Saturday, December 6, 2008

Welsh Farmhouse Chicken

I picked up a "Country Living" magazine on cool raw day in London recently and couldn't wait to try one of the recipes when I returned home. It was Welsh farmhouse inspired and called for partridges or other game from the local shoot. My Boston seaside town doesn't stock game, so I substituted chicken. Doesn't it all taste like chicken anyway?! The dish was accompanied by beet root and greens, and I added a cauliflower gratin to mine. The resulting meal was of the season and very satisfying. I envisioned a Welsh farmhouse with a chilly stone floor and simmering iron pot as the aroma of it cooking filled the fall air. The mixture of the red wine, onions, cinnamon and chicken will warm you to the bottom of your Wellies. Following is my adaptation.

Welsh Farmhouse Chicken

1 large chicken breast, split

2 tablespoons butter
24 baby onions, skinned
1 1/2 cups Shiraz red wine
1 short stick of cinnamon

2 cloves
1 teaspoon brown sugar
salt and pepper

Saute onions in the butter in a heavy large pot until golden. Add
the chicken and continue sa
uteing until it is lightly browned. Add the cloves, by inserting them into a couple of the onions, for easy removal. Then add the wine, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Check after 30-40 minutes for doneness of the chicken. The sauce should reduce to a shiny, slightly thickened richness. Remove the cloves and serve with baked beetroot and beet leaves. Serves 4

Baked Beetroot and Beet Leaves with Yogurt and Lemon

3 beets with leaves
juice from 1/2 lemon
6 ounces Greek style yogurt or sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Trim leaves from beetroot, leaving a small tuft on the root. Reserve the leaves. Put the beets in a small casserole with a tight lid and bake 40-60 minutes until tender. Leave them in the casserole until cool and them slip them out of their skins. Grate thickly and mix with the yogurt or sour cream. Be mindful that beet juice stains fingers and clothes. Meanwhile, chop the beet greens and stalks into short lengths. Cook in a little salted water in a covered pan, for 5 minutes, until the leaves and stalks are tender. Drain in a colander and squeeze out any excess water. Toss the greens with lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve the greens and beetroot separately. Serves 4

Cauliflower Gratin

1/2 head cauliflower, broken into florets

1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup light cream or milk
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Steam cauliflower in the chicken broth in a medium pot
until tender, about 10 minutes. With an immersion blender, puree the cauliflower. Add the cheddar cheese, cream, pinch of grated nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Put the mixture into a gratin dish. Top with the finely grated Parmesan cheese and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown on top, about 20 minutes. Serves 4

Written and photographed by Diane

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