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Mar 31, 2012 10:26 PM

April 2012 COTM: Melissa Clark Month, Cook This Now: Autumn

Please use this thread to discuss the chapters in Cook This Now, Autumn: October; November, December, pages 288 - 386.

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  1. My Mother's Garlic and Thyme-Roasted Chicken Parts with Mustard Croutons (p. 373)

    This is one of the bonus recipes from ITKWGA. She mentions something about having to put the chicken under the broiler if you want crisp skin, which struck me as odd in a roast chicken recipe, and since my broiler doesn't work, I decided to go with skinless boneless thighs for this, so take the chicken comments with a grain of salt. Basically the chicken part of this was fine but nothing special, but man, the mustard croutons were to die for.

    So, you take some sort of country bread or ciabatta and slice into /12 inch slices. Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with these slices, then brush with mustard, drizzle with olive oil, and add S&P. Season the chicken all over, then put them on top of the bread. Add a bay leaf and some thyme, the cloves from a head of garlic and pour more olive oil over this. If using the chicken parts she calls for, you cook for 50 minutes. I only cooked for 35 and that seemed just right. Again, we all liked this, especially the croutons. Served with

    Winter Salad with Fennel, Radicchio, Walnuts and Manchego (p. 355)

    This salad was absolutely fantastic. I could have eaten the whole bowl (glad I didn't though - this was a rich meal!). Dressing is lemon juice, garlic, S&P, olive oil. Then add grated cheese and toasted walnuts. Sliced radicchio and fennel make up the vegetable portion, and shaved manchego curls are added at the end. Very very tasty.

    4 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      Mmmm, Chickeny mustard croutons sounds great. Will have to add that one to the list.

      1. re: LulusMom

        My Mother's Garlic and Thyme-Roasted Chicken Parts with Mustard Croutons (p. 373)

        Made this last night, and we all liked it. The prep was just as LulusMom describes, so I won't repeat it. We used bone in, skin on thighs, and cooked everything in a cast iron skillet, which worked well. I cooked at 425 for about 50 minutes, then blasted with high heat for another 5--10 minutes to brown the chicken skin and crisp the croutons more. (I cook on a vintage stove, and I usually have to add extra oven time.) The croutons were indeed delicious. The texture surprised me a bit because I expected the bread to crisp up all the way through. Mine were definitely crispy on the bottom but soft on the top (not surprising, really, with all the chicken juices that dripped into them. But they were very nice with the chicken, sort of like savory chicken and waffles. The dish was a snap to put together - yet another weeknight winner from Ms. Clark.

        1. re: Westminstress

          I made this with bone-in, skin-on thighs, too (posted in the ITKWAGA thread: ), and also thought it was great. The croutons were just luscious with all those drippings soaked in. I don't really want to think about the calories, but I'll definitely do it again.

      2. Red Chard with Pine Nuts, Garlic, and Golden Rum Raisins, page 363.

        I found some beautiful (and inexpensive) organic red chard in the market, and with the simple additions in this recipe, it was elevated to a special side. Golden raisins are simmered in rum and water, until they're happily plump and inebriated. Pine nuts are toasted until golden. Then the chard is quickly cooked in oil and garlic, and the raisins and pine nuts are tossed in. This was an attractive dish, with interesting flavors. And, obviously, quick and easy. A hit with the braised pork shoulder that was our main course.

        3 Replies
        1. re: L.Nightshade

          Red Chard with Pine Nuts, Garlic, and Golden Rum Raisins, page 363.

          I copied your menu for the evening, L. Nightshade. I hope you don't mind! This was a great little side. I was out of pine nuts, so I used almonds instead which also worked quite well. My one quibble with the recipe is I wish they had included weights. I scaled the recipe in half because we had two bunches of chard in our CSA box, but it still ended up being more raisins and nuts per chard than I might've wished. All in all though, I minor complaint for a tasty side.

          1. re: TxnInMtl

            I agree with you on the weights. I took the only two chard bunches at the store, but I think they were small by bunch standards, weights would have been helpful for scaling the other amounts. Glad to hear it worked well with almonds; I enjoyed this dish but pine nuts are usually too dear!

            1. re: L.Nightshade

              I've subbed walnuts without causing too much pandemonium. Depends on the recipe, I am guessing.

        2. Ham Bone, Greens and Bean Soup, Pg. 316

          This a soup to warm the cockles of any heart. (I've often wondered where those are located...) Luckily for me Ms Clark allows variations on her theme here and I made quite good use of that. Instead of a ham bone I used 5 oz. of cooked roast ham - diced, and instead of the specified pinto beans I used cannellini which I had already cooked per Molly Stevens' recipe in All About Braising so they were well seasoned. Finally I had about 3/4 cup left over cabbage stir-fry so stirred that in near the end of the cooking which added a nice smoky flavor to the soup. I omitted 4 strips of bacon sliced in 1/2 inch pieces.

          The first thing to do is cook the beans. If you do use the bacon, cook the pieces till crisp then remove and drain on a paper towel. Diced carrot, celery, onion is added to the bacon fat in the pan and cooked till soft. Add chopped garlic and cook 1 minute. Continue as the directions in the above link state and you'll have a hearty, soothing soup in your tummy and repertoire. Don't forget to have a fresh loaf of crusty bread at the ready. BTW: the L/O stir-fry vegetables and cooked beans were added to the soup at the same time I added the kale.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            Re: cannelli beans. Was this recipe with the escarole in Stevens' book?

            1. re: beetlebug

              Yes, that's the recipe. I like her recipe best of all I've tried.

          2. Golden Parsnip Latkes, p. 351

            I love parsnips, so not surprisingly, I thought parsnips made into latkes and fried in duck fat were fantastic. The only change I would make to these is maybe cutting back on the salt a tiny bit.

            To make, grate parsnips and onion in a food processor. Wring out as much moisture as possible. Then mix in flour (I used whole wheat), eggs, salt, baking powder, and pepper. She then gives you a choice of frying your latkes in chicken fat, duck fat, or olive oil. I went with duck fat.

            Full recipe (along with a couple of others) can be found here:

            1. Garlicky Broccoli Rabe, Pg. 328

              I've been eating and making this dish since I was born. It seems like that anyway. This is the way my mother made bitter green leafy vegetables. A quick saute in EVOO with garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and S & P. I Love this dish so much. I guess it is a acquired taste, but with fresh bright greens the tiny florets seem to sweeten after the saute.

              I prepared the rabe by rinsing them well then rough chopping the leaves and stems but leaving the florets whole. MC's recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons water to be added after throwing the greens into the pan but I find there's enough water clinging to them so there's no need. The trick is to cook the rabe till tender but not beyond that. Finished dish was absolutely delicious. It was a side dish to the Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts in ITKWAGA on page 147. Fab combination.

              TxnInMtl first made this recipe and posted her results in Beetlebug's preCOTM thread...

              3 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                Garlicky Broccoli Rabe (with Turkey Sausage and Rigatoni) p. 328

                I went with one of her "what else?" suggestions and made this into a full meal by first browning some turkey sausage (and breaking it into bite size pieces), then adding the garlic, then the broccoli rabe and then cooked pasta - I picked rigatoni which seemed a good match to us. Tasty and very satisfying meal. We'll make this again, but next time I'll add more of the broc. rabe - I foolishly forgot to see how many this particular recipe served (it was 1-2). We'd have liked more vegetable, but still and all, we really liked this a lot.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Oh yes, LLM. Rabe and pasta is a Great combination. I sometimes include oil packed anchovies with the garlic as it's sauteing. The large rigatoni is my favorite short cut pasta but I've used all sorts of different past shapes... all taste wonderful with the garlicky, spicy sauce. So happy you liked the greens cooked this way.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Oh, it was great. I have also made pasta with broc. rabe, garlic and anchovies, without adding in the Italian sausage, and like you, I think it is a fantastic combination (truly, anchovies in almost anything savory are a nice touch). This was such a simple recipe, but something I'd never made before.