Recovering from Autumn Yard Cleanup

21 Bags of Leaves Fall in New England means the beautiful foliage in warm autumn colors – shades of yellow, orange, red, brown. It’s an annual treat. Inevitably, those lovely leaves fall to the ground. And, we have to rake them up.

Sunday was the perfect day for the task at hand. It was Indian summer. The sun was shining, and the air was warm. We filled 21 bags with leaves. It was exhausting. As a reward, we went to the town center for pizza slices and beer at Upper Crust. We felt recharged.

I continue to look for inspiration for meals that use ingredients that we already at home. I’ve making good progress through this month’s vegetables (more coming next Saturday) and the meat in the freezer. I found a winner with the recipe for Chicken Bouillabaisse in the latest issue (November/December 2009) of Cook’s Illustrated. Wow! It was a hit. It was even better as leftovers today.

I used a package of chicken from Chestnut Farms, fennel, potatoes, and parsley from Shared Harvest CSA, and leeks from our own garden. All that I had to pick up at the store was an orange and a baguette. And, I got to use my favorite piece of cookware: a large cobalt blue cast-iron Dutch oven from Le Creuset (a gift from my sister Jane).

Chicken Bouillabaisse
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated (Nov/Dec 2009)

  • 2-1/2 lbs chicken thighs & legs (or any kind of parts you want), seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and sliced thin
  • 1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, cored, and sliced thin
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced (I used my microplane)
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
  • ½ cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 3-inch strip orange zest
  • ¼ cup Pernod (anise liqueur)
  • ¾ lb potatoes, unpeeled, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 375. Using a large oven-proof pot, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook without moving until well- browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip chicken and brown the other side, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add leek and fennel to the fat in the pot. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to soften and turn translucent, about 4 minutes. Add saffron, cayenne, flour, garlic, and tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, wine, broth, orange peel, Pernod, and potatoes. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Nestle chicken pieces into simmering liquid with skin above the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Move pot to the oven. Bake, uncovered, until meat temperature is 160F, about 20 minutes.

Remove pot from the oven and set oven to broil Once heated, return the pot to the oven and broil until chicken skin is crisp, and meat temperatures is 175F, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Rouille & Toasts

  • 3 Tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • 1 baguette
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Yolk from a large egg
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced (again with the microplane)
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup olive oil (plus extra for toasts)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Use a microwave-safe bowl big enough to hold about 2 cups. Microwave water and saffron on high power until water is steaming, 20 seconds. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Cut a 3-inch piece off the baguette. Remove and discard the crust. Tear the bread into 1-inch chunks. Stir bread chunks and lemon juice into saffron-infused water, and let it soak for about 5 minutes. Whisk the mixture until a uniform paste forms. Whisk in mustard, egg yolk, cayenne, and garlic until smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in canola oil in a steady stream until smooth. Then slowly whisk in ½ cup of olive oil in a steady stream until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice remaining baguette into ¾-inch slices. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush toasts with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Bake until light golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Chicken BouillabaisseTo serve:
Remove chicken pieces from the pot. Stir parsley into the vegetable mixture in the pot. Ladle vegetable mixture and broth into shallow serving bowls. Top with a piece of chicken. Place a few dollops of rouille in each bowl. Spread each toast with a teaspoon of rouille, and float two toasts in each bowl,


Posted on 9 November 2009, in Meat CSA, Winter CSA and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I know what you mean about Bittman. I have his earlier cookbook, cheekily titled “How to Cook Everything,” and he really does inspire you to try new things and go beyond the usual. I still have the NYT clipping on slow cookers, I think I made you a copy, the one with the photo of him with his arms wrapped around his Rival crockpot, beaming. He does make it seem easy. He’s totally worthy of hero worship.

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