Monthly Archives: May 2012

Chicken Canzanese, Toasted Fennel/Shallot Brown Rice

Originally a peasant dish (perhaps of stewing hen or rooster) from the Abruzzo region in Italy, Americans were likely  first introduced to this classic in a 1969 article from the New York Times.

My riff on America’s Test Kitchen’s modern adaptation (see video below) uses locally pastured chicken thighs, prosciutto, garlic, fresh herbs, chicken stock and white wine, all served over fennel-scented brown rice with toasted shallots and flat-leaf parsley..

Pollo Canzanese (serves 2-4)

4 large skin-on, bone-in, pastured chicken breasts
2 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2-3 cloves garlic, slivered (not minced)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons sprouted wheat or spelt flour
1-1/4 cups dry white wine
3/4 cup homemade chicken stock
2 bay leaves (fresh preferred)
2 sprigs rosemary, stripped, leaves chopped (reserve the stems)
8 leaves fresh sage
3 whole cloves
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon cultured butter, cold
freshly-cracked black pepper

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Refrigerate, uncovered 4 hours or overnight to help ensure a crispy skin when cooked.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add prosciutto and sauté until lightly brown, about 2 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the prosciutto and garlic to a side dish.

Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Once the oil is shimmering, season the chicken with pepper and place in the hot oil skin-side down.  Allow the chicken to cook without moving until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. Turn the chicken over cook another 5 minutes, again without moving.  Transfer the chicken to a side dish.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of olive oil/fat, reserving the remainder for the rice.

Sprinkle the flour into the pan and whisk continuously to form a light roux, about 1 minute.

De-glaze the pan with the wine, taking care to scrape up all the brown bits (the fond) from the bottom.

Add the cooked prosciutto and garlic back into the pan along with the bay leaves, sage, cloves, rosemary stems (without leaves) and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

Add the chicken to the pan, making sure that the volume of liquid is sufficient to rise to a point just below the crisp chicken skin.  Pour a little liquid off if there’s too much, or add a little stock if there isn’t enough.

Place the uncovered pan into a 325 degree oven and cook until the chicken is fork tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the rice..

1 cup germinated brown rice, rinsed
2-1/4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon reserved oil/fat
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, cracked
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley

Toast the fennel in a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the reserved oil/fat and shallots and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Add the rice and stir to coat.

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until done, about 45 minutes.

To Finish and Serve

Remove the pan with the chicken from the oven.  Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with foil.

Working quickly, put the chicken pan on the burner over medium-high heat. Pick out and discard the cloves, sage, bay and rosemary stems.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, chopped rosemary leaves, parsley and butter and whisk until smooth.

Line a platter with the rice and ladle the sauce over the rice.  Place the cooked chicken on top of the rice, drizzle with a little of the sauce and serve piping hot.

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Here’s that video..

Proper Beef Stock

“…if there’s one preparation that separates a great home cook’s from a good home cook’s food, it’s stock.  Stock is the ingredient that most distinguishes restaurant cooking from home cooking.”  -Michael Ruhlman

Here, then, is a proper yet relatively easy way to make a rich and delicious beef stock at home..

Beef Stock (makes about 1 quart) (informed by recipes by Ruhlman and Darina Allen)

6 cups (more-or-less) cold, filtered water, divided
2 pounds meaty beef bones (shin bones with meat attached are ideal) from a clean, non-industrial source
1/3 pound unpeeled yellow onions, roughly chopped
1/3 pound carrots, roughly chopped
1/3 pound celery, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 large fresh, ripe tomato, cut into wedges
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2-3 whole cloves
1 bouquet garni of parsley stalks & leaves, fresh bay leaves and fresh thyme

Arrange the beef bones on a roasting pan or in a large cast iron skillet, allowing plenty of space between each (as you can see, I wasn’t able to find any bones with meat attached, so I rummaged around in the freezer and found an old tri-tip to add to the pan).  Place the pan in a 400 degree oven and roast until nicely browned, about 45 minutes.  Take care not to let the bones burn, or the stock will be bitter.

Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chopped vegetables, garlic and peppercorns over and around the bones.  Return the pan to the oven and roast until the vegetables are browned around the edges, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the roasted bones, vegetables, garlic and peppercorns to a clean stockpot or Dutch oven.

Pour the grease off from the roasting pan and deglaze with 1 cup of the water.  Bring the water to a boil, then use a wood utensil to scrape up the fond (the brown bits) from the bottom of the pan.  Pour the liquid over the bones and vegetables in the stock pot.

Add enough of the remaining water to cover the bones, then add the cloves and bouquet garni.

Bring the pot to a rapid boil, then lower the heat to a bare simmer.  Skim and discard any foam that may be present on the surface.

Partially cover the pot and allow to simmer for 6-8 hours, skimming and adding water as necessary to keep the bone submerged.

Turn off the heat and allow the stock to cool in the pot for 30 minutes.  Strain the stock through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer to ensure a clear and clean-tasting stock.

Store stock in the refrigerator and use with 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.