Sunday, March 15, 2015

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic + Truffled Mashed Potatoes

Oh Ina.... Ina, Ina, Ina.  You never fail me with your lovely recipes.  For those of you who don't know me, I am a HUGE fan of Ina Garten, otherwise known as the Barefoot Contessa.   My DVR religiously records her shows everyday and I pretty much own every cookbook she has ever written.  She makes entertaining and cooking look effortless.  

If you have ever seen her show, you know that her husband, Jeffrey (in my Ina voice), loves chicken.  In fact, she makes some sort of chicken dish every Friday for her and Jeffrey.  This chicken dish is one of her classic recipes.  I have made it a few times and finally took the time to document the process. 

 I'm not even sure if there are 40 cloves of garlic in here.  Maybe I should change the name to "Chicken with a S#!t ton of Garlic".  Don't worry though, the garlic is not too overpowering.   When you cook it for this long, it becomes super soft and sweet, making the sauce out of this world good!   

I amended the recipe a little bit because in my humble opinion, there was never enough of this insanely good sauce.  I also added dried mushrooms because they add even more flavor.  I like to serve this with mashed potatoes, because you need some sort of vehicle to mop up that delicious sauce.  I've always made my mashed potatoes this way and they turn out creamy and fluffy each time.  
I wish the end result pictures were a little better, but by the time I was finished it was already dark, so I had to settle for artificial light.   This is definitely a Sunday dinner dish, as it does take some time to prepare.   If you haven't jumped on the Barefoot Contessa wagon yet, then this dish would be the prefect introduction to the genius that is Ina Garten :)  

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
adapted from Ina Garten
3 heads of garlic
1/2 cup dried shitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup dry white wine (chardonnay)
1/4 cup cognac
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
bouquet garni (3 sprigs of each sage, rosemary and thyme tied with butchers twine into a bundle)
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Break open 3 heads of garlic, separate the cloves and discard any skins.  Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Throw all of the cloves in the water for 1 minute and then remove from the water.  The skin on each clove should come off very easily.

Place dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with some of the stock or wine.  Let soak until softened.  Remove chicken from packaging, pat dry with a paper towel and then salt and pepper liberally.

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat oil and butter over medium high heat.  Working in batches, brown the chicken, skin side down.  Try not to move the chicken because you want to develop a brown sear.  Remove chicken from pan and let sit on a a plate.

To the pot, add garlic and cook for about 5-7 minutes until brown and soft, turning often.  Add the white wine and cognac and reduce while scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Once reduced, add the chicken stock, soaked mushrooms and bouquet garni.  Return the chicken, and its juices, to the pot, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 30 minutes over low heat.

After 30 minutes, remove chicken from the pot.  I like to put mine on a sheet pan an throw under the broiler for about 5 minutes to crisp up the skin.  While you are broiling the chicken, mix together cream and flour.  Slowly pour into cream into the pot and whisk to prevent lumps.  Bring sauce to a boil to slightly thicken and season to taste with salt ad pepper.  Turn off heat, return chicken to pan and serve chicken and sauce over mashed potatoes.

Truffled Mashed Potatoes
5 russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon truffle oil

Peel potatoes and chop into one inch cubes.  Place potatoes into a pot and cover with cold water and a heavy pinch of salt.  Put pot on stove and bring water with potatoes to a boil.  Reduce to medium heat and boil potatoes for at least 25 minutes.  You want them to be falling apart.

Drain potatoes and return to the pot.  With a wooden spoon, cook potatoes in pot over medium-low heat to break them up and remove any moisture. At this point, the potatoes should just fall apart. Turn off heat. To make potatoes extra smooth, run them through a ricer or food mill.

In a large measuring cup, add butter, cream, salt, pepper and truffle oil.  Microwave in 30 second increments until butter is melted.   Add the butter/cream mixture to the potatoes and stir until they are soft and creamy.

Depending on the size of your potatoes, add the cream mixture slowly.  You can always add more, but you can't take it out.  Keep adding cream and butter until you reach your desired consistency.

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