Sunday, June 18, 2006

Braised Chicken with Apple Sauce and Pitta-style Bread

Both these recipes are from an issue of Gourmet the magazine. For the bread I loved the fact that you could use the grill to get the bread ready. How great is that? The magazine adapted a recipe of a café in Terre Haute, Indiana (I think). The café is called George’s Downtown Café and Diner. The owner of the café, Albert is of Lebanese origin. This bread is great to have with hummus or any other spreads. I had it with some chicken in a caramelized sort of sauce which also had apples in it. It is wonderful to mop up the juices.

Another wonderful think about this bread is that whilst my chicken dish was cooking I got going with my dough. As the chicken got ready I was half way through cooking/grilling/baking my bread (not too sure which one is the right word). It was both wonderfully delicious and extremely satisfying to eat the bread. Strongly recommended.

Better-than-Pitta Grill Bread

2 cups (240 gm) all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fast-acting yeast (such as Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise yeast – I used dried yeast as I couldn’t find the Fleischmann’s one)

¼ (60 ml) cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (105- 115o~F)

¼ (60 ml) cup canola or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon beaten egg

Lightly oiled ridged grill pan, cast-iron skillet, or griddle

Whisk together flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl until combined. Whisk together water, oil and egg in another bowl until combined well, then stir into flour mixture until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking – but please avoid that as when mixing dough it is normal that it sticks at first but gets better later. The dough will not be smooth. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl, turning to coat, then let rest in bowl, uncovered, in a warm draft-free place for 10 minutes.

Cut dough into 10 pieces and form each into a ball. Working with 1 piece at a time, flatten balls, then roll out into thin rounds (very thin) on lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin.

Preheat grill pan or skillet over moderately high heat just until smoking, then reduce heat to moderate and grill bread rounds, 1 at a time, turning once, until marks appear and bread is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Keep breads warm, wrapped in a cloth napkin.

Braised Chicken with Apples and Sage

8 chicken thighs with skin and bones

1 ¼ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

2 apples (preferably Gala) peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch thick wedges

½ cup chopped shallots

2/3 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

½ teaspoon chopped fresh sage

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a frying pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken well ( this step is very important), starting with skin sides down and turning over once, 10-12 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the pan.

Add butter, brown sugar, apples and shallots to fat in pan and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are browned, about 5 minutes.

Add stock, vinegar and sage and deglaze the pan by boiling, stirring and scrapping up any brown bits, 1 minute.

Return chicken, skin sides up, to pan along with any juices accumulated on plate. Reduce heat and simmer, loosely covered with foil, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced. It is really important that you have browned chicken very well in the beginning otherwise you will need to let the chicken cook for far too long. The normal cooking time should be around 25 minutes.


Ana said...

Oh yum! Both recipes look awesome!
I love chicken and the recipe seems delicious!
I have made homemade pita bread once and they are really good, loved your recipe for grilling it!

valentina said...

Ana, I LOVED the fact that it could be made on the grill.It's so quick. Once it gets blisters you know you are on the way..give it a go.

Karen said...

I love your chicken recipes, Valentina!

valentina said...

Kren, thank you.This one is really lovely.I had never had chicken with apples. I had had pork with apples but definitely not chicken. The result was quite lovely.

Tanna said...

Wow, that looks like terrific chicken ans sauce. Bread is an easy one for me; I'm always read for a new one. I love to eat bread and cook it.

Paz said...

This does look and sound delicious!


valentina said...

Tanna, this bread is really fun. Pretty quick to prepare.Lovely to mop up sauce.

Paz, thank you.It's indeed nice.