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All About Braising: Poultry and Game Recipe Reviews

October 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Please post your full-length reviews of poultry or game recipes from Molly Stevens' All About Braising here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. If this is a recipe you've done many times before but aren't cooking currently, consider adding a note to the All About Braising: Previous Picks and Pans thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

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  1. Soy Braised Chicken Thighs with Star Anise and Orange Peel (p. 147)

    I liked this recipe but didn't love it. It had an amazing flavor and the house smelled wonderful. I chose this recipe because I prefer dark meat, especially thighs, and it had a relatively short braising time. I didn't love it because the thigh meat, while fork tender, didn't fall off the bone.

    It took a lot longer to cook this dish than I had anticipated. I used a 4.5 quart Le Creuset (blue) to cook this dish. Browning the thighs, at least the first batch was slightly problematic. I dried off the thighs but maybe not enough. The first batch stuck to the bottom of the pan. I used wooden chop sticks to scrape the skin off the bottom. I think some pieces stuck because 1) I didn't dry the chicken enough and/or 2) I didn't let the skin brown enough. The chicken did look brown, but who knows. The second batch of thighs browned up nicely. I had a timer set both times, so maybe it was the oil heat.

    After browning the thighs, I tossed in the white parts of the scallions, minced ginger, garlic and dried chile pepper. I then added the soy mixture (soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar and brown sugar). Lastly, I added a whole star anise and orange zest.

    I put the thighs back into the pot. Unfortunately, the pot could not accomadate all the thighs in a single layer, so 3 thighs were resting on top of the bottom layer. The covered pot went into the oven for about 15 minutes. At this point, I flipped the thighs over, added a little bit of chicken stock, and put them into the oven. Total time in the oven was between 40-45 minutes (the book recommended 30-35 minutes).

    After the thighs came out of the oven, I removed the thighs from the sauce and lightly covered them with foil. A little bit of a corn starch and water mixture was stirred into the sauce, as well as the scallion greens. Lastly, the sauce was spooned on to the thighs.

    Other than the braising time, which was longer, I followed the recipe to the letter. The sauce and chicken had a great flavor. But, the skin was slightly icky and soggy so I didn't eat that. The sauce, went especially well with the white rice. I expected the chicken to be falling off the bone but I had to use a fork, knife and fingers to get the meat off.

    I served this with white rice and the braised broccoli rabe.

    I probably would try this recipe again. But, I would let it braise for a longer time, maybe an hour. If the next time, the meat doesn't slide right off, I won't make it again.

    Picture of the dinner plate:


    28 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug

      It looks amazing even if you didn't love it! Beautiful chicken, and I don't even like dark meat! :-)

      1. re: Katie Nell

        Thanks. It was my first attempt at taking and posting a picture. I'm already thinking about next time - if there is white rice, use a colored plate... ;=)

      2. re: beetlebug

        Hi, Beetlebug,

        I hate it when the chicken sticks to the pan. I'm glad Molly Stevens included those hints about having the meat absolutely dry (which can be difficult with chicken) and letting it brown before you disturb it. I've been following that lately, and it seems to help. The chicken does look delicious, though like you I wonder how long it would have to be braised to be falling off the bone tender.

        1. re: redwood2bay

          For falling off the bone, I'm guessing about an hour. She also talks about the flabby skin problem w/ braising chicken and offers some good tips...

          1. re: redwood2bay

            Thinking back on it, I suspect it was because the skin could have been drier on that first batch. I did nothing different on the second batch, except for using an additional paper towel on the chicken prior to throwing it in the pot. Consequently no stickiness issues with batch two.

            As for the flabby skin, that skin was going to be soft no matter what because it will rest in the braising liquid. That isn't as much of a problem since I can easily peel the skin off.

            1. re: beetlebug

              Yes, I think that's the reason why my chicken often sticks to the pan, too. I'm one of these cooks who always has to wash the meat before cooking it. I guess in future, I'll just have to be more careful about drying it before I saute.

              1. re: beetlebug

                I leave meat or poultry out to air dry or uncovered in the fridge to dry out the skin. It works well.

                1. re: faijay

                  how long can you leave raw chicken refrigerated? the last time i cooked breasts, i washed them and left them in the fridge with foil and they were nice and dry after a day and a half.

            2. re: beetlebug

              Oh this looks really delicious! The color looks a little red -- was it?

              But the idea of braising chicken with the skin on makes me a little oooogly. What tips did she offer about the skin?

              Chicken thighs are one of my favorite comfort foods. yum.

              1. re: yumyum

                It was more brownish with maybe a tinge of red. Probably from the orange peels.

                Tips on the skin: (p. 135) chicken skin must be dry, dry, dry. Browning the skin is necessary and it also renders off the fat. While, I poured the fat off, there was still fatty flavor in the pot itself.

                Other tips, watch the amount of braising liquid. Try not to submerge the skin entirely in the liquid. This, I don't get. If you are flipping the chicken pieces, there will always be skin in the liquid. I suspect she is differentiating between flabby and soft. To me, I won't eat either. Hence, I peel the skin off and place it out of eye sight. But, she also states that if you want crispy skin, to brown the chicken after braising, by placing it in the oven.

                1. re: beetlebug

                  Any reason not to use skinless thighs here? I tend to use skinless boneless thighs when I make stews and such. They also stick a little when browning.

                  1. re: julesrules

                    I've made a similar dish many times with skinned thighs (I don't care for braised chicken skin). But I do think the bones add flavor.

                  2. re: beetlebug

                    Could you do it without the skin entirely? I think I would...

                    1. re: yumyum

                      Skinless probably would work. There would be less fat on the bottom of the pan, but that may not be a bad thing...

                2. re: beetlebug

                  I made a shortcut variation of soy-braised chicken combining ingredients from this recipe and those of red pine chicken for the braising liquid, particularly mushroom soy sauce.
                  I wasn't wild about it -- I think a soy sauce base for a braise just isn't to my taste -- too one-dimensional. To be fair, I did not use star anise or scallions, but I did use lemon zest and ginger. I do like soy sauce marinades for grilled fish or stir fry, but the chicken is not one I will be returning to.

                  1. re: NYchowcook

                    P.S. two days later: Reheated leftover soy sauce-braised chicken and it ain't bad. The flavor seems to have mellowed a bit and wasn't as harsh as it seemed freshly braised.
                    So maybe I would make again (such as if I'm short on ingredients and in a hurry as I was two nights ago)

                  2. re: beetlebug

                    I am glad you brought up the flabby skin issue. I had some of the same problems when I made the chicken, olives, prunes and wine (p 131). After reading about your experience, I was thinking maybe it would be best to wash and dry the chicken earlier in the day and put it on a plate an uncovered in the fridge a la Zuni. The chicken would have a chance to throroughly dry. I also remember from watching a cooking show that once you get a really good sear then you can flip the meat, the meat has to release itself from the pan. I sometimes forget that tip and get flabby skin as a result. IMHO, the reason why you had less of a problem with the second batch is probably because some fat was rendered by the first batch then got hot when you were transferring the first batch to a platter/plate. The hot fat created an ideal environment for searing. It is sort of like the first pancake being the sacrificial pancake and all the others coming out perfect. I am glad we have this forum to discuss these issues, it makes cooking a lot easier (especially knowing others have the same problems as I do). Anyway, the chicken looks great and it looks like you did a terrific job.

                    1. re: beetlebug

                      This is kindof a random thought, but I wonder how it would be if you got the skin good and crispy (on its own or on the chicken) and then removed it before adding the liquid. Just before serving it could be re-crisped and sort of added as an accent.

                      1. re: mellycooks

                        That's an excellent idea. I do love crispy skin. I just made this other thigh dish, sans skin, per recipe and it was delicious. I may go bone in, skinless next time. Will post about it in the next day or two.

                        1. re: mellycooks

                          I like the way you think!!! That would be a great idea...added flavor AND texture!
                          I will definitely try this...!

                        2. re: beetlebug

                          I made this last week and the meat was falling off the bone after the suggested 35 mins. I as well used a 4.5 quart Le Creuset. I'm curious about whether you used parchment paper. I did, and this is something I haven't done with braises in the past, but I definitely will from now on.

                          1. re: knuckles

                            I did use the parchment paper. I think the science behind it makes sense.

                          2. re: beetlebug

                            I made this as well a couple of weeks ago. To my surprise I like braised chicken skin just fine. I did not read the recipe carefully enough, and ended up with too salty sauce that needed to be corrected (what she says is to watch the sauce very carefully to avoid this). I didn't like that aspect of the recipe, I would rather something that needs to be corrected with more salt rather than the other way around...
                            I had also used seasoned rice vinegar, compensated by adding less sugar, but I probably didn't add enough (and I guess the extra salt didn't help either). In the end the extra vinegar she suggests did not correct the sauce to my taste, the salt was still overwhelming, and very little orange flavour. So, I corrected with quite a bit of orange juice! Not very sophisticated but I ended up with something more to my taste.
                            Loved it with plain blanched rapini as suggested above, perfect complement. But not interesting enough for me to make again anytime soon.

                            1. re: beetlebug

                              We make this pretty often. It's in our usual rotation. In fact, I think it's scheduled for later this weekend. I myself don't like soggy skin either. I thought maybe we should try a tip from Keller's Ad Hoc book. He has a chicken thigh recipe in that book and puts the braised thighs under the broiler briefly to crisp the skin at the very end. This might do the trick for us.

                              1. re: karykat

                                Too lazy to go and check this recipe, but just the other night I made the Braised Chicken with Saffron Onions from the Lucques book (for the fourth time, by the way--so if you haven't tried it .. . .). In that recipe, you brown the chicken, then braise it for however long, and then, just before serving, bake it in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. That final baking or broiling seems to make all the difference in the skin-appeal of the final product. Gotta remember this for recipes that don't specify.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  That sounds like a good strategy. I really hate the flabby skin on braised poultry, and usually go the opposite way and just remove it before starting, but then lose out on the good flavors and fond in the pan you get from browning the skin.

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    It sounds like either baking or broiling at the end may do the trick.

                                    I'll report back when we add that step to our usual All About Braising chicken thigh recipe.

                                    1. re: karykat

                                      We had our All About Braising asian chicken thighes tonight. And did broil them for a few minutes when done to brown the skin. Worked great and we will be doing it this way from now on.

                              2. Burgundian Quail Braised with Grapes (p.196)

                                A new favorite - this sauce made with Vin Santo is sooo good. I've never cooked with vin santo wine, or quail before. Another Chowhound had tipped me off on where to buy reasonably priced, semi-boned quail, which is why I decided to try this recipe. For you Bostonians, this is where I bought them:


                                The recipe calls for browning the quail in extra virgin olive oil. I rinsed them, and dried them very very well, and had no problem with sticking. I didn't have to brown them on three sides as she explains in her book since the breasts were boned and they lay flat, which made it easier. Simplified recipe - once they were removed from the pan, pour off oil, melt butter, and add finely chopped shallots and pancetta (I thought this was a key ingredient for flavor). I used a mini-chop for the pancetta. Add fresh thyme, wine, and grapes. Add quail, cover, and braise, turning once, for 15 minutes. Remove quail, reduce sauce for 5 minutes, and return quail to pan to warm. Really good, and done in a little over half an hour. It shows you braising isn't all about hours of cooking. I'll be cooking with quail again! Buying them semi-boned really made it easy to eat also; no need to halve them as she suggests. I also thought that one and a half quail per person wasn't enough. I cooked four, as that's how many came in the package, for the two of us. I'll try it with green grapes next time, I think that would also make for a pretty dish.

                                Tonight's Pic -


                                1. hi all, i'm having so much fun with the cook along....
                                  i am still awaiting my book to be shipped. in the meanwhile, i have been using molly's recipes that i find online and here on these threads...
                                  next i am making the whole chicken braised with pears...


                                  however, on this recipe, she left out how much and what kind of wine to use! also---what to do with the first pear...
                                  could someone fill in the blanks for me?
                                  thanks a million!!!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ceeceee

                                    The first pear gets cut up into 4 pieces and put into the chicken along with 2 sprigs rosemary (left out of linked version which seems to substitute dried thyme which is not in the original recipe anywhere). When you saute the aromatics, the original recipe has you add another sprig of rosemary. Wine = 1/4 cup dry white or dry vermouth. Also, when you add sugar, salt and pepper to the pears in the garnish step, the original recipe has you add 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary. Sounds yummy -- please report your results!

                                  2. I made chicken do-piaza last night, sort of a last-minute decision since I had most of the ingredients on hand. It's an Indian-flavored dish with a fantastic sauce of sauteed onions, garlic, and spices, with just-cooked onion slices and yogurt mixed in at the end. She recommends that you use skinless chicken thighs (one of the few times she recommends skinless), though she gives a variation for skinless breast with a reduced cooking time. My chicken was not as tender as I would have liked, but I halved the recipe, and that may have affected the amount of time needed to cook the chicken. I also used Total Greek yogurt instead of draining my yogurt ahead of time, which worked great. The combination of the sweet but almost raw onions, the tanginess of the yogurt, and the longer-cooked onion/spice mixture was truly amazing—I couldn’t stop spooning it up.

                                    My pictures are pretty fuzzy, but here they are:


                                    I had this with a basmati/wild rice combo, and a salad made partly from wild greens found in Prospect Park, Brooklyn! That's another post, but there's a guy in the NY area who leads foraging tours, and I went to the one in Prospect Park this past Sunday. Brings a whole new meaning to the idea of "eating locally."


                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: AppleSister

                                      Wow. Wild greens from the park! How exciting. Does the forager have a website?

                                      1. re: BKchompchomp

                                        Yes, I should post something on the NY boards. It's wildmanstevebrill.com.

                                      2. re: AppleSister

                                        I made the Chicken Do-Piaza (page 137) also. A wonderful sauce but some of my family did not like the almost raw just-cooked onion slices. I didn't mind but I love onions. I would make this again but maybe add the onion slices sooner so they could cook a little more.

                                        I made my own ghee (page 83) and now have a good amount to use for other dishes. Really easy.

                                        1. re: bizkat

                                          I also made the Chicken Do-Piaza. I enjoyed it as well and I think that the skinless chicken meat works really well here. I was a bit too impatient for dinner and so I had some problems with the yogurt separating. It was still delicious and we had it for leftovers the next day over rice. I enjoyed it even more then as I had cut up all of the meat prior to serving it over rice.

                                          1. re: bizkat

                                            Chicken Do-Piaza, (p.37)
                                            My turn for this lovely braised dish, only a few years late! ;-)

                                            Like others, I found it to be a flavorful and tender dish. I liked the citrus note that the orange juice added, as well as the flavors of India, which were not so intense that the five-year-old and eight-year-old "Yankees" at my table didn't enjoy them too, spices, cayenne and all. I used clarified butter and rather than leave out the final yoghurt addition because I didn't have any already drained ahead, I used that container of creme fraiche lurking in the refrigerator. It added a suave finish, if not an authentic one, and everyone seemed to enjoy the sauce.

                                            I used a combo of skinned chicken breasts and thighs, adding the breast pieces 10 minutes into the braising time. My chicken took about 10-15 minutes longer to become tender than the recommended 45-minute braising time. And because of the previous comments, I added the onions to the simmering braising liquid to tenderize them about 5 minutes ahead before the chicken was done. I suspect that if I had cut the onions into really thin slices, this may not have been necessary.

                                            Anyway, a very nice introduction to Stevens' poultry chapter!

                                        2. I made the whole chicken with pears and rosemary last night. It was my first time braising meat and I was blown away. I followed Molly's directions precisely, and ended up with a remarkable bird. It was just incredibly tender and fragrant. The dark meat was practically falling off the bone. The pear and rosemary had infused the meat and were a definite presence without being overwhelming. I was most surprised by how subtle and delicate those flavors ended up being. I guess that's the joy of braising. The sauce and pear garnish she suggests was easy and provided a wonderful sweet buttery counterpoint. I served this, as per her suggestion, with buttery polenta which was a good idea as it soaked up all the extra sauce.

                                          I basted the bird every 20 minutes because that's what the recipe said to do, but I don't really think it was necessary. Every time I opened the pot, it was simmering gently and there was plenty of moisture around.

                                          The one serious problem I had was in the browning. The bird's breast browned beautifully, but the skin stuck on the sides. I don't know whether that's because I tried to turn it too soon, or didn't have enough fat in there, or maybe even had the heat turned up too high. I'll have to go back and read her discussion of browning in the introduction. It is very difficult to read that introduction because of how infectious her obvious love of braising is. It makes me want to go cook.

                                          In any event, I loved the way the chicken came out and highly reocmmend it.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: BKchompchomp

                                            Whole chicken braised with pears & rosemary (p. 179)

                                            Made this last night and it was very good. As we were told in cooking class, there are two ways to get to a destination -- you can turn left and then right, or first go right, then left. Same with this chicken. Instead of roast chicken where it cooks and then browns (over time), here you brown the chicken on the stove, and then cook in a braise in the oven.

                                            Molly has you brown a trussed chicken stuffed w/ pear & rosemary sprigs (happily no herb chopping!), brown cut-off wings (and neck, etc. which wasn't included in my bird, so I just used wing tips), saute chopped leeks, shallots & another rosemary sprig, add wine, stock and a little white wine vinegar. Into the oven for about 1 hr, 15 mins. (I did not use parchment paper 'cause my bird near filled up my pot.)

                                            Make a sauce with more pears, butter, sugar, chopped rosemary, and balsamic.
                                            Strain, de-fat and reduce braising liquid, and add to pear mixture. Put sauce over cut-up chicken. Very tasty.

                                            It's more work than roast chicken, and I'm not sure it's all that preferable in terms of how the meat comes out, though flavors were very satisying. Maybe I'll add pears, leeks and shallots to a roast chicken somehow. Oh, and I used seckel pears 'cause that's what I had locally, and they were fine.

                                            Served w/ those chipotle sweet potatoes (heaven on earth), and braised kale. Polenta would be good, but I was out; couldn't roast potatoes 'cause I only have one oven -- I cooked sw potatoes ahead and reheated (and it was impossible not to eat top layer while I cooked the rest of the meal!)

                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                              "It's more work than roast chicken, and I'm not sure it's all that preferable in terms of how the meat comes out, though flavors were very satisfying."

                                              I made this the other night and while I thought the technique made the chicken extra juicy (particularly the breasts) I'm not sure it was worth the trouble. Maybe on a Sunday, but definitely not a weeknight (like this time) with very hungry children hanging on my leg!

                                              As for the flavors, I wasn't in love. Good but not OMG fantastic. The braised pears were like candy (YUM) but the sauce was only fair.

                                            2. re: BKchompchomp

                                              I made this one too. The kitchen smelled heavenly, and the meat was completely infused with the flavor of the rosemary. Normal early-evening family madness was going on all around me, and I wound up not having time to fix the pilaf and the vegetable dishes I had planned. I served it with plain rice and a big salad, and no one complained at all. The reduced sauce was delicious. Needless to say I did not baste every 20 minutes (I think I basted once), but it didn't matter.

                                              1. re: BKchompchomp

                                                Whole Chicken Braised with Pears and Rosemary pg. 179

                                                Made this last night. My oh my, unfortunately the only words that are coming to mind that would describe it are ones that would be attributed to Rachel Ray.....

                                                The only changes that I made to the recipe were substituting cider vinegar for white wine vinegar and subbing Hungarian paprika for the black pepper. Love black pepper but Mr. Clam is allergic to it. When it got to the pear garnish, I was tempted to skip it but I'm VERY happy that I didn't. I don't think my pears were abnormally small, but next time I make this I will use three for the garnish instead of two, because it was just so (can't help myself) "yummo!"

                                                1. re: clamscasino

                                                  My turn for the chicken braised with pears and rosemary, and I agree - very good. The meat is incredibly moist and tasty, and the dark meat practially fell off the bone. I served it to my picky parents, and there wasn't a scrap left.

                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                    2010, here...couple years late on the book:-) Made this chicken and drove the dogs crazy (and me!) with the goood smells. Thanks for making me make the pear garnish--I was going to skip it as being unnecessary.
                                                    The only problem I had was browning the chicken--I got to get a bigger pan because I just could not manuever the chicken, so the skin tore a couple of places.
                                                    Another problem I had was the chicken I got did not come with any of the "innards." This has become
                                                    common within the last 6 months-a very bad trend for cooks. I used Bell and Evans "air-chilled" chicken, so it wasn't a store brand and someone just forgot to put them in.
                                                    The one thing I did differently was instead of taking the veggies out, I just blended them. Made the sauce really thick. The sauce is fab! Caught my SO eating the sauce right out of the pan:-)
                                                    But the chicken is great! The next dish I was thinking of making was the Napoleonic stew. If I do, will let y'all know how it went.

                                              2. Goan Chicken - chicken thighs braised with cilantro, mint and ginger (pg. 140)

                                                OMG, this recipe was amazing. Words cannot even begin to describe how much I loved this dish.

                                                Around lunch time, I decided I was going to braise something to go with the World's Best Cabbage (pg. 59). I flipped through the book - I was looking for a recipe where I had most of the ingredients and a short braising time. I found this and saw that I only needed the bone-in skinless chicken thighs.

                                                I had to take the skin off the thighs. I was not amused. I hate touching raw chicken meat. It grosses me out. But, the recipe says no skin, so I sucked it up and took the skin off. Then I chopped up cilantro leaves, mint leaves, minced ginger, hot peppers, EVOO and garlic.

                                                variation - recipe calls for one deseeded jalepeno pepper. I used one of those, plus a seeded hot cherry pepper. Next time, I'll probably add an additional seeded hot pepper.

                                                Dumped the above herbs/spices and chicken thighs in a zip lock bag and mixed it up. Oh no, recipe says to marinade for 8-24 hours. The thighs only marinaded for 5.5 hours and it was great. I can't even imagine how much more flavor these thighs would have if I let it sit in the stuff longer.

                                                After, I took the chickens out and scraped the herbs back into the marinade. I browned the chicken in two batches. Dumped the excess fat out and poured in 1/4 cup of rum with the leftover marinade to de-glaze the pot. The recipe states that the pan should be on medium high heat and it would take about 3 minutes to reduce the rum to a couple of tablespoons. My pan must have been extra hot because the rum pretty much disappeared. So, I poured in more run, deglazed a bit more and then added the chicken stock. After the stock simmered, I put the thighs back in.

                                                Now, I have an old stove. Often times when I simmer, the flame goes out and I don't notice until the next time I go to stir the pot. This happened again, when I don't know. But, I did simmer longer than the 30 minutes - probably an additional 10 minutes total. Halfway through, I flipped the thighs. After the braising period, the thighs came out and rested on a plate.


                                                I turned the heat up and reduced the liquid. A few minutes later, I added 3T of heavy cream and boiled until the sauce thickened up.

                                                Thighs went on the plate, sauce went on the thighs. I had the cabbage and rice as sides.

                                                I can't even begin to tell you how great the sauce smelled. The thighs were juicy and tender. The sauce was just out of this world. The whole house, 3 hours later, still smells fantastic. My upstairs neighbors (vegetarians) have been drooling...


                                                This one is a keeper. I can't wait to make it again. Actually, I can't wait to eat the leftovers for lunch. I bet the chicken will have even more flavor because the sauce would have soaked into the meat. Yum.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                  That looks so good. Sometimes when I read these threads, it just ends up making me so hungry. You made this chicken dish sound terrific-- another one I'll have to try along with the pear and rosemary chicken.

                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                    Thanks for everyone's reports on this thread! I had already bookmarked the Goan Chicken recipe and will def. have to make it now. I love how braising gets the house all toasty and fragrant! Those poor vegetarian neighbors of yours...

                                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                                      I just finished making this, but since I didn't have heavy cream, I substituted coconut milk. The chicken marinated 24 hours, and I used three Thai chilies instead of a jalapeno in the overnight marinade. After reading your report, I added four more Thai chilies while simmering the sauce, which was about right for a slight heat.

                                                      I agree that the rum & broth vanished too quickly -- I had to add about twice as much of each to avoid a dry pan, and also added more coconut milk as well (which made my sauce more creamy-looking than yours). The dish was great -- definitely a keeper!! While not as yummy as the rosemary/maple syrup short ribs (which I made last night), it was significantly easier and quicker to prepare. While dining I didn't think the coconut milk added much flavor, but when I indulged on some coconut-pineapple Haagen-Daaz afterwards, I realized that the coconut flavor in the chicken was nice and subtle (and complemented the coconut in the ice cream well).

                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                        I just made the Goan Chicken tonight and I have to mirror beetlebug's enthusiasm!! Wow. We loved it! If you haven't tried this recipe, you've got to make it. Just great. I used boneless skinless thighs instead of bone in and no rum in the house, so just used chicken stock for deglazing. I also added a generous handful of scallions to the marinade since I had them. I think the fundamentals of this dish are so great you can do a lot of tinkering. Can't wait to eat my leftovers. And then make it again!

                                                      2. Coq au Vin

                                                        Not sure why I picked this recipe, I think it's just where the cookbook opened. I meant to do something a little quicker and simpler, since I started late and it was a school night. But the final result was worth every bit of time and effort. Yum, yum, oh yum!

                                                        I used a whole chicken which I bought cut-up to save time, plus about five thighs, since my whole chicken didn't weigh as much as the recipe called for. My chicken was missing the neck and innards, which might have added even more flavor.

                                                        Not a big problem browning the chicken, I used two pans (the braising dish and one other) to speed things up, and scraped the extra one into the braising pan before deglazing. As someone commented about another dish, the brandy called for to deglaze vanished immediately, and I added a bit extra.

                                                        Everything went together very smoothly. I did taste the liquid at one point and think, my son is never going to eat this, but that was before it was completely transformed in the hour-long braise, after which no one could have resisted it. (I've never made coq au vin, and if I have ever eaten it, it was not a high quality version, and not memorable, so I didn't have much idea what to expect.)

                                                        I'm curious about the parchment-- I used it, and it seems to have prevented my braising pot from leaking steam. I have a very old braising pot from my mother, and it leaks. Am I right that the parchment was the difference? Or was there just so much braising liquid that some evaporated and I didn't notice?

                                                        My biggest problem was finding the pearl onions. I went to three stores looking for frozen ones, since Molly says you can use those, but no one sells them. All sorts of other exotic veggies, diced onions, etc. Anybody know if TJ's sells them? Eventually I bought fresh, which were less work than I feared. I got distracted and slightly over browned them, but in the end it added a great flavor and was just fine.

                                                        I probably cooked the whole thing about 1 hour 20 or 30 minutes, a few minutes longer than called for, because I was scrambling to finish the onions, which I only bought after putting the chicken in to braise. The meat was falling off the bone, but very moist, didn't seem overcooked.

                                                        The skin -- I personally removed and discarded mine. Not very desirable after the braising. But it had served its purpose and added flavor.

                                                        And was the flavor ever incredible. Complex, luscious, just wonderful. I could have added more pepper. I peppered all the chicken before browning, as the recipe said, and added wherever instructed, and thought it was a lot of pepper, but I could have used even more.

                                                        If I used skinless chicken to cut down on the fat (this sure isn't a low fat recipe, eh), would it do great violence to the final outcome? (Keeping the bacon and the butter, maybe trying to cut back a bit on the butter.) Maybe use skinless thighs, leave the skin on the whole chicken parts?

                                                        Does anyone know how it would taste if I made it in advance and reheated it? I'm having company on a weekday in a couple of weeks, and would love to serve this, but I'd have to make it the night before.

                                                        Can't wait to try the next recipe! I'm thinking Goan Chicken, but who knows.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Anne H

                                                          Your dish sounds wonderful. I will try it soon. So far, I've loved every dish I've made except one and your right they are pretty easy. In answer to your question re the frozen small onions, I've had a hard time finding them as well. I live in the Chicago area and haven't been able to get them at any chain type supermarkets and that includes Trader Joe. I did find them in a very small town country market which is were I go now for them as well as shallots which cost $2.79 for 2 in my area, but cost only .40 there. If you live near a small town with a non-chain type grocery store,you may want to check there. Good Luck.

                                                          1. re: Anne H

                                                            I just bought this cookbook and am very excited to start cooking from it. What is the verdict re making coq au vin a day ahead of time? I'd like to make it for New Year's Eve dinner, but since I have to work during the day I'd need to prepare it on Sunday. Will it still be good the next day? Seems like the flavor could only improve, but the texture (esp. of the breasts) might get a bit dried out. Any tips?



                                                          2. Has anyone dealt with the red pine chicken? I really would like to make it tonight, but I don't see myself getting out to Queens to buy mushroom soy sauce (especially since I would like to have this cooking by the time Lost starts.) Is the soy sauce plus molasses an acceptable substitute?

                                                            1. I made the red pine chicken a couple of weeks ago and thought it was absolutely delicious. I did buy the mushroom sauce, which I've never used before, and thought it tasted just like molasses. So I would bet the molasses plus soy sauce option would work just fine.

                                                              The one problem I ran into was that I used a bigger pan than she recommended and found that the chicken didn't braise as much as it sauteed. Plus, I had a hard time spooning up the sauce to baste the chicken since it was so spread out in the pan. But even with that, it was fantastic. The sauce is so good you'll want to drink it.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: montrose

                                                                Thanks Montrose and BKcc for this timely post - I actually have the mushroom soy from when I made the "Red-Cooked Pork Belly" earlier this year. I'm going to try the Red Pine Chicken tomorow night...will report!

                                                              2. Red Pine Chicken (p. 54)

                                                                This recipe calls for pounding boneless chicken breasts and applying a filling of ground pork mixed with a little sugar and water. Chicken is browned in peanut oil, first filling size up, and then turned over and braised at a very low simmer for about 35 minutes. The braising sauce is made of both mushroom and regular soy, ginger, rice wine, sugar, star anise, and chicken stock. I cheated and used the leftover braise sauce for "Red Cooked Pork Belly" (p. 385) that I had frozen. It's similar, but with the addition of scallions, chinese rock sugar and cinnamon. I used flour instead of the recommended corn starch, and had no problem with the filling adhering to the chicken. It came out very moist and tender. I served it on a bed of braised scallions (p.92), which I REALLY liked as a side to this dish, and a cucumber salad made with mom's Nuoc Cham.


                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                  Red Pine Chicken (p. 54)
                                                                  Loved this and used for lunch the next day in a sandwich - I know odd, but I loved it. I did not use mushroom soy, but I did have great ground pork from a nearby farm - what a perfect use for it. I couldn't believe it but I did not have any problems with this - I kept expecting the pork to come off.

                                                                  1. re: mscoffee1

                                                                    Thanks for the reminder, I need to make this again. And will definitely be trying it in a sandwich!

                                                                2. Whole Braised Chicken with Pears

                                                                  well, i was dying to try this recipe, but didn't have all the ingredients, so i improvised a bit.
                                                                  i had no pears! so i turned to my apples. instead of leeks i used yellow onions as i wanted a stronger onion-y flavor.
                                                                  and instead of rosemary i used thyme...as i love the combo of apples, onion & thyme.
                                                                  the chicken browned perfectly! i let the butter get good and hot, made sure the chicken was bone dry.
                                                                  the braising liquid was divine, as was the sauce, with in my case, the apple garnish. the chicken was juicy and practically falling off the bone

                                                                  on the side i served braised leeks (from the halibut and leeks recipe). BUTTERY and delicious! along with some buttery brown rice.

                                                                  the meal was decadent, a perfect sunday supper.

                                                                  1. Duck Legs with Port and Dried Cherries.

                                                                    Beautiful! It was a bit more time consuming than I anticipated, but worth the effort. It was beautiful to look at (my friend took pics and I'll post if/when I receive( and it also was incredibly fragrant, something I love about cooking and entertaining. My friends were very, very impressed. What's interesting is that i thought this dish might be sweet, but it wasn't particularly so -- VERY important to get UNSWEETENED dried bing cherries, I think.

                                                                    Three notes: 1) Degreasing the gravy was a royal pain -- gravies aren't my strong suit, so I think this may just take some practice on my end. 2) As I noted above, the dish took longer than I thought -- More the result of my poor planning than the recipe timing being off. 3) MY ONE WARNING is to WATCH the broiler VERY carefully at the end. I charred the skin on the legs a bit because, on my stove, at least, it browned A LOT faster than the 8 minutes MS notes.

                                                                    Also, I should note that I made the dish as part of a celebratory bday dinner that also included: Arugula Salad with Pears, Candied Walnuts and Walnut Vinaigrette, Truffled Mashed Potatoes with a real white truffle (WOWEEE!!!!!!!!!!), and homemade Tiramisu. After all that cooking --and cleaning today -- I am happy but exhausted.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: skigirl

                                                                      Thanks for reporting back on this recipe and on your dinner! The duck sounds delicious, so I'll have to put this on my "to make" for winter. Pairing w/ truffled mashed potatoes sounds great too...esp. w/ a REAL truffle!

                                                                      I hate defatting gravy too. I know that there are tools one can buy for that, but I don't have any and not even sure they work. I start by skimming w/ a small ladle and then finish using the paper towel method--gently lay a paper towel flat on the surface and then remove. It's amazing how it just sucks up the surface oil.

                                                                      1. re: skigirl

                                                                        WOW - what a meal. I'm so glad you reported back. I'll definitely have to try the duck this winter. It sounds delicious! Don't forget to post pics when you get them ;)

                                                                      2. I am way behind on this cookbook of the month thing. I think I need to scale back to cookbook of the year...

                                                                        In any case I made the chicken breasts with parsnips and hard cider last night. This is my 4th recipe from the book, but only the first that has "wowed" me. I mean the short ribs with porter, rosemary and maple were great, but I only expected that from the list of ingredients and time involved. This chicken dish, on the other hand, was thrown together on a weeknight and has a short list of ingredients with one interesting element (the hard cider). And it includes its own side veggie - it was a one-pot meal. The cider added much more of an acid note than I was expecting, so the dish was not that sweet. The parsnips, which ended up sort of glazed, were the star of the show. My husband, not a parsnip, fan, pronounced it "yummy".

                                                                        Because of what I had on hand, I used boneless skinless breasts and English-style bacon, which possibly made the dish lower in saturated fat. But the b.s. breasts did create some problems, the chicken was too dry/stringy. I reduced the braising time but not the browning time, maybe I should have done the reverse?

                                                                        The major problem I had was the same as the short rib recipe. I halved the recipe, but only reduced the braising liquid by 1/2 a cup. I still ended up with next to no sauce, definitely nothing to reduce as she suggests. I don't think I'm boiling the liquid away, but something about less meat in the pot is doing me in here. But I think a lot of the liquid ended up in the parsnips making them so good.

                                                                        1. let's say you want to cook a chicken. Roasted is not what you're after, and you remember Molly Stevens' poached chicken w/ pears. But wait -- you don' t have pears or fresh rosemary. Here's what you can do, or what I did this week: make the recipe w/ apples and dried thyme, using the same technique (though w./o adornment of pears accompanying, which IMHO is gilding the lily)

                                                                          Came out great! Flexible and very good technique.

                                                                          1. Let's say you want to poach a chicken a la Molly Stevens. No pears? No rosemary? I'm here to say: no problem.
                                                                            I had a high quality natural chicken that I didn't feel like roasting and wanted to poach. I had some apples and substituted dried thyme for the rosemary. Came out very well, indeed. Not over the top as is Molly's recipe w/ pear garnishment, but still made a nice meal and excellent juicy tender breast meat I used for sandwiches during the week.

                                                                            1. Duck Ragu with Pasta (pg. 203)

                                                                              Wow, Wow, Wow. This was delicious. Fairly labor intensive but totally worth it. All total, it was probably 1.5 - 2 hours of active prep time and 2 hours of braising time. But, a good portion of the prep can be done prior to company arriving which helped my dinner planning.

                                                                              Per the recipe, I browned 4 Moulard duck legs. Stupidly, I dumped the fat out - I was multi tasking and clearly not thinking. Live and learn. After the ducks are browned, season the pan with the aromatics (carrots, onions, celery, garlic, canned tomatoes, rosemary and allspice). Add the liquids (white wine and chicken stock). All this also includes the browned bits of duck stuff that was stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the duck legs back in, tuck bay leaves between the leaves and stick it into the oven.

                                                                              The braising duck smelled unbelievable. The house was so fragrant and I was ready to chew my arm off. However, I was making this a day early so I was self torturing myself with thoughts of duck. Sigh.

                                                                              The duck then rested in the liquid and then was refrigerated. A few hours before I served it, I separated the skin from the duck and shredded the meat. I kept the meat in a separate bowl. I warmed/simmered the sauce (more chunky then saucy) and about half an hour before dinner, I put the duck meat back in. I also chopped and crisped up the skin to serve as a condiment for the pasta dish).

                                                                              When my guests arrived, I cooked the pasta, reserving a cup of the water. I added the pasta directly to the duck ragu pot and tossed from there. I added a smidge of cooking water to give the sauce a little liquid and brought it to the table. Each guest added cracklings to the dish.

                                                                              The duck was so tender and the sauce incorporated into the pasta beautifully. The chunks of carrots and celery melded right in with the canned tomatoes. The duck practically melted in my mouth. Each bit of duck was infused with veggie flavor. It's almost indescribable. So, here are pictures instead.

                                                                              1. Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives (p.176 I think)

                                                                                We really liked this and it was fairly easy to put together if not exactly quick.

                                                                                First of all you combine toasted, ground cumin seeds with smoked paprika, chilli flakes, saffron and ground black pepper. Brown the chicken (I used thighs ) in butter and olive oil on both sides - you have to make sure the skin is very dry first. This renders quite a bit of fat - you pour most of it off, then add sliced onions and garlic. When the onions have begun to soften, add the spice mix and continue to cook for a minute or two. Add 3/4 cup of water and deglaze the pan. Then return the chicken, and braise for ten minutes. After 10 mins, turn the chicken, add the juice of half a lemon and some chopped parsley and coriander and braise for another 20 mins. After 20 mins, turn the chicken again and add the olives (I used fleshy Greek ones) and preserved lemon - rind only. Braise for another ten minutes then remove the chicken (It was starting to fall off the bone by now), add the juice of the other half of the lemon and more herbs and boil the sauce to reduce it for about five mins. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with couscous.

                                                                                As I said, we thought this was very nice. The flavours were subtle but bright from the lemon, and the chicken very tender. As good as any similar chicken dish I've eaten in Morocco.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                  Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives, p. 169

                                                                                  We LOVED this dish. Though you had better like preserved lemon and green olives (which I do).

                                                                                  I used 4 legs & thighs, prepared at GG described. I didn't have any cilantro, so I subbed a bit of tarragon, since it's not dead yet. I used standard pimento stuffed olives, which probably added extra saltiness. I had just read a Cook's Illustrated article on how water blooms saffron, so I mixed a little water into the spice mix before sauteeing it. I went for the chicken liver in the sauce option. Oh, and looking at the recipe I see I forgot to add any fresh ground pepper. Well, no matter. As GG says, the flavors were subtle, and yet we also found them quite pervasive and addictive. Mmm, preserved lemon and olives!

                                                                                  I'm really looking forward to leftovers!

                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives, p. 169

                                                                                    This was my second time for this recipe last night. I already know I like it and it is one of the best. Better than the usual Chicken Tagine recipes, which usually do not brown the meat. I also cooked Roden's tagin from "Arabesque" last week, but this one has much more flavor because of the browning process, I guess.

                                                                                    Last week at my local Homegoods/TjMaxx, I found a small jar of "Mustapha's Moroccan preserved lemons" imported from Morroco. Also, Pimenton de la Vera's somked paprika imported from Spain was on sale there. So, I was very well ready for the ingredience. My guess is they were originally a part of a gift basket for the holiday season, but due to the bad economy, they might not have been sold well and ended up with TJ maxx just for $4 each. Amazing finds!

                                                                                    I followed Karen's good suggestion on saffron with water. The flavors from saffron and smoked paprika were subtle but well harmonized. My 3.5 LC buffet casserole accomodated 8 small chicken tighs easily. I browned them as 2 batches. We had the leftovers today and it was even better than yesterday.

                                                                                    I will make this recipe probably at least once per month from now. It is easy to make but still very impressive if you get a preserved lemon and good paprika. A nice presentation with my orange/flame color LC buffet casserole. (If it is in Dijion color, it is even better.) Just straight from the oven to the table. With its heavy lid on, the meal is kept warm long enough. If you have a LC buffet casserole, it is what you must cook!

                                                                                  2. I'm making the chicken and pork adobo tonight. I've made it many times before and it's great. One tweak that I make is that I use coconut vinegar and add some serranos to the relish. I'd like to hear what other changes people have made...

                                                                                    1. Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider & Parsnips pg. 151

                                                                                      Well, consider the parsnip! I've really only used them (in the past) as an addition to the aromatic vegetables included in stock-making, and occasionally will throw one into soup, but here is a vegetable I really have never cooked with. And in this dish it is the star of the show.

                                                                                      Anyway, the recipe first calls for sauteing bacon cut into 1/2 inch strips in a bit of oil until crisp. Then the bacon is removed and most of the fat poured off. Next, seasoned chicken breasts (bone-in and skin included) are browned in the fat. Then those are removed. A bit of minced shallot is quickly sauteed and then 2 cups of hard cider are added to the pan to deglaze. Stevens says to reduce the cider to one half cup, but this was taking too long and so I only reduced it by about half. (But who can really tell once it's in the pan?) Then finely chopped rosemary and an additional 1/2 cup cider are added and reduced some more.

                                                                                      When that is all done, 1 pound of parsnips (peeled and woody core removed) cut into "sticks" are placed in the pan. The reserved bacon gets sprinkled on top and then the chicken breasts are laid, skin side down on top. The whole is covered with parchment paper and the pan lid and slid into the oven (325 degrees) and braised for about 50 minutes, turning the breasts over half way through.

                                                                                      Stevens says in her intro that: "This elegant dish needs no accompaniment other than a pretty table setting and a few candles." Well, I never before thought of a parsnip as "elegant" but in this dish it, well, was. The sauce was incredibly rich and silky. I did go ahead and cook up some noodles (campanelle) to go with it and was very glad I did. The shape of the noodles was perfect for catching up the sauce (and I probably had more sauce than was intended since I didn't reduce it as much as called for).

                                                                                      All in all, simple and delicious. BTW I used Woodchuck Draft Cider "Pale and Dry" which is made in Vermont. Here's my picture....

                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                        Thanks for this! I have a pile of parsnips from my CSA and I usually just roast them and serve as a side. I haven't made one recipe from this cookbook that's disappointed me, so I'm definitely going to give this a go.

                                                                                        1. re: Chris VR

                                                                                          Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. I am now thinking of parnips in a whole new light. Oh yeah, hard cider too.

                                                                                          1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                            WE made this last week. I liked it well enough but it wasn't the home run that almost every recipe from this book has been for me. We did make it with boneless, skinless breasts because that's what I had on hand. I held them back for the first 20 minutes of the parsnips cooking, which I think helped them from drying out. This took a bit more prep time than I'd expected- it took a while for all the cider to cook down.

                                                                                            It was fine, but other dishes I've made from this book have been really stellar, so I probably wouldn't bother with it again over another recipe I really live (short ribs n rosemary and porter mmmmm).

                                                                                            One plus is it did get me to buy some Woodchuck Limited Release Oak Aged cider, which is some truly excellent stuff.

                                                                                        2. re: clamscasino

                                                                                          Chicken Breasts Braised with Hard Cider and Parsnips, Pg. 151

                                                                                          We made this dish tonight and liked it very well indeed. However I must admit that we used bone-in chicken thighs with skin but that was the only substitution, We loved the inclusion of the hard cider and will take her advice and use it in the future to deglaze a pan when making pan sauce instead of wine. We had Woodchuck made in Vermont, dark and dry.... still, not bubbly. It was delicious! Served it with baked Delicata squash drizzled with Grade B Vermont maple syrup, a pat of butter and S & P. Lovely meal.

                                                                                          DH is watching the Pats game otherwise I'd still be downstairs sopping up the juices with a nice chunck of freshly baked bread.....

                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            My husband made this last night too. I love the simplicity of the ingredients, and well, I love me some hard cider! :-) He handed me one and told me to sit down while he cooked, so I did just that! This smelled SO good while it was cooking. And tasted even better. Will definitely make this again. It reminds me of a restaurant here called Justus Drugstore- they always have gourmet food, but with a very homey feel. Loved it!

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              I made this last night using free-range chicken breasts. Mr GG loved it. I really liked the sauce and the parsnips, but I have realised that I am not overly fond of chicken breast, even though these were tasty and moist. So I may sub thighs next time as well (although Mr GG does prefer the white meat so I may have to sacrifice myself). Cider is very common here, so I've cooked with it quite a bit. One of my favourite recipes is for chicken cooked with garlic, cider and cream.

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                GG, that chicken cooked with garlic, cider and cream sounds great and didn't turn up in a quick google search. Can you post it? Thanks...

                                                                                                1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                  Here's a version of it. The cornflour is not in the original recipes, and four cloves per person is a bit much - I think Nigel says six cloves for two but I'd have to check that when I get home.


                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                    Thanks, GG. Funny, he credits Real Fast Food but that recipe is not in my (early) edition of the cookbook. But having gotten it out to check, of course I saw other recipes I'd been meaning to make....

                                                                                                    1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                      It's from the 30-Minute Cook, which is one of his best.

                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                I made this dish for the first time this evening. We loved it! I used parsley root in place of parsnips and boneless skinless breasts. The chicken was a tad on the dry side from being boneless skinless but had great flavor. The parsley root was delicious and the sauce was stellar. I'd totally make this again and would serve it to company with confidence.

                                                                                              3. re: clamscasino

                                                                                                I've got the Chicken Breasts with Hard Cider and Parsnips in the oven right now. It's my first time using this recipe. I was a little puzzled, though, because of the amount of liquid in the pan. Per the recipe, there's about 3/4 cup after the two reductions, and with the parsnips on the bottom of the pan, the chicken hardly sits in any liquid at all. Is this still considered a "braise"?

                                                                                                1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                                  I bought a gallon of apple cider at the farmer's market about a month ago. With this recipe in mind, I wanted to make my own hard cider. I let it ferment naturally and, frankly, I'm really not sure just what I've got here. I'm pretty sure it's "hard"; although it doesn't have bubbles in it, it does taste sort of fizzy. But the flavor isn't all that pleasing. Actually, it doesn't have much flavor at all. But I went ahead with the dish anyway. As written.

                                                                                                  I really enjoyed it, even though, like you, gg, I'm not much for chicken breasts. And despite what I thought of the cider as a drink, I was very happy with the taste of the sauce. It's not the kind of dish I would serve to company, so I probably won't make it again, but I'll definitely stand on the plus side of the divide on this one.

                                                                                                2. Chicken and Pork Adobado, Pg. 144

                                                                                                  Although the recipe calls for country-style pork ribs I used a well marbled pork loin which I sliced into roughly the same size as ribs and combined that with chicken thighs. The meat was marinated for one hour in the fridge. The marinade is made by combining garlic, white wine vinegar, water, soy sauce, lime zest, brown sugar and salt & pepper. We put the meat and marinade into a covered bowl and turned the meat every 15 minutes or so.

                                                                                                  The contents of the bowl is placed into a 4 1/2 qt. braising pan, brought it to a bubble and then covered and braised on the stove. Every 15-ish minutes the meat is turned over so it will braise evenly. We braised for almost 1 hour.

                                                                                                  When the braise is done the ribs are removed to a platter and any fat is skimmed off the sauce. While the sauce is reducing, the ribs and chicken are dried off and then browned in a bit of oil. Then the meat is returned to the reduced sauce to coat. We liked this very well, although I have to say I think using the loin instead of country ribs was not a wise decision. The loin was only 1.35 lbs and I thought this recipe would be a good use of such a small roast....Live and learn.

                                                                                                  As an accompaniment to the Adobo we made the suggested Tomato Relish on pg. 147, I think it is. We diced 3 small-ish cored tomatoes, finely diced 1/2 white onion and put that mix into a small bowl. Added some lime juice and salt and that was the extent of the recipe. Mixed it all up and served it and steamed Jasmine rice with the Adobado. My first thought was that the relish could have used some chopped jalapeño or pepperoncino but I resisted the urge to add it. Very unlike me. This was a pretty simple recipe and very satisfying as well. There's not a drop left.....

                                                                                                  1. Chicken Fricassee with Artichokes & Mushrooms (page 164)

                                                                                                    Had a whole chicken and a lot of mushrooms and, much to my surprise, the local not-so-super market had canned artichoke bottoms, so decided to give this a go. Made as written, except that the market didn’t have marjoram so I doubled up on the thyme. And, bless them, they’d never even heard of crème fraiche, but I had some heavy cream so bought some buttermilk and made my own.

                                                                                                    In short: Cook dredged chicken pieces in butter until just golden. Soften quartered mushrooms, thinly sliced onion, and quartered artichoke bottoms in the remaining butter. Layer chicken, vegetables, garlic, and herb sprigs in a Dutch oven and braise about an hour. Remove chicken and veg to a platter; flame cognac, boil down wine, add crème fraiche and an optional squeeze of lemon and boil down a bit to thicken. Pour over chicken and veg and serve with optional croutons.

                                                                                                    This is one of those take it out, put it in, take it out, put it in recipes so it’s more conducive to a lazy afternoon than a get-it-on-the-table quick evening—but that’s true of most of her recipes, isn’t it?

                                                                                                    Very tasty for a dish that really doesn’t have a whole lot in the way of herbs and spices. The sauce—aren’t most of hers?—was divine. Didn’t serve it with the croutons as she suggested, but if I make this again I surely will. Something to sop up the sauce—although there’s not a whole lot of it--would have been just right.

                                                                                                    I liked this a lot; very comforting on a cold winter night. But there was something slightly off about the canned artichoke bottoms. The market had Roland brand, a brand I usually find quite reliable. But these were too metallic, just a touch overpowering—even after having been rinsed. She does recommend using the canned. Perhaps another brand would be better. I’d be tempted to make my own from fresh artichokes when in season, but I did that once before and swore it was something I’d never, ever, do again. We’ll see.

                                                                                                    Anyway, not really a good enough presentation for company, at least to my mind, but good, flavorful comfort food. I enjoyed it.

                                                                                                    (Damn. Can't load photo. "Browse" button won't activate. It was a pretty good shot, too. Will try again later.)

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                      Maybe try with frozen artichokes? Easier and better than the canned.

                                                                                                      1. re: karykat

                                                                                                        Don't recall having seen frozen artichokes. Are they bottoms? whole baby artichokes? She says in the intro not to use artichoke hearts because they're too stringy. I adore artichokes--in all forms--so I'll be happy to buy frozen ones, if I can find them, and give them a test run. Thanks for the suggestion.

                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          In the UK you can usually found frozen artichoke bottoms in Middle Eastern stores. I don't think I've ever seen frozen hearts. They're great. I love artichokes as well but hate preparing them fresh.

                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                            No, they're not the whole artichokes. I think they're the same parts you buy in cans, but frozen. The hearts are the interior parts that have bracts that are more tender than the outer ones, right? And the bottoms are more tender. Now I'm not sure which parts are frozen and will look at the store next time.

                                                                                                            (By the way, making your Chicken Marbella adaptation for a potluck tomorrow night. Love it!!!)

                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              I don't recall seeing frozen artichoke bottoms in the US, but hearts aren't too hard to find. There are boxes of them in the supermarkets that are somewhat pricey, and Trader Joe's has well-priced bags. As karykat says, much superior to canned, though perhaps not a candidate for this dish.

                                                                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                            Well, that's weird. Couldn't upload the photo here on the Home Cooking board, but I was able to upload it over on the Tech Help board. So here's a link to the photo in my photo gallery:


                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              Chicken Fricassee with Artichokes & Mushrooms (page 164).

                                                                                                              I loved this and I even made it with a store brand cheap chicken. I had forgotten how wonderful a fricassee can be. I remember fondly one from Julia Child's with paprika I think. I do love the ease and taste of the crème fraiche (homemake with heavy cream and buttermilk). In any event, this was lovely, sauce perfect and the chicken infused by the herbs, cognac and wine.

                                                                                                              I made this using both fresh and canned artichokes. I cooked the fresh artichokes per instructions in the variation except I keep some leaves and choke until after the initial cooking in lemon water with flour. I was surprised that there was not a greater taste difference in the canned vs fresh artichokes.

                                                                                                              It also reheated well.

                                                                                                            2. Chicken Do-Piaza p. 137

                                                                                                              EPIC FAIL

                                                                                                              The sauce was uninspired. The texture OFF. I can't even eat it. Very disappointed.

                                                                                                              This is meal #2 from this book for this week. Sunday was the Short Ribs with Maple/Porter (YUM) and later on in the week will be the Chicken Breasts with Cider and Parsnips. I <3 braising and have been pleasantly surprised by this book so tonight was unexpected and, like I said, disappointing.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                Do let us know how the next two turn out. Both would be high on my list to try.

                                                                                                                1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                  Good to know that I am not the only one. I made it a couple weeks ago but I know I should not have used reduced fat yogurt. May be that was not a good idea. I like some of other chicken recipes better, such as Moroccan Chicken ( Yam!) and Goan (Yam x 100!).
                                                                                                                  Coincidently, I also plan to cook the Short Ribs this weekend. Let's see how it goes.

                                                                                                                2. Quick Lemony Chicken with Prunes & Green Olives - Page 131

                                                                                                                  - Made it tonight. Used my 3.5 qt LC buffet Casserole and 8 chicken thighs
                                                                                                                  - This is my second time for this recipe. Now, I believe that the key to success for this recipe is to use FRESH plums. If you do not have them, skip it and make other chicken recipes. There are bunch of them in this book. Or grapes as substitution might work.
                                                                                                                  - Last time, I used dry plums as no fresh ones are available and soaked them as page 134 instructed. The result was not inspired. DH hated the mushy plums.
                                                                                                                  - So, this time for revenge, I used fresh plums. Turned out an excellent dish. The difference is significant. The natural sweetness of the fresh plumd harmonized very well with lemony sauce. As sides, prepared egg noodles as Molley recommended. Also, used arugula as I thought the peppery taste would match the dish. We both love the recipe and the combination. Quick & easy. Excellent weekday dinner.
                                                                                                                  - Make it again. Yes, but only when fresh plums are available. Or maybe using grapes as substitution works. Also, using a fresh lemon juice instead of (totally or partly) white wine vinegar is my idea for the next time.

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: hobbybaker

                                                                                                                    Tonight this was the first recipe I've cooked from All About Braising. I wasn't sure about the chicken thighs, because I usually don't like them and much prefer breast meat. I used the thighs anyway. And I absolutely loved this recipe! The word that kept going through my mind as I ate it was "succulent".

                                                                                                                    My prunes were pretty moist, so I didn't soak them ahead of time. (In fact, the only prunes I had were those that were individually wrapped, so had to unwrap each one!)

                                                                                                                    Although I have a well stock spice shelf, somehow I didn't have whole cloves, so just used a bit of ground cloves. I decided to serve carrots with this and was going to cook them separately. However, I thought, hmm, and threw them in the pan about at the half-way point, which was perfect! Served with buttered egg noodles - the heavier kind.

                                                                                                                    This was so good. I can't believe I haven't done much braising before. I'm really excited about this book and this technique!

                                                                                                                    1. re: MMari

                                                                                                                      MMari, I've been cooking from this book for about 7 years now (more or less). I've never been disappointed. The short ribs with porter and rosemary are amazing as are many of the veggie dishes--cabbage, brussell sprouts and others.

                                                                                                                    2. re: hobbybaker

                                                                                                                      Quick Lemony Chicken with Prunes and Green Olives, p. 131

                                                                                                                      My turn to make this, the first recipe I have tried from this book which was a Christmas gift this year.

                                                                                                                      It was just delicious. Made it just as listed--using a Meyer lemon as recommended in the variation. I used four whole chicken legs, which made for an impressive-looking serving on the plate. The braising combo of Picholine olives, dried plump prunes, and chopped Meyer lemon, along with dry white wine and white wine vinegar for the sauce, created a piquant but not assertive result. Layers of flavors in a sauce of several tablespoons for each chicken piece. Served with braised potatoes with bay leaves, and roasted green beans with shallots.

                                                                                                                      A homey dish for a supper with friends and family on a cool winter/spring evening. Can be made ahead and reheated.

                                                                                                                    3. Braised Turkey Thighs with Onions & Butternut Squash

                                                                                                                      Photos for all steps and final dish: http://twofoodiesonejourney.blogspot....

                                                                                                                      Thanksgiving is normally for us a good reason to take time off and travel around. The last few years we went to extended trips to San Francisco and Las Vegas and so didn’t really have to worry about what to cook for Thanksgiving. This year with a new baby we didn’t feel she was old enough yet to travel for a longer time and decided for the first time in six years to stay at home during the holidays, which also meant we had to think about what we wanted to cook for that special day. Even though Thanksgiving isn’t really known and celebrated in Germany and so isn’t associated with a special dish or ingredient we felt that we should try to capture the spirit of this holiday in the US with our dish. At the same time the idea to cook a large turkey and having turkey leftovers for the next several weeks wasn’t appealing to us as normally we try to avoid eating the same thing again and again as it gets boring very fast. We thought about using some other poultry or just braising some beef for this occasion but somehow it didn’t feel right for Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                      When we started to look into the history of what was served for Thanksgiving in the US it became very fast clear that turkey was now for centuries the preferred main dish for Thanksgiving. There are several different theories why turkey is the preferred meat for Thanksgiving including one with Queen Elizabeth who celebrated during a harvest fest the news of the destruction of the Spanish Armada on its way to England with a roasted goose which later became a turkey when the pilgrims arrived in America. But the most likely explanation might be also the most unexciting one – cows and chickens were too valuable, pork not fit for a special occasion, venison would require hunting and geese were more difficult to raise so that turkeys remained as a best choice – cheap, plentiful and easy to raise.

                                                                                                                      And so it was clear for us that we would have to have turkey for Thanksgiving but instead of cooking up a whole one we decided to pick up one of the tastier parts - thighs. Since one of the main problems with roasting a turkey is often that they end up dry we thought that braising would resolve this issue and yield a moist piece of turkey. And what better to capture the fall season with a Thanksgiving dish than also to include squash so that in the end we settled on Braised Turkey Thighs with Onions & Butternut Squash.

                                                                                                                      The turkey thighs turned out to be as moist as we hoped for and had the right consistency of being very tender without being too soft. We prefer the dark meat flavor which can stand up against stronger tasting side dishes compared to the often rather flavorless white meat. Braising of course has the disadvantage that even though it will not provide you a dried out piece of meat it can’t give you the crispy skin which is often a very nice feature of poultry. But the major drawback for us was that the turkey thighs had still some tough tendon/connective tissue that didn’t soften enough even after braising and which required some knife work to still enjoy the turkey. As much as we enjoyed the meat the real star of the dish for us were the vegetables and the sauce made of out the braising liquid and pancetta. Both butternut squash and sweet onions provided a wonderful foundation for the whole dish with a combination of sweetness and certain earthiness characteristic for especially winter squash. The vegetables were also briefly braised in the braising liquid of the turkey thighs which helped to permeate the vegetables with the herbs and the crumbled pancetta completed this dish. Next time we will try to braise the thighs for a longer time at a lower temperature to remove all connective tissue and it should make this dish perfect as great meal for a festive day.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                        Lovely story, honkman. But I see from the photos on your blog that you used both turkey thighs and legs for this dish whereas the original recipe calls for thighs only. When you say the thighs still had “tough tendon/connective tissue that didn’t soften enough,” I wonder if you’re not talking about the legs as opposed to the thighs. The former have more tendons than the latter and those tendons aren’t going to soften even if they are cooked longer. I’ve only braised turkey legs once, and in that instance I cooked them until the meat was falling off the bone since that’s the easiest way to get to the meat without having to struggle

                                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                          I was wondering about that too. I don't care for turkey legs even cooked really well, but thighs have no connective tissue.

                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                            You are correct regarding thighs and legs and we might reword it.

                                                                                                                        2. Braised Rabbit with Roasted Red Pepper & Merguez Sausage (p. 207)

                                                                                                                          This recipe was good, but not one of my favorites. The rabbit was moist and tender and the sauce was delicious, but I think I expected a bit more flavor from the dish (perhaps because the description reminded me of a restaurant dish I had once the drew a lot more flavor from the sausage ... and some foie gras). I scaled the recipe in half so I only needed to buy one rabbit as it was just for two.

                                                                                                                          She does a good job of walking you through cutting up the rabbit which was very appreciated as the only other time I've cooked rabbit, the butcher did the cutting. After you've cut up the rabbit, the legs and saddle are marinated with olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes. While it marinates, you roast the rest of the rabbit bones to make a quick stock with onion, carrot, garlic, parsley stems, peppercorns, bay leaf, salt, and chicken stock or water. You can skip this step to save time or if you didn't buy a whole rabbit, but the stock smelled very good while it was simmering! Meanwhile, roast the red pepper and peel it once it has cooled.

                                                                                                                          Once the stock and marinating is done, preheat the oven to 300. Sear the rabbit legs and saddle and set aside. Brown onion and celery and then add garlic, pimenton or paprika (I used hot paprika I picked up while on vacation in Budapest), and tomato paste. Add some sherry and cook until you have a wet paste. Then add your rabbit stock and reduce the whole mixture down. The rabbit legs, some parsley, and saddle go back in the dish. It's covered with parchment paper and a lid and placed in the oven to cook for an hour.

                                                                                                                          Meanwhile, the sausage is sliced and browned. Then the pepper strips are warmed with sherry. The sausage is mixed back with the pepper and set aside. If you have the liver and kidneys, those are also cooked up and the pan deglazed with a bit more sherry and set aside.

                                                                                                                          When the rabbit is almost tender, the sausage and peppers are mixed in with the rabbit and the whole thing is returned to the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, stir in the liver and kidney and sprinkle with a bit more parsley.

                                                                                                                          The end result was good, but for all the steps and delicious ingredients, I wanted it to be amazing. I think I'd go back to Hazan's rabbit braised in red wine recipe before returning to this one.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                                                                                            Upon further review of the leftovers, I'm going to change my opinion. Definitely worth making, but make it in advance to allow the flavors to meld!

                                                                                                                            1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                                                                                              So true of so many braises. But so hard to put into practice.

                                                                                                                            2. re: TxnInMtl

                                                                                                                              This is my absolute favorite dish from this book. I've made it 5 or 6 times now and everyone has always really liked it. I made a double batch of it recently for a dinner party and had a lot of leftover braising liquid with some marguez sausage, red peppers and threads of rabbit mixed in. I couldn't bring myself to throw it out but didn't have any planned use for it. Yesterday at the farmer's market, inspiration hit when I found cheese curds. I reduced the liquid for a couple of hours, added a little roux, and made a rabbit poutine that was almost as good as the original dish.

                                                                                                                            3. Braised Whole Chicken with Bread Stuffing & Bacon Recipe page 183
                                                                                                                              I loved this stuffing which I, of course, modified. I used dried cranberries instead of currants and no pine nuts. A stuffing with bread, onions, celery, parsley and ham. Maybe I haven't had stuffing in a while, but it was great. The chicken is stuffed and trussed and covered in bacon and braised in a well seasoned wine liquid with onion, etc. and browned chicken extras like wing tips and neck. It takes about an hour (my chicken was smaller than called for). Then the bacon is browned in the oven. The extra stuffing is baked separately covered and uncovered to allow to get crispy. The stuffing in and out of the chicken was great. I removed the fat from the sauce and added the heavy cream - lovely. I will probably double the stuffing in the future.
                                                                                                                              This was easier than I thought especially if you make the stuffing the day before. Leftovers reheated nicely as is or for a warm chicken sandwich.