“I’m just sad that it’s not baseball season. This one would be good for an 8 game winning streak.”
Those were the words I wrote when I posted this recipe back in December 2009. Of all the chicken I ate and shot last year I called this one by Martha Rose Shulman the ” Chicken Recipe of the Year” and documented it in a video I made while preparing it…well…an 8 game winning streak is one game more than we need to take home #28…but why risk it.
Last night was pretty brutal to watch and AJ has had a very tough year but I believe he is a very proud player with tremendous talent. I also believe that he realizes that he can erase an awful lot of bad pitching this year and get his team even and energize the fans with one good outing today. That is a lot of motivation. I say we are back here tomorrow singing AJ’s praises…Go Yanks!
Chicken Bouillabaisse for a Crowd
4 1/4 pounds cut up chicken (drumsticks, thighs, breasts – 16 pieces), skinned
1/2 cup Pernod or Pastis (anise flavored aperitif)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 generous pinches saffron threads
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf and a couple of sprigs each thyme and rosemary
1 quart chicken or turkey stock
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold or new potatoes, scrubbed and sliced
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and broken in half
A handful of chopped fresh parsley
1. Cut chicken breasts in half for smaller pieces. Season all of the chicken with salt and pepper, and toss in a very large bowl with one pinch of the saffron and the Pernod or Pastis. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large resealable bag, pour in the liquid from the bowl and seal the bag. Place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate overnight. If possible, move the chicken around in the bag from time to time.
2. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil is hot, working in batches, brown the chicken on all sides, about five minutes per batch. Remove to a baking sheet or bowl.
3. Heat a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven over medium heat, and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring often until they soften, about five minutes. Add the carrots and celery and a generous pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until tender and fragrant, five to eight minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute until fragrant, and then add the tomatoes, thyme and salt to taste. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the dark meat pieces to the pot, along with any juice that has accumulated in the bowl or sheet pan. Add the crushed fennel seeds, the stock, bouquet garni and potatoes, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste. Add the remaining pinch of saffron, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Add the breast meat pieces, and simmer another 30 minutes. Check to see that the potatoes are tender. If they are not, simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. If serving the next day (recommended), use tongs to transfer the chicken pieces to a bowl, and cover tightly. Remove the bouquet garni and discard. Refrigerate the chicken and the broth with the vegetables overnight, and skim off the fat from the surface of the broth the next day. Return the chicken to the pot to reheat.
4. While the chicken is simmering, or while reheating, blanch the beans for five minutes in a medium pot of boiling salted water. Transfer to the chicken stew. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in the parsley and serve in wide soup bowls.
Yield: Serves eight to 10.
Advance preparation: This benefits from being made at least one day ahead and will keep for three or four days. It is best to cook the beans shortly before reheating.