Friday, November 20, 2009

For Thanksgiving: Cranberry Chutney

This is so easy, you'll wonder why anyone ever bothered canning that jello-y crap.

The Indians and English use them much, boyling

them with Sugar for Sauce to eat with their Meat,

and it is a delicate sauce.

—John Josselyn, while visiting New England 1663

12 ounces fresh cranberries

2 tablespoons red onion,

finely chopped

2∕3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons grated ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup finely chopped pecans,

lightly toasted

In a heavy saucepan, combine the

cranberries, onion, sugar, ginger,

spices and salt. Cook over medium

heat, stirring, until cranberries

begin to pop—about 5–6 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool. Stir in

pecans. Chutney is best if made two

days ahead. Refrigerate.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not quite winter yet: Smacked Flat Chicken with Clementine Salsa

Not quite winter yet, so not ready for heavy stews and soups and roasts. But too cold and wet to go stand out by the grill. Need a good transition meal, and with winter citrus readily available, a clementine salsa over pan fried chicken sounded like the ticket.

For the Salsa:
3-4 clementines or satsumas, peeled and diced
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup each diced onion and celery
1/4 cup each chopped fresh basil and cilantro
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Chiles to taste, eg 1 jalepeno or serrano, finely chopped, minced even

For the chicken:
4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

To deglaze:
1/2 cup fresh clementine juice (from about 2 satsumas or 3 clementines)

Mix the salsa ingredients and put in the fridge for a couple of hours before you're ready for the chicken

Pound the chicken flat to about a quarter inch. I don't have a mallet, so I use the sharpening steel of my knife set. Put the chicken breasts in a heavy duty zip lock bag and whale away. Watch for rips in the bag, because you don't want raw chicken getting on anything.

If you want, you can marinate in a 3:1 mix of lemon juice and EVOO. But you don't have to. Salt and pepper the chicken right before you pan fry it.

If you get the chicken nice and thin, it should only take 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat to cook the chicken. Move the chicken to a plate and cover with foil while you work on the sauce.

Deglaze your pan with the clementine juice and simmer for 5 minutes to reduce to about 1/4 cup.

Serve up the chicken, spoon the sauce over it, and then add heaps of the salsa.