Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Braised Chicken with Black Olives, Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Turmeric Mashed Potatoes

My friend Patti asked if we had a rain gauge to measure how much rain we've had...indeed we do Patti, and it indicates 4.5 inches in the past 5 days...which is less than what is being reported by the Tennessee Valley Authority.  I'll go with the rain gauge, though I am not sure it is perfectly accurate.

We did have a brief moment of sun today...I saw a smidgeon of blue sky (almost forgot what that looked like).  And now they predict snow for tomorrow, in fact, we now have a winter storm warning with heavy snow and accumulations of between 3 - 6 inches...you know me, LET IT SNOW!  I was so excited by both the smidgeon and the prediction that I decided to make a celebratory meal of braised chicken with black olives, balsamic roasted brussel sprouts, and turmeric mashed potatoes.  Let the cooking begin!

Braised Chicken with Black Olives
2 tsp garlic
4 tbsp butter
4 large chicken breasts
1 cup red wine (typically you would use white with chicken, but I had red open...this is an experiment)
3 tbsp red wine vinegar (use white if using white wine)
1 cup pitted, chopped black olives
6 squirts anchovy paste (you can exclude this, but it adds a slightly briny flavor that makes all the difference)
salt & pepper to taste

Saute the garlic (half of it) and butter in a large frying pan until lightly golden brown.

Add chicken and cook until browned all over and season with salt & pepper.

Pour in the wine and vinegar and let it come to a boil and evaporate a bit.

Add the olives, anchovy paste and the rest of the garlic into juices in the pan

Cover (leaving room for steam to escape) and cook over medium heat for about 50 minutes, until the chicken is tender. I covered with tin foil because I am using a huge (14") iron skillet.  Once cooked, put the pan into the oven to broil until the skin becomes crisp.
See below for after the fact thoughts about this recipe.

Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts, halved
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Mix the halved brussel sprouts with a little olive oil (to coat), a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.
 Put them into a roasting pan in a 400 degree oven for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring them around now and then to ensure all sides roast well.  The balsamic vinegar caramelizes and makes them so yummy!

Turmeric Mashed Potatoes
2.5 lbs Klondike Goldust potatoes (I keep the skins on, that's where all the good nutrients are)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp Turmeric

Boil your potatoes until fork tender and drain.  Add butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper and turmeric and mash.  
 The turmeric makes the potatoes a brilliant yellow and gives a subtle gingery flavor.

This meal as prepared above is enough to feed 4 people.  I always make extra when I cook so we can have leftovers.  And I have to admit, it was quite good.  The chicken was moist and juicy, and the anchovy flavor gave a nice bite to the black olives.  I do believe white wine would definitely be a better choice, but the red wine worked.  The other thing I would recommend is to remove the chicken from the pan and put it in another pan for broiling.  Then put the pan with the wine and olives back onto the burner and bring it to a boil to reduce it further, adding a little butter to create a silky texture.  Then that can be drizzled over the chicken when served (what we ended up with was a juice, which tasted good, but would have been better if it was thicker).  

A closing thought about my recipe posts...most of the time, when I am creating something (as opposed to when I am following a recipe, though if the creative bug gets me in the middle, this may apply), not only are we (Johny & I) the tasters, but you are also vicariously engaging in my learning process.  This is because I am blogging about the meal the same day I cook it; I write the recipe first, then cook and take pictures, then eat, then finish the blog...so I want you to know I appreciate your participating in my cooking evolution:)  

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

PS  If you don't see me here tomorrow, it is because the power is out, and/or I can't connect to the internet.  If those things happen, you can be sure I will be out in the snow...sledding, making snowmen, throwing snowballs...you get the picture.  But have no fear, you will hear all about it as soon as I can connect!  Tee hee, I feel like a little kid...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


Osage Bluff Quilter said...

I am SO envious!

RAIN, lots of it.
Delicious looking chicken.
Delicious looking brussel sprouts.(One of my favorite veggies)
ONE LARGE 14 inch cast iron skillet, my biggest is a 12.

But I am proud that you call me your friend!


Dad/Pepere said...

Great dinner...wish I were there...only when the temperature is above 80. I hope you have plenty of snow!

Lise said...

Thanks Patti, sure wish I could send this rain your way. I love brussel sprouts too, even just steamed!

We may be hitting 80 soon dad, better pack your bags and prepare Donald! Hugs back!