilly here in New York, and this is a great warm-you-up meal to kick off it’s-really-fall. I am a HUGE fan of mushrooms, and this Ina Garten recipe calls for a whole slew of them, alongside some delicious chicken in an awesome wine, sherry, garlic and thyme-flavored sauce. It’s FULL of goodness.

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It’s also a one-pot meal, which makes me happy. I can’t say enough about the beauty of cooking this in a Le Creuset dutch oven. If you don’t have one, it’s absolutely worth the investment. It’s a pure joy to cook in this thing, and it cleans up so easily, you won’t believe it. Because it heats evenly and holds heat well, everything you cook is just better. Period. And it goes beautifully from stovetop to oven. I’m a little obsessed with it.

TW’s Tips

  • Most grocery stores will sell chicken broken down into 8 pieces so you don’t have to do it yourself. It’s a bit cheaper if you’re hacking into it yourself, but paying a little more is worth it if you don’t want to deal with it.
  • You could also use just chicken thighs and legs or any combo that speaks to you.
  • Make sure you get a good sear on the chicken. When you put it in the pot, don’t move it around. Let it sit and get a nice crust on it — more flavor.

Serve this with some rice and a side vegetable, such as my favorite chili garlic broccoli. Curl up on the couch and enjoy!

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Chicken and Wild Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 2 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chickens, cut in eighths
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 8 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms, such as porcini and cremini, stems removed and (1 1/2-inch) diced
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen string
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 cups white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 2 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Place 1/2 cup flour in a bowl and dredge the chicken in the flour. In a large (12-inch) ovenproof pot such as Le Creuset, heat the oil. Add the chicken in three batches (don’t crowd them!) and brown lightly over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate and continue until all the chicken is browned.

Add the whole garlic cloves, mushrooms, and thyme to the pot and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sherry and cook for 1 minute, scraping up the brown bits. Add the minced garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the wine, chicken stock, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken (large pieces first), cover, and place in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (about 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).

Remove the chicken to a bowl and discard the thyme. With a fork, mash together the butter and 1/4 cup flour and add it to the sauce. Simmer, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season to taste (it should be highly seasoned), put the chicken back in the sauce, and serve hot.

Chicken and Coconut Paella

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It sounds a little weird, yes. But this is one of the rare favorites I keep coming back to. Staying on my Tyler Florence kick: Chicken and Coconut Paella. What’s great about this dish: one pot to wash. Rice that’s a little crispy and crunchy and caramelized. Great Thai flavors from coconut milk and mint and coriander (freshly ground, makes a difference). Lemony watercress/pea salad on the side. Prep beforehand and bake it while you’re entertaining guests. Done!

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TW’s Tips

  • I honest to God could not find a package of bone-in chicken thighs at the grocery store (and they had literally every other option for chicken in America), so I bought two combo packets of leg/thigh and a couple of breasts and called it a day. Worked just fine, i.e., don’t obsess about the chicken part.
  • Use coriander seeds instead of ground coriander if you can. It’s fresher and better. Compare it to ground pepper and freshly ground pepper. I make my case.
  • I find that this needs a bit more liquid than the recipe calls for. I added an extra cup or so of coconut milk, and it could take even more.
  • I looooove mint in this dish, but if you’re not a big fan, try flat leaf parsley instead.

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Chicken and Coconut Paella

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coriander seeds
  • 8 chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely minced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (TW: add extra)

Pea Salad

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Mint leaves, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F. Coarsely crack the coriander seeds. Season the thighs well with salt and pepper and sprinkle all over with the cracked coriander. Heat a 3-count of olive oil in a large, deep, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down, and give them a good sear for 3 to 4 minutes to develop a nice crust. Turn and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side to brown the meat. Take the chicken out of the pan.

Hit the pan with another tablespoon of olive oil and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, ginger, and bay leaf and cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion is soft but not brown. Now you’ve got all this great flavor going on in the bottom of the pan –chicken drippings, ginger, onion, and bay. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute of two until the grains are well coated with the oil. Stir in the lemon zest. Now add the broth and coconut milk and bring that to a simmer. Tuck in the chicken thighs, put the whole thing in the oven, and bake, uncovered, until the rice is tender and bound by a creamy sauce and the chicken is entirely cooked through, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.

When the chicken is done, put the peas, mint, and watercress into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper and give it a good toss. Taste for seasoning. To serve, take a big spoon and scoop out some rice and chicken onto each of 4 plates. Garnish each plate with the pea salad.