Monday, March 31, 2008

Favorite Dishes

Over the weekend, I attended the wake for Sheleata Kanatuna, the beloved cat of Tim and Tony, who passed away a little over a month ago. As with all wakes, I brought food. A cat-serole, to be precise. That's what the invitation asked I bring.

My cat-serole was a huge hit, so I'm happily sharing the recipe.

Crisp Potato and Bacon Casserole
from Gourmet magazine, October 2004 and reprinted on

1 1/2 lb boiling potatoes (3 or 4 medium)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 bacon slices (1/4 lb), cut into 1-inch pieces


  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Generously spray 2 1/2-quart shallow baking dish with Pam.
  2. Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Transfer potatoes to a 2 1/2-quart shallow baking dish and toss with oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Arrange potatoes in 1 layer and scatter bacon on top.
  3. Bake until bacon is crisp and potatoes are cooked through and golden around edges, about 35 minutes. Loosen potatoes with a metal spatula before removing from dish.

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Makes approximately 4 servings.

Notes: Having now made this dish twice, I would say do everything to taste. If you want more rosemary, use it. Personally, I made sure that the entire dish was covered with bacon. When you stir in the bacon at the end, that ensures you will have bacon spread throughout. Finally, I did not use boiling potatoes. I used regular baking potatoes and then Yukon Gold potatoes and both times it was great. This dish was easy and delicious. I will definitely make it again.


Last summer, I was talking to Jason one night when he mentioned to me this little chicken dish he was making himself for dinner. It sounded divine so I begged him to send me the recipe. He did, and imagine my surprise to learn this guy's guy scans the Wall Street Journal for recipes!

Very quickly, the tarragon chicken below has become a regular in my cooking repertoire. I probably make this every other week. It's easy and makes a lot, so I always have leftovers. One tip, like Jason, I prefer to cook the chicken itself on my grill. I start out following the recipe, but do not like to return the chicken to the skillet to just sit in the olive oil and its own fat for 30 minutes. Also, I only use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. And I have never used white wine vinegar - I've always used tarragon in place of it.

Bistro-Style Chicken with Tomato and Tarragon

3 T olive oil
2 chicken breasts and 2 leg/thighs, on the bone with skin (or a 3 1/2 lb chicken cut up)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 C dry white wine
1/2 C canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, lightly crushed with your hands, juice reserved (I used diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes out of my garden!)
1/4 C tarragon or white wine vinegar
3 T unsalted butter
2 t roughly chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy, nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat. When it just beings to smoke, add only enough chicken pieces to fit into the skillet without touching and cook until well browned on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside while you saute the remaining pieces in batches, if necessary.
  2. When all the chicken has been removed from the skillet, add the garlic to the drippings and saute over medium heat until fragrant but not browned, about 15 seconds.
  3. Add the wine and chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the skillet along with any accumulated juices and boil the liquid until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes to the skillet along with about half the juice in the can, the vinegar, and the butter. Return to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer) and the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes; turn the chicken pieces once or twice during the cooking time and break up the tomatoes with a spoon. The sauce should hold together but still be chunky. (If the breasts are very thick and are not cooked through after 30 minutes, remove the legs from the skillet, cover with a lid and continue to simmer until done.)
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fresh tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken in the skillet or transfer to a platter, topping it with the sauce.

Bon appetit!


  1. I am so making that potato thing..... but I might add some leeks to it... I think that would be tasty!

  2. It was YUMMY. I just told my brother about it and he wants me to make it for dinner for him tomorrow night. He can just keep dreaming.


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