Category Archives: Bees
This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is a sweet, satisfying stew: Chicken Tagine with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes. It’s inspiration hails from Morocco with a mix of spices and honey.
Sliced onions are softened, though not caramelized as the base of this dish. Spices, saffron, honey (I was thrilled to finally use my own), prunes, and broth are stirred in, then, topped with browned chicken thighs, and chunks of sweet potatoes. I used extra sweet potatoes. With everything nestled in the pot, the tagine is left to braise for 45 minutes, ample time to prepare side dishes AND clean up.
For the non-fruit-in-savory food eater in my house (yes, Howard, I’m talking about you), it was easy enough to just not serve prunes onto his plate. No other special handling required.
I served this over jasmine rice with a side of roasted cauliflower (a mix of white and orange to match the tagine).
I loved the warm, sweet flavors of the vegetable mixture. I also liked the vegetables with chicken. However, we never seem to like the stewed quality of chicken with soft, no longer golden brown, skin. For the leftovers, I’m going to shred the chicken meat and stir it back into the vegetables.
I will make this again, but next time, I will roast the chicken thighs separately and serve atop the vegetables, rather than adding them to the pot. That way the chicken will still be moist, but the skin will also stay crispy. That will work better at my house.
We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table. To see how the other bloggers enjoyed their tagines, follow the links for their posts here.
P.S. Amazingly, WordPress tells me this is my 300th post. I looked back, and the 3rd anniversary of my blog was on Tuesday, October 23rd. I totally missed it. In honor of these milestones as well as my first honey harvest, A Plateful of Happiness will have its first giveaway. I’ll be giving away an 8 ounce jar of just-harvested raw honey from my backyard.
To win, here are the rules:
- Post a comment on today’s post before Wednesday, October 31, 2012. Be sure to include your email address where WordPress prompts you. It won’t show up with your comment, so your privacy is maintained, but I will know how to contact you if you win.
- Thursday, November 1, I will randomly select a winner and notify you, so I can find out where to send the jar of honey so you can enjoy it. I will also announce the winner next week.
- Unfortunately, it looks like it’s illegal to ship honey outside of the country, so you can only win if your mailing address is in the U.S. (Leave me a comment even if you are an international reader, but I’m sorry that I cannot send you my honey.)
- Only one entry per person.
I bottled my honey last night. I can’t quite express the thrill of my first harvest.
It took a couple days to let the crushed honey drip through the strainer. The weather was not nearly as warm as the ideal, but my oven’s bread proofing setting came to rescue again. This setting keeps the oven temperature at 100F. To help it along, I moved the straining honey into the oven and periodically turned the oven on for a while, then off. It worked out well.
So what was the final yield? The bees made me 5 quarts of honey. Honey is usually reported in weight, so that’s about 13 pounds, almost half the full capacity of a honey super. I just usedcanning jars because that’s what I had on hand. The final step is to make a pretty label for my jars. I still have to do that.
One more thing, a few people asked what the bees do now. As the weather gets colder, and the frost and cold ends this season’s life cycle for the plants, there isn’t anything new for them to eat. They have packed the hive with honey to sustain them. In addition, from now until Thanksgiving, I’ll feed them a thick sugar syrup, which they can convert to winter honey to fill in any empty spaces in the hive. When the weather gets too cold for them to leave the hive, they will cluster inside the hive, keeping it around 95F. It’s not hibernating, but it’s slower pace than summer. In the spring, they will start all over again.