August 12, 2012
One of my favorite things about playing sous chef to a truly experienced cook, is that sometimes I feel like I get a glimpse behind the curtain of the great and wonderful Oz.
On a recent trip to Southern California, I had the pleasure of cooking dinner with my friend Lisa (aka Kitchen Oz). She’s an incredibly accomplished cook and baker and has often contributed to my increased kitchen prowess with tips, tricks and recipes. On this evening, we were preparing Chicken Canzanese, a recipe she got from one of her favorite programs “America’s Test Kitchen.”
What I saw behind the curtain while helping make this wonderful meal (which included a green salad and garlic mashed potatoes), is that the great Oz, is in fact human. And sometimes, she follows a recipe.
Yep, the secret is out. Regardless of your personal kitchen comfort level, just know that laboring over a recipe, reading and re-reading every step before (and 10 times as you go) is normal. It’s expected – that’s why there are so many cookbooks, internet sites and TV shows out there providing recipes. And in the end, you may tailor it a bit to your own palate, but there is no shame in following a recipe explicitly. The great sometimes Oz does.
Chicken Canzanese recipe courtesy of “America’s Test Kitchen,” Episode 11, Italian Comfort Classics
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces prosciutto (1/4-inch thick), cut into ¼-inch cubes
4 medium garlic cloves, sliced thin lengthwise
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and skin
Ground black pepper
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 whole cloves
1 (4-inch) sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and minced fine (about ½ teaspoon), stem reserved
12 whole fresh sage leaves
2 bay leaves
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed ovensafe skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring frequently, until just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add garlic slices and cook, stirring frequently until garlic is golden brown, about 1-1/2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer garlic and prosciutto to small bowl and set aside. Do not rinse pan.
2. Increase heat to medium-high; add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and heat until just smoking. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with ground black pepper. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until well browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and brown on second side, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to large plate.
3. Remove all but 2 tablespoons fat from pan. Sprinkle flour over fat and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly add wine and broth; bring to simmer, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Cook until liquid is slightly reduced, 3 minutes. Stir in cloves, rosemary stem, sage leaves, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and reserved prosciutto and garlic. Nestle chicken into liquid, skin side up (skin should be above surface of liquid), and bake, uncovered, until meat offers no resistance when poked with fork but is not falling off hones, about 1 hour 15 minutes. (Check chicken after 15 minutes; broth should be barely bubbling. If bubbling vigorously, reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.)
4. Using tongs, transfer chicken to serving platter and tent with foil. Remove and discard sage leaves, rosemary stem, cloves, and bay leaves. Place skillet over high heat and bring sauce to boil. Cook until sauce is reduced to 1-1/4 cups, 2 to 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in minced rosemary, lemon juice, and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce around chicken and serve. Serves 4 to 6.
Tasting Notes: This chicken was juicy and delicious. Although with all of the fresh herbs and prosciutto in there, we expected a more robust richness of flavors. As it was, everything melded well together so no one ingredient shined through.