Sometimes I wish I could eat a roast bird and mashed potatoes and gravy for every meal. Most times, I just want somebody to pour gravy all over everything I eat. This chicken-stock gravy is pretty straightforward (just the pan drippings deglazed with chicken stock and thickened with cornstarch), but it’s spiked with a little soy sauce for extra umami and Dijon mustard to give it a little kick. And, oh yeah, alongside the gravy, there’s, like, a juicy roast chicken with an amazing bounty of citrus. There’s also a nontraditional but super delicious mashed sweet- and russet-potato dish with a ribbon of toasted nuts and seeds and fried shallots running through it. And there’s also a righteous green bean salad with a lemony yogurt sauce. And all of these are full of things that make you feel alive. Like gravy!
Seriously, this dish is winey and buttery and comforting and faintly reminds me of chicken marsala, and who doesn’t love chicken marsala? You can use whatever mushrooms you like; I like a mix of button (my go-to cheap, delicious utility mushroom), shiitake (not my all-time favorite mushroom, texture-wise, but definitely the most flavorful), and maitake (aka hen of the woods, for even more texture), but honestly any other varieties would be great! And you could use a wine other than Riesling, but I love the complexity and almost floral sweetness it brings, which balances nicely with the warm spices in the dish. Yes, I know, it is entirely uncool to like white wine that isn’t super dry, but I’m not sure why, and we don’t have to live our lives the way other people want us to just to be polite.
Fried chicken is something I’ll never stop trying to perfect. This version is the latest in my quest for the ideal. Fried chicken is difficult to make well, and especially tough to make for a crowd. Trying to achieve a perfectly cooked, moist interior while getting that crunchy skin with a breading that stays put is one of the things that can keep any good Southern cook up at night. This recipe is one I couldn’t be happier with. That said, since writing it down, I’ve already thought of a few new ideas!
Miso is great with chicken and the flavours of the apricots take on a syrupy jamminess, mingling with the cider to create a sticky-sweet sensation. It is something a little different but, trust me, it is incredibly flavourful.
My mother always made curry with S&B or House Foods curry bricks, just as convenient as bouillon cubes. I like the convenient part, but I don’t care for all the additives that go into most of these store-bought brands. So I started making my own by blending a variety of spices including turmeric, which gives my curry a bright mustardy yellow color and pungent flavor. First you will need to make your own Japanese Curry Brick which you can keep in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months. The base stock is a cold-brew kombu and shiitake mushroom dashi, which can, like the curry brick, be made ahead of time. The curry is traditionally served with rice or noodles and fukujinzuke, a classic pickle made with seven vegetables, a perfect crunchy counterpart to the soft, mild curry.
All the dishes in this chapter are made with chicken thighs, because I unashamedly love them. They’re succulent—so much better than breasts, which can dry out, in fact it’s hard to overcook chicken thighs—they all cook at the same time (and quickly), and there’s no carving. If you like a mixture of thighs and drumsticks, the recipes will will work with those, too, just replace half the thighs in any dish with drumsticks.
The flavors of a tagine without the fuss. This dish is quite sweet, because of the prunes, so it does need the preserved lemon to cut through that. If you don’t like prunes (I know they divide people), use dried apricots or pitted dates instead.
There’s nothing new about marinating chicken with herbs and citrus, but the addition of fish sauce takes this tried-and-true technique to something seriously next level. The fish sauce works its way deep into the chicken to impart its funky, salty flavor all the way through. This recipe also shows off the special relationship between fish sauce and sugar (in this case, honey) and how they work together to create caramelization without tipping the scales of flavor into something too sweet. If you’d rather not mess with a whole chicken, feel free to swap in chicken thighs or breasts.
One of my all-time favorites, this sheet-pan supper has it all—spicy harissa-laced roasted chicken; sweet, browned leeks; crunchy potatoes; plus a cool garnish of salted yogurt and plenty of fresh bright herbs. It’s a little lighter than your average roasted chicken and potatoes dinner, and a lot more profoundly flavored.
Rosemary Fried Chicken recipe by Fernay McPherson of Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, with introduction from We Are La Cocina.