Sometimes simple cooking is best. You know the recipes I'm talking about. Plain old black and white pages. No color photos. Just a handful of ingredients. Nothing flashy whatsoever. Just everyday common ingredients that are classic and comforting.
For weeks Ottolenghi's Chicken Sofrito called to me from it's rather boring black and white pages. The promise of this quote kept going through my mind, "This chicken sofrito requires slow cooking the meat in a pot on the stove top for a long time, in it's own juices, resulting in a very tender texture with a very distinguishably comforting flavor."
If the description of tender meat cooked in it's own juices didn't win me over than the idea of adding 25 glorious cloves of garlic surely did. Believe me when I tell you that this recipe didn't disappoint. It was fabulous. These few simple ingredients cooked slow over the stovetop combine to make one sexy little dish. The chicken is fall apart tender, the potatoes are caramelized in the most heavenly way, and the entire dish is laced with the intoxicating flavor of roasted garlic. It is simply mouthwatering. We picked the entire chicken clean, leaving only the bones behind.
Adapted from Jerusalem
by Yotam Ottolenghi
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small chicken, about 3-1/4 pounds, butterflied
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
canola oil, for frying
1-2/3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, washed, and cut into 3/4" dice
25 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
salt and pepper to taste
Pour the oil into a large shallow pan (I prefer cast iron) or Dutch oven and put over medium heat. Place the chicken flat in the pan, skin side down, and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Season all over with the paprika, turmeric, sugar, scant 1/4 teaspoon salt, a good grind of black pepper, and 1-1/2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Turn the chicken over so that the skin faces up, add the onion to the pan, and cover with a lid. Decrease the heat to low and cook for a total of about 1-1/2 hours; this includes the time the chicken is cooked with the potatoes. Lift the lid every now and then to check the amount of liquid in the bottom of the pan. The idea is for the chicken to cook and steam in its own juices, but you may need to add a little bit of boiling water, just so that there is always 1/4 inch/5mm of liquid at the bottom of the pan.
After the chicken has been cooking for about 30 minutes, pour canola oil into a medium saucepan to a depth of 1-1/4 inches and place over medium high heat. Fry the potatoes and garlic together in a few batches over medium-high heat. Fry the potatoes and garlic together in a few batches for about 6 minutes per batch, until they take on some color and crisp up. Use a slotted spoon to lift each batch away form the oil and onto paper towels, then sprinkle with salt.
After the chicken has been cooking for 1 hour, lift it from the pan and spoon in the fried potatoes and garlic, stirring them with the cooking juices, Return the chicken to the pan, placing it on top of the potatoes for the remainder of the cooking time, that is, 30 minutes. The chicken should be falling off the bone and the potatoes should be soaked in the cooking liquid and completely soft. Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice when serving.
Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are saying goodbye to Chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Oh Ottolenghi, I love you so! I Heart Cooking Clubs has been around for four years now and Yotam Ottolenghi has easily been my favorite chef to cook with. I love the unique style of his recipes, the crazy flavor combinations, all the components in his recipes, and the way he plays with texture combinations. I love his dedication to vegetables. Goodness knows, that man does very sexy things with vegetables. I also love the stories and history behind his recipes. I see myself cooking his recipes for years to come and would encourage you to do the same. He will definitely help you to open up your cooking repertoire and expand your knowledge base.
There are so many more Ottolenghi recipes I want to try, all in time I suppose!
THESE ARE MY TOP ELEVEN YOTAM OTTOLENGHI RECIPES
(If you click on the recipe name you will be directed to my original post and recipe)
As far as I'm concerned, Ottolenghi's Hummus Kwarma (Hummus with Sauteed Lamb, Lemon Sauce, and Buttered and Toasted Pine Nuts) is pretty much the best thing you could ever put in your mouth! I think I could eat it every single day of my life and not get tired of it! If hummus is your thing you need this in your life!
Another top favorite were these super flavorful and very satisfying Fava Bean Burgers. Even the meat lovers in my house loved these! Do yourself a favor and seek out canned fava beans. They have a wonderful flavor and are different than any other bean out there.
Ottolenghi's Falafel on pita bread with his Spiced Chickpea & Veggie Salad was mouthwatering and delicious. If you're in the mood for a kitchen project I definitely recommend it!
Of course, this Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie is out of this world delicious too! Not only is it brimming with my favorite green veggie, it is also packed with blue cheese, and a lip smackin' mustard sauce. Throw all that on some puff pastry and you will make your mouth very happy.
If you're looking to make a stunning loaf of bread and/or you need a good host/hostess gift then please consider Ottolenghi's Cheese, Garlic, Veggie and Herb Bread. Customize it as you wish. You simply can't go wrong.
These Mini Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Creamy Sumac Sauce are pretty much a dream come true. These are pretty much tender, juicy, flavorful bite-sized nuggets of happiness.
I've been thinking about Ottolenghi's recipe for Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella with Tomato ever since the day I first made it. If you still have fresh tomatoes in your garden then you should make this now! This was a fun twist on a classic. I can't seem to get it out of my mind!
If you are a salad fan, please consider trying Ottolenghi's Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds. This was an extremely popular recipe during our six months with Ottolenghi and I'm pretty sure everyone raved about it! There are several different components in this salad and they all go together perfectly. If you can't locate fresh dates then sub out dried cherries or cranberries.
This recipe for Crispy Couscous with Tomato and Shallots was really fun. Essentially it's a very flavorful couscous cake. I see this being a great side dish to practically everything. We pretty much inhaled it!
These Sweet Potato Cakes were the very first Ottolenghi recipe I tried. I made them six months ago and I'm still thinking about them. Crispy exterior, creamy interior, tangy sauce, great flavor. Do yourself a favor and give them a try this fall/winter.
And, last but certainly not least, was this gorgeously caramelized Surprise Tatin. I can sum this one up in three words: puff pastry, potatoes, and cheese.
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