Tuesday, October 6, 2009

well, I thought it was good...

Tonight, I was really in the mood for some fall-ish food. I haven't been cooking too much the past few days. Since the Food Slam Friday, in fact. Yesterday, here in Wisconsin, the entire state was on its collective edge of the seat for the most anticipated of Green Bay Packer games...everyone except me (and some others to be sure). I could envision the huddled masses keeping warm by the glows of television sets, some also by their burning effigies of Brett Favre, and others by wiping up their warm tears while still clad in Brett Favre attire. All it did for me was give me a 4th day in a row without cooking a proper supper. I think I ate standing up at the kitchen counter and continuing to work on grapes, but that is a story for another day, since I am about 1/2 done.

Most of today was rainy, windy and overcast in general, and I could think of no better way to use up some fennel I bought at the farm market a week ago already than to make braised chicken with fennel. I kind of been plotting it, since I soaked some cranberry beans (the same dried ones I had leftover from Jamie Oliver's Humble Home Cooked Beans...) and cooked them up a la Rick Bayless (with bacon) late last week.

Braised food with bacon? Sounds very fall-ish to me. I got this recipe from the newspaper several years ago, and really love it. I may have conveniently blocked it out of my memory that my Husband was not as enamored...

No matter, all of the leftovers are gratefully Mine!

Braised Chicken with Fennel:
adapted from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (circa 2005)
6-8 servings

olive oil

3 lbs cut up chicken (or I used tonight 3 chicken breasts, sans skin) really whatever you prefer

1 onion, frenched (cut into thin wedges)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 fennel bulb, quartered and thinly sliced

1 bell pepper (original calls for yellow, but I used green since I have a lot from the garden lately)

28 oz can diced, fire roasted tomatoes (I used 1/2 a jar of home canned, and then added a few T. of tomato paste to thicken it towards the end)

1/2 c. dry white wine (or, my favorite, vermouth, since I never have white wine...)

rosemary, fresh if you have it - 1 or 2 sprigs

1 15 oz. can cannellini beans (or 9 oz. or so of home cooked beans, any variety you like)

parsley to garnish, if desired

In a dutch oven, or similar heavy lidded pot, brown chicken (dusted in salt and pepper) in 2 T. olive oil, about 2 minutes per side, and remove to plate. Then add onion, garlic, fennel and pepper and cook 3 minutes until softened, stirring constantly.

Add vermouth and deglaze pan, then add tomatoes, rosemary and browned chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 20-25 minutes (longer if you use bone-in cuts of chicken), turning the chicken once.

Uncover, mix in beans, and cook uncovered 5 minutes or so until sauce thickens and juices run clear. I added my tomato paste here, since home canned tomatoes are a bit jucier than store bought, I think.

I like to serve this with mashed potatoes, since then you can sop up all of the sauce. As you can see, my portion of chicken was burried beneath a mound of veg. I think that the sauce is good enough on its own to be made meat free if you desire. I think I just love fennel.

See, this was my plate:

And this was the plate across the table from mine...

I guess, it may be a recipe that in the future, I scale down and make for winter lunches. Maybe I'll even try freezing some since I have so much leftover tonight. It is also possible I could make it into a soup of some kind. Most likely, I'm going to get some more potatoes at the farm market on Thursday and eat the rest for lunch. If I'm lucky, it will feed me right up until the weekend.

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