Baby, it’s been cold outside. Today we are finally going to reach a high of 20 degrees. It will feel like summer, after what we’ve been through. Mind you, it’s not like living in the Midwest. We at least have sunshine, which manages to give me a false hope that it is warm outside. That is until I poke my nose out the door and discover that it still hasn’t warmed up.
You see my desk is on the North side of the house. The thermostat is on the South side of the house. I work in the coldest room of the house! Now the dogs know better. They lie in the living room where the sun comes barreling through the big picture window and makes the wood floors warm and sunny. They have a perfect spot for dreaming all day long. Well, at least until the sun disappears. The living room is where my bread dough rises. The living room is where my few plants grow. The living room is where we hardly ever live!
I get cold sitting at my desk. So when seeking nourishment I’m needing food that fills my insides and keeps me warm. I want it full of flavor and I want it to make the kitchen warm, too. Our kitchen gets really cold also, which does not allow us to linger long after dinner; another reason that I like foods that heat the oven and keep the kitchen warm. (Long ago when remodeling we removed some heater vents to knock out some walls in the kitchen. Do you think the contractor might have mentioned the fact that the room might get really cold in the winter? We have hot water heat and the vents are put in the floors. We added lots of glass in the form of patio doors, which took away places for vents or heat to come through.) More than you need to know right?
Well, you get the picture. So, I made this. Chicken Sofrito-Sephardic style. I say that because sofrito is a method associated with Latin cooking and it usually involves sauteed aromatic ingredients like onions and garlic, that are then braised. Sephardic style is more a way of cooking rather than a mixture of ingredients. Does that make sense? Sofrito comes from the Spanish word sofreir, which means to fry lightly. It involves slow cooking on the top of the stove with only oil and very little liquid. The slow braising and steaming of the meat or chicken, results in a tender and tummy soothing dish.
This slow braising allows a dish to be kept warm on the stove for a very long time. It allows for someone who keeps Kosher to have warm food on Shabbat and still adhere to the Jewish law of not working on the Sabbath. No need to turn on the stove, which is considered work, to heat a meal. The stove can be kept warm and this dish with it! So you see, it is a good dish to warm my insides!
I found this recipe in the Jerusalem cookbook that uses my favorite ingredients. Onions. Garlic. And potatoes. Yippee! It was a good recipe but I thought it needed a bit more flavor. Though it contains 25 cloves of garlic, they are cooked unpeeled. The garlic becomes soft and sweet and perfect for each bite of chicken. I added a bit more seasoning to keep myself happy.
Tell me what you think. And tell me what is your favorite tummy warmer on a cold winter day?
Chicken Sofrito (Yottam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Jerusalem)
1 T sunflower or canola oil
1 small whole chicken, about 3.5 pounds (I cut the backbone out and then cut through the breast bone so I could have two halves of chicken)
2 onions – 1 quartered and 1 chopped
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 t sweet paprika
1 t smoked paprika
1/4 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t Aleppo pepper or 1/4 t chile flakes
Freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 2/3 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch dice
25 unpeeled cloves of garlic
Oil for frying potatoes
Salt chicken and marinate in juice of 1 lemon for a few hours or overnight.
Mix paprikas, sugar, salt, chile pepper and some black pepper (to taste) in a small bowl.
When ready to cook, heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute the chopped onion until translucent. Add the garlic cloves and saute about 30 seconds more. Add the bay leaf. Place the chicken flat in pot, skin side down and sear for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Season all over with seasoning mix. Squirt juice of 1/2 lemon on top. Turn the chicken over so that the skin side faces up, add the quartered onion to the pot and cover with a lid. Decrease the heat to low and cook for 1 hour. Lift the lid every now and then to see if there is about 1/4 inch liquid in the bottom of the pot. If necessary add a bit of chicken stock to keep the chicken from sticking. (I did not have to add liquid.)
While chicken is cooking, heat oil over a medium high heat, in a large skillet. Fill the skillet to a depth of about 3/4 inch. Fry the chopped potatoes and unpeeled cloves of garlic in two batches, for about 6 minutes per batch, or until they crisp up and take on some color. Using a slotted spoon, lift potatoes from the oil and drain on paper towels. Season with salt. Fry second batch and repeat.
After the chicken has cooked for an hour, lift it from the pot and spoon in the potatoes and garlic. Return the chicken to the pot, placing it on top of the potatoes for the remainder of the cooking time, about 30 minutes. The chicken should be almost falling off the bone and the potatoes should be soaked in the cooking liquid. Drizzle with the juice from the remaining half of the lemon. Check for seasoning. You may need more salt and pepper.
Note: I served this with roasted carrots. Prepare your carrots and place in and oiled pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and rosemary. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Turn about the halfway point so they get golden on all sides. Cook until fork tender. These are delicious!
Another Favorite Tummy Warmer:
|Chili Three Ways|
Not My Mama’s Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken, Artichoke, Mushroom Casserole
Porcini Mushroom Lasagna
My Mother’s Brisket
Boneless Rib Roast and Baked Rice
Hot Brown Sandwich
Sweet and Hot Green Onion Mustard
Frozen Cranberry Salad
Fresh Cranberry and Apple Salad
Shortbread Nut Bars
World Peace Cookies
Chocolate Icebox Toffee Cookies
Shortbread Cookie Cut Outs
Double Chocolate Mocha Macadamia Bark
Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites
Chocolate Krantz Cake or Babka
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