Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Friday Night Feasts: Braised Chicken with Saffron Onions and Italian Cous-Cous.

First off.... thank you Suzanne Goin.
I have been cooking my way through her cookbook "Sunday Suppers" and my god, is it amazing! If you live in Los Angeles and have not eaten at Luques or Tavern, then you are a crazy person- she is an absolutely inspirational chef!

Now back to me.....

This Friday I chose another recipe out of her book and it certainly did not disappoint! You do need to be committed to this dish, though, as it does take quite a bit of time. It is soooo worth it though!

Braised Chicken with Saffron Onions and Italian Cous-Cous.


For Chicken-
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
6 chicken legs with thighs attached
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
2 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 chili de arbol, crumbled
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup sliced fennel
2 bay leaves
1/4 San Marzano canned tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sherry
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper

For Saffron Onions-
1 teaspoon saffron threads
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups sliced onions
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
Salt and Pepper

For Italian Cous-Cous-
2 1/2 cups Italian cous-cous (fregola sarda)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper

I know.... holy hell that's a long grocery list. It's worth it though.


For the chicken- 
Toast the cumin seeds in a small pan for a few minutes, until the seeds release their aroma and are lightly browned. Using a mortar and pestle, pound them coarsely. Repeat with the coriander seeds.
Place the chicken in a large bowl with the smashed garlic, thyme, parsley, crumbled chile, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Using your hands, toss the chicken and spices together to coat the chicken well. Cover, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking, to allow it to come to room temperature. After 15 minutes, season the chicken on all sides with 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon salt and lots of pepper.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Swirl in the olive oil and wait 1 minute. Place the chicken legs, skin side down, in the pan, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. (If your pan is too small for all of the legs to fit, brown them in batches so you don’t crowd them.) Every so often, swirl the oil and rendered fat around the pan. Turn the legs over, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook 2 minutes on the second side. Arrange the chicken (in one layer) in a braising dish. The chicken legs should just fit in the pan.

Pour off some of the fat and return the sauté pan to medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, and bay leaves. Cook 6 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are lightly caramelized. Add the tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon. Add the sherry vinegar, white wine, and sherry. Turn the heat up to high and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Add the cilantro and pour the broth and vegetables over the chicken, scraping off any of the vegetables that have fallen on the chicken back into the liquid. The liquid should not quite cover the chicken. Cover the pan very tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Braise in the oven 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
To check the chicken for doneness, remove the lid and foil, being careful of the steam. Pierce a piece of the chicken with a paring knife. If the meat is done, it will yield easily and be tender but not quite falling off the bone.
Turn the oven up to 400°F.
Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet, and return it to the oven to brown for about 10 minutes.
Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. If necessary, reduce the broth over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, to thicken it slightly.
For the Italian Couscous-
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the couscous and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until tender but still al dente. Drain the couscous, return it to the pot, and toss with the butter, parsley, and a pinch of pepper. Taste for seasoning.
For the Saffron Onions-
Toast the saffron threads in a small pan over medium heat until they just dry and become brittle. Be careful not to burn the precious saffron. Pound the saffron in a mortar to a fine powder. Dab a tablespoon of the butter into the powder, using the butter to pick up the saffron.
Heat a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, remaining butter, and saffron. When the butter foams, add the onions, bay leaf, thyme, 1½ teaspoons salt, and some pepper. Cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, as the onions wilt. Turn the heat down to low, and cook another 20 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the onions are soft and sweet. Taste for seasoning.
Place the hot couscous on a large warm platter. Spoon the saffron onions over it, and arrange the chicken on top. Ladle some of the juices over the chicken

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