This past weekend I went to my local library and got a library card which was so exciting since I haven’t had a library card in, like, 10 years. I nearly forgot how much I enjoyed picking random aisles and arbitrarily sliding a book off the shelf to peak inside. This library is very small but nonetheless a wealth of information. I walked out with 6 heavy books, one of which was “Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes” by Jeanne Kelley.
The book itself is beautiful and the recipes have this California/French Countryside vibe (perfect). I was drawn to read one recipe primarily out of curiosity, “Rabbit with Prunes and Olives.” Well, let’s just say that I have no plans to stew up rabbit any soon (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” I guess.) but since the author mentions this recipe is based off of a chicken one then I figured it would turn out about the same. Chicken I can do.
Folks, this was good. I mean GOOD. And easy. And not too expensive (initially buying olives and white wine seem expensive but they can last through a few recipes). I served this with a simple green salad and couscous seasoned with a pinch of lavender salt.
Here is the recipe with my notes in brackets:
“Chicken with Prunes and Olives”
2 T olive oil [I used extra virgin b/c that's all I have]
1 whole chicken (about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 lbs), cut into 8 pieces [I used 2 1/2 lb chicken, 3 large bone-in breasts with skin and fat removed]
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, chopped [this I julienned and only used half but a whole one would be just fine]
6 garlic cloves, chopped [I always crush mine simply b/c it's easier]
2/3 c dry white wine [I used 1/2 c white cooking wine and the rest was cooking sherry, seemed to work!]
3 T red wine vinegar
3 T chopped fresh oregano or 3 t dried [I used dried]
2 T light brown sugar [I used dark brown]
1/2 c pitted prunes
1/2 c picholine or other brine-cured green olives [I used large garlic-stuffed ones]
Heat 1 T of the olive oil in a heavy, large enameled Dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.br /br /Add the remaining 1 T olive oil, the onion, and garlic to the Dutch oven and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes (the bottom of the pan should be dark brown but not burned). Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan (deglazing). Add the vinegar and reduce the heat to low. Return the chicken to the Dutch oven and add 3 cups of water. Add 2 T [or 2 t if using dried] of the oregano and the brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is no longer pink and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Stir in the prunes and olives and simmer, partially covered, until the chicken and prunes are very tender, about 15 minutes. (Can be prepared to this point up to 2 days ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate. Return to a simmer.)
Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Boil the liquid in the Dutch oven until it has thickened and reduced to a sauce consistency, about 5 minutes [this seemed to take me about twice the time]. Season the salt with salt and pepper to taste and spoon over the chicken. Sprinkle with remaining 1 T [or 1 t dried] oregano and serve.
[I say this makes about 4 servings.]
“Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes” by Jeanne Kelley. Excerpted by arrangement with Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2008.