Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chicken Vesuvio

I was watching an episode of Andrew Zimmerman’s Delicious Destinations the other day and the show was from our recently visited Chicago area.  One of the places he showed was an Italian restaurant and they were cooking a Chicago invented dish called Chicken Vesuvio – origins unknown and debated.

This restaurant’s recipe was not available to me so I went on-line and found the Saveur recipe which had very similar ingredients to what I saw during the show, but I cut the recipe in half.  I also looked at the recipe from Chicago’s Marie at Proud Italian Cook and preferred her directions so I adapted the two of them to get the following.

Chicken Vesuvio 

1/2 cup olive oil (approx), divided
5 cloves garlic
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered lengthwise
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or two Dolly sized cut in half crosswise)
¾ cups white wine
1⁄6 cup finely chopped parsley
½ tbsp. dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¾ cups chicken stock
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

I made it a one pot meal and cooked everything in our seven quart, cast iron Dutch oven.

1.  Add some oil to the bottom of the pan over medium high heat, add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Brown on all three sides and set aside on a plate – it took me two batches and I added additional oil as needed.
2.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and coat lightly with flour (I did this since it was skinless chicken).
3.  Heat oven to 375° at this point.
4.  Repeat the cooking process in the pan for the chicken and I once again browned on three sides of the large breasts.
5.  Remove the chicken to the plate and toss in the garlic to cook for a couple of minutes until golden.
6.  Add wine to deglaze the pan and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes  
7.  Add stock, season with parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook a couple of minutes to get it hot.
8.  Add the chicken to the pan, top with potatoes, and cook in the oven (uncovered) until the chicken reaches a 160F internal temperature, then pour the peas over the top and return to the oven.
9.  When the chicken reaches 165F,  remove and plate: chicken-potatoes-sauce with peas.  

When I got ready to download my pics I found the card was in the computer and not the camera so here are a couple from the web that look very much like ours (my pan shot was deeper).

I thought it was very good and a pretty easy one pot meal.  I’d say from start of prep to plating, it took about 1½ hours, with about 30 minutes in the oven.  If I make it again, I’ll make the full recipe for a bigger group, using bone-in thighs, then serve it on a platter.  I think I'll also add some red pepper to give it a little more color like I saw in some of the photos like this.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


4/21/17 Meal Date

Friday, April 14, 2017

French Cassoulet & More Wurst

We both wanted white beans and I had been wanting to try cassoulet and we had sausage so that’s what we made using some more sausage from The Wurst Kitchen.  I looked around and found a fairly simple recipe to use from My Recipes, that I altered a little.

Cassoulet - Adapted from My Recipes
8 bone-in chicken thighs (I used a whole chicken)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 ounces chicken sausage or kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch slices – note 1
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 celery rib, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped Italian or flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Monday, April 10, 2017

Lets Eat Wursts

For our initial try of the sausages from The Wurst Kitchen, we opted for the first one I came to in the freezer - Chicken Cordon Bleu - which we just grilled and served with some parboiled then grilled sweet potatoes.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Visit With Eric And Family – Sunday

We had originally planned to stay another day but since Eric had to work, Ann was leaving town and the weather was nasty, we decided to drive home Monday and make this our final day, so we marked the last two things off of our list.  We began with all six of us making a mid-morning drive west into Aurora – the adjoining town and 2nd largest city in IL. 

Our destination was The Wurst Kitchen, which has been making sausages since 1895 and sits on the corner in a residential neighborhood.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Visit With Eric And Family – Friday Night & Saturday

Friday night, we went to Lou Manalti’s Pizzeria in Naperville where we had “The Lou” deep dish and a pepperoni for the kids.  We ordered ahead so we had less of a wait in the balmy 75F sunshine.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Visit With Eric And Family – The Area

Eric and Ann moved to Naperville, IL (southwest of Chicago) a couple of years ago and we had yet to make it up for a visit but things finally fell into place and we recently drove up for a long weekend.  In addition to seeing them and the grand kids and seeing their home and Naperville, we wanted to do some food things – eat a deep dish pizza, eat a Chicago hot dog, eat some ethnic food, and visit a sausage maker.

They live in a nice neighborhood which is now seeing its second generation of young owners and is typical of homes built around the early 60’s.  They have a shaded lot backed up to a golf course and a split level home that has a very similar floor plan to the one I spent my late teens living in – a plus for me was the need to negotiate stairs (good knee exercise) many times a day.  Here is a shot from Google Earth – no tree leaves when we visited.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Greek Pasta Bake (Toss)

I had been craving something with Greek flavors and especially a pasta dish and we had some tomatoes we needed to use so I looked through my saved recipes (I have about three lifetimes worth) to discover one from Taste Of Home which sounded almost perfect but I adapted it a little to suit our taste and ingredients – we prefer tossed vs. baked for most pasta dishes.

Greek Pasta Bake TossAdapted From “Taste Of Home”

1 package penne pasta
3-4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (we grilled ours)
29 ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced and squeezed a little
1 cup cherry tomatoes, whole or halved depending on size
2 packages fresh spinach, chopped and sautéed (or 10 oz frozen)
½ cup each sliced ripe and kalamata olives, sliced
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped yellow pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for garnish

1. In a 12” sauté pan, with some olive oil, cook the onion and green pepper until soft, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
2. Add the spinach and sauté until well wilted and most of the liquid is gone.
3. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced & grape tomatoes, chicken, herbs, olives, and S&P to taste and simmer about 20 minutes.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and return to cooking pan
5. Add the sauce to the pasta cooking pan along with the cheeses and toss until well combined.
6. Plate and top with a little more feta.

We served it with a Caesar salad for a delicious meal – this was definitely a keeper pasta dish.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


3/21/17 Meal Date