Sunday, November 21, 2010

Chicken with Pomegranate

I recently acquired a new item for the kitchen—a lovely enameled cast-iron cocotte from Staub.

Of course, a new pot requires a new recipe, so I decided to break open a tome that has been sitting on my shelves for years and getting no use.

The Silver Spoon is supposedly the Italian bible of cooking, and it contains a huge number of recipes, but the layout and instructions are not inviting. The instructions are written in one long paragraph, which is a pain to follow when you're half way through and need to check something. Worse yet, instructions can be incomplete, unclear, and quantities imprecise. Even for someone who doesn't always follow instructions and quantities to the letter, this can be frustrating.

But it does seem such a waste to have it sitting there, not getting spattered by water, wine, and sauces. So I decided to make Gallina alla Melagrana. Well, actually, I adapted it. The recipe calls for roasting the chicken whole, but I decided to cut it into pieces and braise it in the oven. I also add the soaking water from the soaking the porcini mushrooms, which the recipe does not call for.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Greek Onion-Leek Pie

Last  week I saw a recipe in my daily paper for a onion, leek and feta pie. It sounded really appealing, and it did turn out to be very tasty. The original recipe called for phyllo pastry, but my local Turkish greengrocer didn't have it so I used something similar that they did have. The pastry leaves are less thin and fine but also don't dry out as quickly. You also don't need to use as many layers (2 on the bottom, 2 on the top.)

I think I didn't put quite enough dill in the filling. It really can stand a lot. I also think that this recipe could  do well with one or two eggs added. I reduced the recipe by about one third, but it still ended up being enough for 4-6 servings.

Update: I've now made this recipe a number of times. I've used oval, square, and round dishes, I've made self-contained packets, I've used phyllo dough instead of yufka dejblade (as it's called). I've adopted Kaye's tip of sprinkling sesame seeds between the dough layers. It always works. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Squash Mushroom Risotto

"I'm late, I'm late", as the white rabbit cried. I have to catch up on some recent recipe experiments, and since we're deep into fall, I'll start with some warming comfort food.

This is another story of leftovers. I had a container of squash, some homemade chicken stock that got defrosted by mistake, and some mushrooms that had seen better days and needed to be used up NOW. I've seen recipes for both squash risotto and mushroom risotto, so that was my inspiration. Risotto is such an adaptable base for all kinds leftover variations. I can imagine it for leftover pumpkin from Halloween (maybe reduce the stock, since pumpkin has a higher moisture content than squash, and use fresh sage as a flavouring).

These days I don't actually follow a recipe for risotto, just a technique, but I provide some standard measurements in this 'recipe'. I'm afraid the measurements are approximate.