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ANECDOTE 010: January 21, 2007 [listen]
Thinly Coated Thigh Chicken with Drumstick
Castle Chicken with Mashed Potato Moat Broth

Dear Meme:

I wanted to thank you for the gift, for the bottle of infused vinegar.

I've cooked with the vinegar twice--a variation on the same chicken dish. The ingredients were: flour, olive oil, filtered water, infused white vinegar (with rosemary, oregano and hot chili pepper), chicken (thigh/drumstick parts, or leg quarter butchered), onion (yellow, cut in large triangles), carrot (shaved), tomato (chunky), black pepper (freshly twisted), and sea salt (ground).

When preparing the first version (Thinly Coated Thigh Chicken with Drumstick), I started with the flour and olive oil, then I added the vinegar. After, the flour and liquids began to congeal, I made sure that I had at least twenty-four ounces of roux before I put in the thighs and drumsticks. I kept filtered water, vinegar, and olive oil available for trickling to make sure that the roux didn't scorch.

The preparation of this dish was very interactive. I'm used to cooking with cast-iron, but now I'm using a much thinner sauté pan, which makes scorching a problematic that I have to figure in by adjusting the burner's flame in relation to the bubbling dryness that occurs more quickly.

Once the chicken was cooked, about three-quarters through, I removed the pieces and added the onion, carrots, twisted pepper and ground sea salt.

Simmering under low heat, I stirred the sauce pouring in filtered water, vinegar and olive oil until the thickening thinly coated the spoon. (I made sure that the olive oil did not pool within the sauce as well as made sure that the sauce did not get too vinegary.) Then I returned the chicken pieces to the pan. I placed the tomatoes into the pan one minute before the chicken was completely cooked, and the viscous coated the pieces. I turned off the burner, covered the pan, and let the food sit, allowing the tomatoes to gently soften.

Accompanying the meal was some kiwi and cantaloupe, and a bottle of mineral water. If I had planned ahead, I would've had a baguette with butter (or slightly warmed brie)--nevertheless, yummy as is: GLORIOUS!!!

The previous week, I had made some killer mashed potatoes with leeks. I had plenty leftover. To rid myself of this abundance, I created the second version: Castle Chicken with Mashed Potato Moat Broth.

By the way, the ingredients for the mashed potatoes were: potatoes (boiled, cooled, and pealed), leeks (bulb/root sliced thread-like), butter, and milk.

First, I milled the potatoes. Second, I sautéed the leeks with the butter and dribbles of milk until silky (no bubbles, please). Then, I added the milled potatoes by the spoonful, and discretely poured in more milk to maintain silkiness. I used more butter, as needed, to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan. I mashed, stirred, mashed, and stirred with a firm whisk.

The mashed potatoes were the base starch of the meal. So, I excluded the flour. Because the potatoes already had leeks, I substituted the onion with leeks (thickly slivered). Yes, more. Oh yeah, I increased the amount of dried oregano, basil, and hot crushed pepper to offset the density of the potatoes. I also made sure that there were plenty of juices reserved from the chicken, the vinegar, olive oil, carrots, leeks, and tomato to create the moat, a watery gravy (with bits) for the castle: the chicken placed atop the mashed potatoes in a shallow bowl.

This version was eaten without any additional fruit or vegetable on the side.

Both versions were seasonal. The first version was sentimentally Spring; while the second, comfortably Fall.

Wine recommendation: I would drink a Soave with the first, a Chardonnay with the second. Perhaps my wine pairings have something to do with the starchiness of the ingredients-and then there is the swash factor: the contexture of mealy-mouth. When chewing, some people like a sticky roux to paste the tongue and inner cheek, while others like the rubble/residue remaining from the mash. The sip of wine moistens the mealy into a swash that relaxes the nasal passage and subtly intensifies the sniffle in between the chews, thus enhancing the flavor.

Me, my preference is mineral water; the swash aggrandizes the flavor without distracting from the ingredients. Mineral water is such a catalyst.

Anyhow, without the infused vinegar [insert brand name here], these recipes would have not been made possible.

Thanks again, Meme.


Feel free to exercise thought by sending me an email regarding preparation nuances. Be sure to experiment with flavor--and remember, eat your mistakes, uh, ingredients. (Disclaimer)
Copyright © 2006 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved