In re: Cider braised chicken with Ohio apple brandy

picture from Cooks Country

Saw this recipe the other day on WOSU our local PBS station on an episode of Cooks Country. The recipe is for Apple Cider Chicken, which uses bone in chicken pieces, seared in a pan, where a braising sauce is then made, with the chicken then going back into the pan to finish in the oven in a kinda shallow braise allows the skin to stay super crispy and for an amazing sauce that braises the bottom half of the chicken into deliciousness. The recipe is quick to which is nice on a weeknight and was on the table in no time leaving us a nice lunch of leftovers for the next day. (I used a whole chicken the I cut into a fairly standard 10 pieces – legs, thighs, wings, and cutting each half breast in half again to give four quarters of the breast meat – all left on the bone of course).

The technique in the recipe is one that is really useful and could be used in countless other ways, using the pan to sear, sauce and bake makes for easy cleanup (something I am not very good at).  The other reason the recipe sounded  so good to me was to achieve the apple flavor the recipe uses apple cider, apple brandy and apple cider vinegar and we already had some Ohio cider already sitting the in fridge as well as a bottle of Ohio’s own Tom’s Foolery Apple-Jack (recently made available here in Columbus at Weiland’s – where and enthusiastic clerk pointed it out to us and didn’t take any convincing on his part to take it home).

Tom’s Foolery Apple-Jack is an apple brandy made right here in Northeastern Ohio and the stuff is small batch (they say micro batch actually as they say it would take four years to maker the amount that small batch folks make).  Either way the stuff is fantastic (more fruity I would say than a calvados, but with the complexity and warmth you’d expect from a brandy) and finding out that there is another great local distiller is very exciting stuff and I am really pleased that Weiland’s down here in Columbus carries it (there aren’t too many places in Ohio to buy it – I think Weiland’s is the only place in Columbus).  Hopefully the trend of creating artisan spirits continues and people will continue to support the fantastic local liquor scene.

Ok so back to the chicken.  After about fifteen minutes cooking the chicken in the skillet, made the sauce by cooking the onions and scrapping up the fond from the chicken.  Next in goes some garlic, thyme, cider, the brandy and some diced apples, bring it to a quick boil and the chicken goes back in and into the hot 450 degree oven that crisps the chicken even more.  After the oven you finish the sauce with a bit more brandy and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.  The sauce is reminiscent of a good french onion soup (but applely) and was fantastic and worthy of eating on its own with a spoon.  Served it with some potatoes from the oven and some green beans that are easily prepared while the chicken is in the oven.  Forgot to take a picture of the results as we started to devour it so quickly, so the top picture is courtesy of Cooks Country.




In re: The end of summer and jalapeño jelly

The other day we went out into the garden which is still loaded with vegetables (although a lot of them are green tomatoes that may never ripen with the cool wet weather now) and harvested everything we could and pitched all the bad tomatoes into the compost bin.  (There were a lot of perfect looking tomatoes that sadly had a worm hole in them).  We ended up with a lot of tomatoes, banana peppers and a whole load of jalapeños without a super clear idea of what we’d do with them.

We couldn’t cook a whole pound of jalapeños into anything unless we were making poppers one night (not a bad idea actually) so preserving them came to mind, and jalapeño jelly sounded like the perfect destination.  Looked up some recipes on the internet and being fairly novice at canning tend not to stray from the tried and true ball recipes.  So using this recipe for jalapeño jelly from the Ball cookbook started up the water bath and washed some jars and got busy making the jelly.  The jelly is super easy as you may guess if you peaked at the recipe (jalapeños, sugar, cider vinegar, pectin), we departed from the recipe in not pureeing the jalapeños and instead leaving them in a small fine dice using the food processor and omitted the food color.

The results are amazing.  The huge amount of sugar and pectin as well as the 10 minutes of boiling the jelly mello the jalapeños to a really pleasant heat level where even the most timid of eaters could enjoy the mild punch.  The natural color looks kinda like a pickle relish – a muted green and the flecks of the jalapeño are suspended in the jelly.  The jelly is of course perfect on cream cheese and a cracker, but can bring back a blast of peppery summer throughout the winter to a number of dishes by mixing into sauces or using as you would a chutney.

In re: Doesn’t California have better things to be doing?

Saw in the NY Times this morning that California has coming into effect soon a ban on foie gras. For those that don’t remember Chicago for a time passed a similarly dumb law. Why do I say dumb? Well for one foie gras is misunderstood – go watch how it’s made, the animals treated and compare that to your standard poultry operation and you will probably come to the conclusion that it should be chicken that is banned and not foie gras.
see article here