Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chicken in Tangy Escabeche of Caramelized Onions, Carrots, and Jalapenos

Hopefully, this is what we're having for dinner tonight. This recipe is from our favorite American-born Mexican cuisine chef, Rick Bayless (Everyday Mexican). It's always funny to me that my husband is native Mexican, and we go to a white dude from the midwest for authentic Mexican recipes. Anyway, we love this recipe because it is easy, heathy, and has an awesome balance of sweetness, spicey-ness, and acidity. It's one of our weeknight go-to recipes. We serve this with roasted red potatoes.

1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
3 (2 pounds total) chicken breast halves, bones and skin intact
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 large carrots, peeled if you wish and sliced 1/4 inch thick on a diagonal
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider vinegar is traditional)
2 to 4 canned pickled jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth

1. In a small bowl, combine the black pepper, allspice, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle half of this mixture over the chicken breasts.
2. Heat the oil in a very large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Lay in the chicken, skin side down, and cook, turning once, until richly browned, 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible.
3. Add the sliced onion and carrots to the skillet and cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is browned, abut 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute, then add the remaining seasoning mixture, the vinegar, jalapenos and broth.
4. Nestle the chicken pieces skin side up in the onion mixture, cover the skillet (a cookie sheet works if your skillet doesn't have a lid) and simmer gently over the medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 15 minutes.
5. Taste the broth, and season with additional salt if you think it’s appropriate.
6. Transfer a piece of chicken to each dinner plate, spooning a generous portion of the juicy vegetable mixture over the top. Dinner’s ready.

(Photo is from www.greatfood.ie)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pork in Balsamic Vinegar

This is my favorite favorite favorite pork recipe. My mother has been making it for years, and when I was in college, she typed up the recipe for me and printed it out on her dot-matrix printer so I could make it for myself. I never knew the source until this Christmas. I was laying in bed while at my parent's house, reading a cookbook (yes, I read cookbooks...in bed....it is strange) and came across the recipe. It was in one of Mary Ann Esposito's cookbook. My mom used to watch her cooking show, Ciao Italia, on PBS when I was a kid. Her recipes RULE, so I highly recommend her. Here is Maiale con Aceto Balsamico.

1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1/2 cup Colavita™ Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin
2 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
2/3 cup dry white wine (preferably Frascati)

To make the marinade, in a skillet, combine the onion and cider vinegar and simmer until the onion is soft. Add the rosemary, sage, parsley, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, peppercorns, and extra-virgin olive oil. Stir well, remove from the heat, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels and rub it all over with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

In a frying pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and brown the meat on all sides. Transfer the meat to a baking dish and add 1/3 cup of the wine to the dish. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked to 155º to 160ºF. Midway through the cooking, add the remaining 1/3 cup wine to the pan.

Transfer the meat to a deep nonmetal dish just large enough to hold it. Pour the marinade over the meat, and let it marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days.

Bring the meat, in the marinade, to room temperature before serving. Cut it in thin slices, arrange on a serving platter, and spoon some of the marinade over the slices.

Note: This dish can also be reheated in the marinade and served warm. Either way, it is a winner.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1991.