Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Even though it's mid-winter and the temperature outside was hovering around 7 degrees F., it was time to grill. I had purchased some boneless chicken breast and was having a hankering for some Chicken Bryan. We'd just purchased a new charcoal grill after ours had faithfully served us for many years and then fallen completely apart, and we had a nice pile of charcoal to go with it after the previous evening's boneless sirloin dinner, so I convinced my husband (it didn't take much) to fire up the grill and toss on the chicken part of the Chicken Bryan. While he was seasoning and grilling the chicken, 14-year-old Aleks and I put together the sauce and side dishes. One of our favorite Italian restaurants serves Chicken Bryan with garlic mashed potatoes, which is a simply delicious vehicle for the extra sun-dried tomato and basil sauce that slides off of the grilled chicken breasts. Whether you make this as a side for Chicken Bryan or for a simple grilled sirloin, you'll love the zip of these potatoes.


Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Serves 4-6

10 medium russett potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons butter), room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
3 tablespoon heavy cream, room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remember to always start your potatoes in COLD water. Put just enough water in a medium saucepot to cover the potatoes. Salt the water, and then bring it to a boil. Once they start boiling, set timer for 5 minutes. Check potatoes occasionally for tenderness. They should be fork tender (a fork easily inserts into the piece of potato) but not so tender that they disintigrate in the water. Drain potatoes and return to the saucepan.

Add the butter, sour cream, heavy cream and garlic to the potatoes, mashing with a potato masher. Add more heavy cream if the potatoes aren't creamy enough. Season with additional salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh chives and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Garlic Chicken with White Wine Sauce

This delicious recipe comes from Simply Recipes with a couple of minor modifications, including this garlic technique learned from Cooks Illustrated; when using whole cloves of garlic in a recipe like this, save yourself some time by throwing the heads in your stand mixer with the paddle blade attached. The blade will batter the heads apart, leaving you with cloves that have been lightly crushed and ready to use. Toss out whatever loose paper remains, but throw the cloves with the bits of paper attached right in. As Elise says, they add flavor. When you're done with this fabulous dish, you'll be left with a pot of liquid gold, as it produces much more sauce than you'll need for your meal. Don't throw it out, for heaven's sake! Strain it through a fine-mesh strainer, chill, remove excess fat from the top, and use it in your favorite soup or stew. I used mine in Beef Vegetable Stew, substituting it for the bouillon and other seasonings, and the family was amazed by the increase in flavor over how the recipe is usually made. And as my friend D.J. says, don't cook with a wine you wouldn't drink. I used Sauvignon Blanc, just as Elise suggested, and it was fabulous. Serve with lightly mashed Yukon Gold potatoes seasoned with salt and black pepper. If you want to take the time, fish a handful of the cooked garlic pieces (skins off--the skins will have slipped right off or easily will when you pick them up; careful, they'll be hot!) from the wine sauce and add them before you mash the potatoes. A hunk of crusty bread, a green salad, and you're so well-fed, you won't believe it. 


Garlic Chicken with White Wine Sauce

  • 4 lbs chicken pieces--quarters, thighs, bone-in-breasts 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 whole heads of garlic
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 ¼ cup dry white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • (definitely use sprigs of fresh herbs if you have them, but as it's winter in Ohio, I don't)
1 Toss heads of garlic, one at a time, into the stand mixer with paddle attached. Turn on medium-low and let the mixer separate the cloves, bruise them a bit, and knock off the extra skin. Don't peel the garlic, but dispose of any paper that fell off during the mixing process.

2 Trim the chicken pieces of excess fat. Pat dry and sprinkle pieces generously with salt and pepper.

3 Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven or roasting pan on medium high. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Lay the chicken pieces on the hot oil, do not move until browned, then turn over to other side using tongs (about 3 minutes per side). Remove to a platter when browned.

4 Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary. Add the garlic, skins on, and sauté until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Take a HUGE whiff, 'cause this smells doggone GOOD! Add the wine and the herbs. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken pieces. Reduce the heat to medium low.

5 Cover the pan and simmer on the stovetop until the chicken is cooked through. Move the chicken pieces from top to bottom every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes. Chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part reads 180°F for thighs and 170°F for breasts.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken pieces to a platter; spoon garlic sauce over the chicken.