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Old 02-02-2005, 01:26 AM
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Default Invented chicken with hazelnut sauce last night

OK, feeling a need to move beyond the peppery/sherry-enhanced stews I've
generally favored, I got restless and worked out a great chicken recipe last
night, notable for a mild richness that reaches deep. The theme is to build on
the miracle of caramelized vegetables and toasted hazelnuts.

olive oil for frying
2 stalks celery
3 onions
4 carrots
6 cloves garlic
1 anaheim chili
half cup hazelnuts (brown skin removed, if you have the technology)
2 (smallish) canned tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
3 chicken leg quarters (skin on)
half cup shitake muchrooms
bay leaf
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
3 sage leaves
small spring rosemary
a few grinds of black pepper
salt to taste
1 cup white wine

Remove excess fat from leg quarters; try to keep most skin intact; cut thighs
from drumsticks; rub minced garlic from two of the cloves into one side, along
with a few grinds of pepper. Set aside.

Cut up the seeded bell pepper, 1 onion, and the shitake mushrooms. Set aside.

Slice coarsely the celery, 2 onions, 1 carrot, 4 cloves of garlic, and the
Anaheim chili (seeds and stem removed, of course). Heat a large skillet quite
hot, add enough olive oil to cover the bottom, and fry, first the carrot and
chili, then add the celery, onion, and garlic, pushing everything around
occasionally, until they begin to blacken and caramelize. Remove from heat and
into the blender.

Coarsely chop and toast the hazelnuts until they begin to turn golden; add them
to the blender, along with the tomatoes, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, and
enough water--I required about a quarter cup--to enable them to blend.

Heat the skillet again, cover the bottom with olive oil again, and put in the
chicken leg quarters, seasoned side down. Add the remaining carrots, onions,
the bell pepper pieces, and the shitakes. Don't move the chicken; let it brown
as it lies, but stir-fry the vegetables as much as you can under the
circumstances. Once the chicken is browning well underneath and the vegetables
and fungus are softening, blend what's in the blender and add it to the
skillet; stir it all together; add the wine; add the bay leaf; salt and pepper
to taste; establish a very low simmer and let it slow-cook, very low, for 90
minutes, covered.

Might serve it with rice, but I just took it straight. (Actually, I stored it
in the fridge all night and didn't have a meal of it until this evening. It
was so good I neglected a perfectly good glass of wine until the platter was


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