Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Always Trust Your Gut
When a recipe for "Chicken and Garlic Stew," better known as Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic, tells you to simply add all the ingredients to your dutch oven and start simmering, you've got to know that something is deathly wrong.
But I was a dumbass and trusted the recipe in Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything instead of trusting my gut. I've produced quite a few recipes from this no nonsense cookbook with success, so I thought "Why not?"
This "supposed braising" recipe required no browning, no deglazing, and asked for only a half cup of liquid to support a 3 lb. chicken. But since Mark seems to know what he's talkin' 'bout, I followed, mixing the cut up chicken, olive oil, parsley, cinnamon, salt, pepper, forty or so cloves of unpeeled garlic, and about 3/4 cup of liquid (oooh, I diverged!) to the pot.
When I lifted the cover, what I saw was a nasty boiled/steamed chicken dinner. I left the cover off and tried to reduce it to get a little browning going, but the chicken remained tasteless and lifeless and I am now kicking myself in the ass. I will say that the softened garlic cloves were good, and I was able to at least make a meal out of spreading them on pieces of crusty baguette.
I am not posting the recipe for obvious reasons!