We like Chicken Marsala so much that we made a variant of it tonight. This has boneless skinless thighs dredged in seasoned flour and then browned in olive oil. Remove the chicken and deglaze with the Marsala wine, scrape the bottom with a flat wooden spatula to break the nice browned bits up. Add a cup and a half of chicken stock to it and bring to a simmer. Add the browned chicken back and cover. I used butter kneaded with flour to thicken the gravy before serving. The couscous was from a box mix, this one was flavored with dried mushrooms. I squeezed lemon juice over my chicken and liked it well enough, optional.
We don’t eat much couscous, but it is being stocked regularly and we may step up the pace. I see from the Wiki that we had the instant variety which is quick and easy. I may browse the International Grocery next town over for the regular stuff.
This starts as a basic gumbo – cook a dark roux with flour and oil, add the Cajun trinity of diced onions, celery, and green peppers. Let the veggies cook for a few minutes then add chicken broth. I browned chicken thighs and fresh chorizo in a separate pan then added those to the simmering broth. The fresh chorizo is where this veers off the normal path. Alas, I had no more Andouille and it really wanted sausage. The recipe uses a homemade seasoning from this recipe. That NOLA site is a goldmine for this style of cooking and you can do worse than spending a while looking over all the recipes.
When the sausage and chicken are cooked through remove them to cool, slice the sausage and strip the chicken meat from the bones and add it all back to the pot. This will take a couple of hours. I did the roux atop the stove on a medium high heat and stirred it constantly lest it burn, using a flat wooden spatula to keep the bottom scraped. That took 20 minutes or so.
I have a pot of this simmering on the stove as I write this. I wanted to make it a second time to see if I could make the recipe a bit simpler. Really couldn’t, so I wrote it as I went, to make sure I didn’t miss a step. I really like this soup, it has a very rich flavor, like chicken and biscuits. Mmmm….
Because I have a vita-mix, most of the soups I make start with a thick vegetable broth. It gives a great depth of flavor. It’s chocked full of nutrients and anyone who knows me well, knows I don’t eat enough vegetables, so I do what I can to up my daily veggies. But you may not want to go to that trouble, so you can substitute 4 cups of chicken broth for the vegetable broth in the recipe below.
Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1/4 tsp rosemary
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 2 stalks celery (with leaves), rough chopped
- 2 medium carrots, rough chopped
- 1 cup cut green beans (I use frozen)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 chicken breasts (bone-in or boneless, doesn’t matter it will be shredded)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
saucepan, dutch oven or large saucepan, blender
In the blender, add rough chopped carrots, celery and green beans, spices, 2 cups of water and blend until smooth. Add to dutch oven along with chicken breasts and 2 additional cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Add diced carrots, celery, salt and pepper to the liquid and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender crisp.
While the chicken is cooking, melt butter in the saucepan, add onions and garlic, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes or more. Turn the heat up to medium-high, slowly stir in milk and bring to a low boil, whisking until thickened. Reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables are cooking, shred the chicken. The easiest way to do this is to use two forks and pull across the grain of the meat in different directions. You can then use your fingers to break apart any large pieces.
Once the vegetables are tender crisp, whisk in the white sauce and then stir in the chicken. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Serve with parsley garnish.
Makes about 6 cups.
Also know as Coq Au Vin, this is a classic dish that Julia Child taught me to make, though I rarely look at her recipes any more. They tend to be too fussy with multiple steps and otherwise involved directions so I tend to wing it while looking at a similar recipe.
I looked for frozen pearl onions at the store yesterday while we were putting in provisions for the coming brutal cold weather the mavens are predicting for us. I’ve found them there before but had to use the kind you have to peel. Drop them into boiling water for two minutes and then you can peel them pretty easily when they’ve cooled. Cut one end off and these will pop right out when you pinch them.
I also looked for the small button mushrooms that look so cute but had to make do with larger ones that I sliced and sauteed in butter and olive oil. The mushrooms and the onions both are cooked separately from the chicken and added to the dish when plating for the table.
The recipe I linked to above calls for cognac, I used Marsala wine instead, and used a slurry of cornstarch instead of the butter/flour mixture to thicken the pan liquids. I’ve made this many times using slightly different variations of ingredients and methods and it always ends in a delicious meal – one of our all time favorites.
We have been deciding on a Thanksgiving dinner menu and have it set, mostly. Nothing here will be a part of the dinner save for a cornbread dressing and cranberry sauce. The dressing was a trial run, I think it will work out. It has homemade cornbread and was good but I think I may go half and half with white bread next time because the cornbread was a tad crumbly. On the plate tonight are braised chicken thighs, the dressing, mushroom gravy, corn, cranberries from a can, and ciabatta rolls with garlic butter.
The big day will see a table groaning under a roasted turkey, dressing, garlic mashed white potatoes, pecan praline sweet potato casserole, huge fresh baked dinner rolls, a tub of gravy, scratch made cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and Mrs J’s Famous Pumpkin Pie.