Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Recipes and a New Cooking Video

We don't get much of a fall season here in Arizona. Last week temperatures were in the high 80's and I was hopeful. But this past weekend we hit the 100 mark once again. Such crazy weather makes it very hard to enjoy the traditional comfort foods of the season like soups and stews.

I've decided to ignore the rising temperatures outside and create my own fall food season with some Merlot-Braised Chicken Thighs. I saw this recipe in a Lidia Bastianich cookbook and thought it would be perfect. Chicken thighs are stuffed with a mixture of carrots, celery and onion; a combo that reminds me so much this time of year. Add some sprigs of fresh rosemary and sage and this dish is screaming fall. On the side I served Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes, also from Lidia. (see below for recipes)

Lucky for us my husband decided this recipe was worthy of a video.

Hope you enjoy it!

Merlot-Braised Chicken Thighs
adapted from Lidia Bastianich

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup leek, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 can Italian parsley, chopped
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
12 sprigs rosemary
12 sage leaves
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup Merlot
1 cup chicken stock

In a medium size skillet, heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil together over medium heat until the butter is foaming.

Add onions and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and cool completely. Stir in the grated cheese and parsley.

Cut twenty-four 4 inch lengths of kitchen twine. Place a chicken thigh on a work surface. Spread about 1/4 cup of the vegetable mixture in an even layer over the chicken thigh. Roll the thigh around the filling into a tight cylinder. Place the stuffed thigh, seam side down and tie it securely with two pieces of twine.

Tuck a rosemary sprig under the twine on one side of the thigh and a sage leaf on the other side. Set aside and repeat with the remaining thighs.

In a nonreactive skillet large enough to hold the thighs in a single layer, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, than add the chicken bundles and garlic. Cook, turning the chicken thighs often and rotating them in the skillet so they cook evenly, until golden brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add the wine and bring it to a boil. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then adjust the level of heat down to a lively simmer.

Cook, uncovered, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 20 minutes.

Cut and remove the strings and discard the herbs. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

String Beans and Potaotes
adapted from Lidia Bastianich

1 large Idaho or Yukon Gold potato, about 8 ounces
1 pounds fresh string beans, cleaned
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the potato and cut crosswise into 11/2 inch pieces. Pour enough cold water over the potato in a large pot to cover by 3 inches. Bring to a boil. Cook about 8 minutes. Add the string beans, and cook until tender; about 7 minutes. Drain the beans and potatoes.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook just until it begins to brown, about 1 minute. Add the string beans and potatoes, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and mashing the potatoes roughly. Add the remaining olive oil, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.


  1. Brava!!!! This was fabulous.. truly a cooking moment that even Lydia would be proud of! :)
    Yummy too!

  2. Love the video! Looks delicious! I see that you are a Philly transplant... my daughter is a freshman at Swarthmore College so while we have always loved Philadelphia (I'm from NJ), we are spending a little more time in the area. I just ate an Isgro cannoli - *yum*! It has been super cold and rainy in the East, so do enjoy Arizona!

  3. Awesome video. Chicken looks delicious, will try making it soon. Great Job.

  4. You made the video? Fantastic!
    Always need new ways of cooking chicken. I'll try this too.

  5. I always enjoy your videos! and I haven't had green beans and potatoes Italian style since my friend's mom made it this summer w/ those gorgeous flat Italian beans that I never can find!

  6. Freakin awesome! I'm making it now!!

    Joey Spaghetti

  7. I love hearty fall food. And Lidia certainly knows her way around a kitchen. Great video!

  8. You made it look easy! I could almost smell the Merlot. Great video!!!


  9. My mouth is watering. Loved the video!! I need to run out and get some chicken thighs ASAP!

  10. Other than the Parmesan, I love this recipe. There is something comforting about it.

    Chicken is a weekly meal, in my home, so I hope I can schedule this, real soon.

    Isn't it amazing, blogging brings about, so many good recipes, we can't possibly make all those we are interested in.

  11. How fun was that!! Great video and great recipe...I love Lidia! :D

  12. Found the video is easy to follow and it makes cooking a lot of fun! :)