Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Nov 6, 2012

Chicken in Garlic-Almond Sauce

Libations used: 2/3 cup dry sherry
Libations left over: serve some with dinner as an aperitif...
I recently decided to have some girl friends come over for an impromptu Sunday dinner.  All of us live by ourselves, so it's nice to come together on that traditional family dinner night and share a meal.  I'm all about making dishes that aren't going to require you slaving over the stove while your guests are around.  Bon Appetit published this recipe for Chicken in Garlic-Almond Sauce in their October issue.  It's a Spanish braised chicken dish and uses dry sherry or white wine.  I absolutely love making meals in my Dutch oven when guests are around.  It makes meats incredibly tender and requires little attention.

I actually started working on this dish a little early so I could get the sauce all prepared and blended.  I started browning the chicken about 20 minutes before my guests arrived, so it could then be transferred into the Dutch oven to finish cooking.  I served it with a light salad using Maggies' Farms Spicy Mix, persimmons, goat cheese and walnuts with a champagne walnut dressing (store-bought, but I maybe I should try making one!).

Chicken in Garlic-Almond Sauce - serves 4
  • 4 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 2 cups 1/2" cubes of crustless white bread
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 Tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley

- In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat 3 Tbs of the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the almonds and stir until golden brown, for about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the almonds to paper towels.
- Place 1/3 cup of them in a food processor or blender and set aside the remaining for garnish.
- Add the bread cubes and garlic to the same pot.
- Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the bread is golden brown and crisp.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bread and garlic to the blender with the almonds.
- Add the broth, sherry, 1/2 tsp of pepper, saffron and a pinch of salt.
- Process until smooth and set aside.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the remaining 1 Tbs of olive oil in the same pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken to the pot and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown on all sides (you can also turn the heat down a little, if needed).
- Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add the onion to the pot and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion is caramelized on the edges.
- Add the sauce and chicken to the pot, making sure the chicken is submerged in the sauce.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer, cover and reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish each serving with some parsley and toasted almonds.