Thursday, 11 November 2010

Lemony Snickett/Chicken ...

For the life of me, I cannot remember if I've posted this one before. If I have, please excuse me. If not, excuse me for not doing so earlier. It is, apparently, Italian in origin: what would I know?

The good thing is that it requires a bit of white wine, which means that you really have to open that bottle in the downstairs fridge and check it out. It will be fine, but you can never be too careful.

Anyway, you should start with some chicken: leg + thigh, which you need to cut into two bits: at the joint, please, or you'll bugger your knife for no good reason. If you really wish you can remove the skin: personally I have no problems with cholesterol so I leave it on, but if you're paranoid feel free to remove it.

Next step is to brown those bits all over: don't use a non-stick pan if you can help it, because the brown burnt-on bits are your friends, and don't use a cast-iron pan because lemon juice is not good for it. Whatever, brown them nicely: if they have their skins on you won't need to add any fat (see? remove the skins, need to add fat when cooking: leave skins on, don't. It all balances out, somewhere along the line. Karma, or something like that.)

That will take about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Ensuring that there is some left, have some more wine at this point. When finally everything's nicely browned, turn the burner down low and chuck in a couple of chopped onions and some garlic and let them sweat in the fat until they soften and start to turn golden. At which point you need to fling in a good heaping tbsp of chopped fresh rosemary, and let it cook a little more.

Assuming there's still some white wine left (if not, open another bottle and hide the empty one somewhere no-one will find it for a while), slosh in a glass of that and the juice of a lemon and stir in all those lovely brown crispy bits.  Bring to a simmer, then cover and let it cook for about 40 minutes.

Which gives you forty minutes to drink, chat, and think about what goes with it. Personally I'd go (do, in fact, go) with buttered tagliatelle and a green salad, all of which are last-minute jobs and so need not concern us at this time.

Should, at any point during the cooking, the pan start to look a bit dry, just add a bit more wine. Or water, if you're that sort.

When the chicken is definitely cooked it's time to add a bit more lemon juice and white wine and get it seriously bubbling to reduce: then turn the heat right down, add 20cl of cream (I never promised this was lo-cal) , stir it in and keep on stirring until the whole lot thickens nicely.

At which point you may congratulate yourself on a job well done, serve it on top of the buttered pasta, and hit the bottle. Sophie's not keen on white, had to open some rosé. What a shame.

Credit for this one to Julie Biuso, whose book "Viva Italia" came into my sweaty hands at some point.

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