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Chicken Sofrito or Fry Me Lightly

“Chicken Sofrito is another name for chicken, potatoes and garlic. Add a touch of lemon and you have the perfect winter comfort food.”

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)
Serves 4
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 lemons
 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

December Treats:

Gingerbread Waffles
German Apple Pancake
Belgian Liege Waffles

Cranberry Chipotle Wonton Cups
Mushroom Lover’s Pastry
Onion Dip
3 Ingredient Artichoke Dip
Smoked Trout Pate
Savory Sweet Potato Latkes

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
Spritz Cookies
Fool’s Toffee
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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  • Reply
    Kitchen Riffs
    December 9, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    We're into chili at the moment for our stay-warm dish. And soups, of course. It's been cold here, too, but nothing like what you're experiencing! Lucky for us our house is pretty warm, so that's not a problem. Still, I'd be inclined to make this anyway, just because it looks so good! Really nice dish – thanks.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Thanks, John. We haven't ignored chili though! Today the thermometer outside is reading 50 so it appears a major warming trend is on its way. Haven't seen it like this for at least two weeks! And nowhere close either!

  • Reply
    Sharon D
    December 10, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Oh, this looks heavenly and I learned a new word ~ Sofrito! Thank you, Abbe β™₯
    I've never experienced winter. I am often at awe with Autumn's warm colours and Winter's white.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      Sharon, I like winter and I love fall. But when you have days and days of freezing cold, it gets a bit old! However I love being snowed in. It makes you feel all secure and content in the peace of your home!

  • Reply
    Amy (Savory Moments)
    December 10, 2013 at 1:00 am

    It's getting really cold here, too! I want to have warm and comforting dishes to warm me up as well. This looks really delicious and perfect for a cold wintery evening!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      It is perfect for a cold wintery evening. Thanks, Amy!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    December 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Wow Abbe – this looks totally satisfying! We're having another lovely day of rain/ice/snow/cold dreariness πŸ™‚ I would just love a good pot of this chicken and a foot of snow!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 10, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      I' would love a foot of snow, too! I love being snowed in. Luckily we don't often have the dreariness of the East and Midwest. thanks, Tricia!

  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    December 10, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    That's a bowl of comfort and deliciousness, Abbe.

  • Reply
    Laura Dembowski
    December 10, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    This definitely looks like a comforting dish. Parts of our house are colder than others too. I always have a robe and blankets at the ready!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      You know Laura-I have tried cooking in a robe. It is way too bulky for me and I always end up taking it off. But then I go sit in the chair with about 10 blankets!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I've the same problem in my kitchen, Abbe. Prior to my living here, the heating element was removed from my kitchen. I suppose it's not too bad if you're cooking for a family but for me, living alone, my kitchen is freezing most of the time. I find myself doing a lot of braising in the Winter, too, just to keep that room warm. This dish you prepared looks so good — love the 25 cloves of garlic — and I've got that cookbook. Guess what I'll be trying in the near future? Thanks, Abbe!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Oh, John! This is a good one but in my opinion needed a bit more flavor! Those ravioli would keep me warm, too! When Manservant travels I don't cook as much and I can assure you I also don't sit in the kitchen! Too cold!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    This is the perfect dish on a cold day!!

  • Reply
    Daniela Grimburg
    December 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I can imagine how you feel, it's terrible when you are sitting and working
    in a room that doesn't get really warm.
    But the chicken sofritto looks so delightful and comforting- perfect to keep you warm on colder days.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      It definitely keeps you warm. Today it is warming up and I am so ready. Thanks, Daniela!

  • Reply
    Liz Berg
    December 12, 2013 at 1:57 am

    I think your weather is finally headed our way…the low tonight will be 1ΒΊ. This looks like a most delicious way to warm up from the inside out! I have been coveting this cookbook…it may be time to treat myself.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      It is past time, Liz! It is a great cookbook and worth every penny. Well, not sure how much Bill will like it! Stay warm!

  • Reply
    Liz Berg
    December 12, 2013 at 1:59 am

    Shoot, I don't know whether I clicked publish before I navigated away! Anyway, in case this is my second comment, I'll just say this looks wonderful!

  • Reply
    Nazneen Hamilton
    December 12, 2013 at 5:45 am

    I need to cook from that cookbook more often! I just love to read it and drool, but then I see others cooking from it and everything looks so good, just like this wonderful dish. Hasn't it been just freezing! Oh my gosh. Glad it's finally warming up. Still a but brisk though, as soon as the sun goes down. Stay warm! I like dishes like this on cold days, and we did a chilli a few weeks ago too.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 12, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      It is easy to cook from! And most dishes turn out great! Thank goodness it is getting warmer!

  • Reply
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    December 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    It's difficult to think about 20 degrees Celsius much less 20 degrees Fahrenheit. πŸ™‚ It's been really hot and humid here for the past few days. I look for the cool spot. πŸ™‚

    I LOVE this chicken dish!

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      December 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      I never did well with humidity which is one reason I never enjoyed Illinois-but I love the Midwest! My upper lip sweats and I feel like a granny! But after our weather, I think the humidity could have been tolerated! Thanks Maureen!

  • Reply
    Dan from Platter Talk
    December 12, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    It's SO cold here, too! Your post is bitter-sweet to me, it definitely gives me thoughts of a warm and delcious meal, at the same time causing my stomach to growl because it looks that wonderful! Nice post, thanks for sharing this one.

  • Reply
    Denise Browning@From Brazil To You
    December 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    What a great dish for these chilly days, Abbe! I could clean the plate!!!

  • Reply
    Anna and Liz Recipes
    December 13, 2013 at 1:44 am

    What a delicious recipe for chicken, I think I know what's for dinner tomorrow. Thanks Abbe!

  • Reply
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens
    December 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Ahhhh, yes … this does look like the quintessential soul-warming comfort food for these cold days! And I love your description of huddling in the chill over your computer while your pups find warmer spots elsewhere – that's exactly what my little dog and I are doing right now! πŸ˜€

  • Reply
    kumars kitchen
    December 13, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    perfect dish for warming up tummies while it is cold outside….delicious,thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Shulie Foodwanderings
    December 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    This chicken sofrito seems so hearty and satisfying. Perfect for mid-week or cold winter weekends.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2014 at 6:29 am

    What additional spices do you think is needed? should the garlic cloves have the skin removed? Thank you.

    • Reply
      Abbe Odenwalder
      September 9, 2014 at 8:27 pm

      Tammy, if you love garlic, i would remove at least half of the skins from the cloves of garlic. I already added the extra seasonings in the recipe above so it should be OK as is! It really is a good dish! Hope you like it!

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