Food Friday–wet chicken and Pre-Purim Edition

I know that most people think of  cooking chicken in terms of  specific recipes, chicken divan, chicken Kiev, Maryland chicken and the like.  I tend to think of cooking chicken in two broad categories, dry and wet.

I usually cook chicken dry. The spices or goodies added to the pan may vary but basically it’s chicken cooked dry.

Today I decided to cook the chicken wet. While we were away in Florida, my son made a big Friday night dinner. I assume it was a fairly boozy evening, ( better not to ask too many questions) but we had most of a bottle of red wine left in the fridge.
I decided to use up that bottle of wine. Some of it went into a tomato and chicken soup that I’m pretending is an Italian peasant soup.

The rest went into the chicken. I got a raft of chicken thighs at Costco yesterday. I also got one of those wonderful addictive bags of peeled chestnuts and a bucket o mushrooms.
This seemed to be a a good winter combination for chicken. Cooking chicken with a fair amount of liquid in the pan draws out more juices from the chicken. When I pulled the cooked chicken from the pan it was swimming in a huge amount of winey chicken juice..

I put the chicken into a clean roasting pan.wet chicken (2)

I then put all of the wet stuff including the mushrooms and chestnuts into a big pot, added some balsamic vinegar and turned the heat up to reduce the juices. Making a reduction always sounds like a fussy sort of a job.  It isn’t. While the juices were boiling away,
wet chicken (1) - Copy

I washed the chicken pan and did some other kitchen clean up while taking breaks every little while to stir the pot.
wet chicken - Copy
I reduced the liquids in the pot until they became fairly thick and syrupy.
wet chicken (1)wet chicken

Once I was happy with how thick the juices were and confirmed with a taste of just how rich the flavor was, I poured all of the juices and mushrooms and chestnuts over the chicken.
wet chicken - Copy (2)

It’s awfully pretty in a good earthy way. This is exactly the meal I want to eat on a winter Friday night.

Since Purim begins tomorrow night I thought it might be nice to have the challah reflect the coming holiday. Earlier this week, my friend Lorraine sent me this link Crown challot . While I loved the idea of the round braided challot I felt sad while looking at the pictures of those challot. They were for too yeasted  and had risen for much too long.  They had lost their muscle and looked sadly flabby.

Regardless of what I had thought those challot looked like, I did think that it was a nifty braiding technique. It’s a really fast, fast way to braid a challah.

crown challah
All you have to remember is over and under, and before you know it you have this.
crown challah (1)
I plan to sprinkle poppy seeds on the challah this week to make them even more Purim-ey.

Both challot for this week are shaped like crowns. Next weeks are on the pan as well. One is braised in my usual 4 braid strand. The challah on the lower left is done in a herringbone braid. braiding the crowns got me in the mood for fancy braiding.
crown challah (2)

I made hummous this week. I decided to just add flavors that I like and the result is delicious but a bit international. I started with two cans of Goya chickpeas added a big dollop of tehina. I love really lemony hummous so I added the juice of two lemons. I also added some liquid smoke, some Siracha and Thai chili paste along with a bit of Hungarian paprika.
This is one of those pictures that conveys nothing about the taste.  For all you can tell from this picture this hummous could taste like spackle.  Trust me, this does not taste like spackle , it’s bright tasting from the lemon but also has a bit of a peppery buzz and the deep smoky flavor.
Our dinner guests are bringing dessert. I’m making a salad and also plain Israeli couscous. One of our guests is a kid who would like plain pasta.

Aside from making Shabbat dinner, I have been working unsuccessfully at reinstalling my printer driver. I will give it another try or two before Shabbat.
And for your Purim pleasure, this video of Purim in Tel Aviv in 1928 and in 1932.
Purim in Tel Aviv


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