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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Garlic Day Chicken

Last time we "met", I told you about the Garlic Day Event Heather was having over at her place. Well, as luck would have it, my plans to join the festivities were rudely interrupted. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to share my attempt at Garlic Day Chicken today instead. Okay? Okay...


I can't actually give you a "recipe" because I kinda sorta improvised as I went along. Marion doesn't eat garlic so I prepared the chicken breasts in two different ways but baked them in the same pan. I also brined Marion's in a regular solution of salt water, sweetness and spice and the other, which for argument sake we'll call mine, in the reduced leftover water from the 12 cloves of garlic I boiled for the puree. I've never boiled garlic before and was quite surprised by the transformation to an almost sweet, pungent creamy goodness. (I'll definitely be doing that again:) With the garlic water as the base of my brine, I added a bit of leftover coffee, yes coffee, and a few squeezes of orange blossom honey. (I had intentions of making this dish lemony too but I didn't want to take a chance on the coffee leaving a bitter after taste, I was right!)After soaking the breasts for about 5 hours, I removed them from the bine, rinsed them off and began to play! I should tell you, there was a noticeable difference in the color of the coffee brined breast and the others. It had a deep golden hue and surprisingly, the tang of the coffee and the briny aroma of the garlic bath reacted quite well together. Gee, I thought maybe this will work. Except, I really hadn't decided yet what "this" was going to be.I knew that I wanted the garlic puree to be the dressing for the chicken and I also knew the dish had to be flexible enough to satisfy both Marion and I. What to do? I attacked the fridge with my Italian roots in tow. Parsley, fresh tomatoes, olive oil a few capers, and Locatelli cheese.When we were kids, Sunday dinner always included mom's home made Italian Spaghetti Sauce. If we were really lucky, my mother would "throw" in a few braciole in the sauce for us kids. My thought for today's chicken is sorta kinda adapted from those good ol' days:)
What is a braciole, you may ask. Well, I guess that depends on who you ask. There are many, many variations. In their most basic form, they are meat rolls. Williams-Sonoma has a wonderful recipe for Pork Braciole with Tagliatelle and Tomato Sauce. They also offer this explanation:
A Southern Italian specialty, braciole can refer to any cut of meat pounded thin and stuffed with savory ingredients, then rolled and braised to tender perfection. Nearly every local cook has a signature family recipe, with many versions featuring boneless pork loin or shoulder (braciole di maiale). Immigrants brought the dish to the United States, where it plays a starring role in holiday celebrations, Sunday dinners and other festive occasions.
My mother used pork rind for her braciole and they were always stuffed with the same ingredients. Chunks of Locatelli, minced Italian flat parsley, Prosciutto, a little freshly grated bread crumbs, salt, pepper and, lots and lots of garlic all rolled and tied and "thrown" in the sauce. Oh my, just thinking about it is making me feel all warm and fuzzy. The only difference in the ingredients I used for today's chicken, is I didn't roll, instead I draped rashers of bacon over the top of the chicken. But wait, "my chicken" was a bit different. What I did for it, was layer a thick coating of garlic puree which was blended with a little melted butter over the top. Then I added the chopped parsley, chunks of Locatelli and I stuffed a few chopped basil dressed tomatoes in the thickest part of the breast. I figured it would help with cooking the chicken more evenly if the thick side was just barely sliced. (It did!) Then, I put the bacon on top with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, just because:) That's it in the front.
I tossed the leftover ingredients in a ramekin on top of a thickly sliced piece of fresh Amish bread and sprinkled it with a bit of Olive Oil a spritz of Balsamic Vinegar, and a quick grating of Locatelli.
So, how did it turn out? Well, Marion's chicken was just right. I thught the bacon needed to be crispier but she was taking the bacon off any way and since the chicken was done she couldn't wait for crispy bacon she wanted delectable chicken, minus the garlic of course.
As for mine, it just didn't hit the right note for me. I'm not sure why though. I'd like to try this again minus the coffee brine but truth be told, I probably won't. I think the bitterness in the coffee was too overpowering for the chicken with the thick blanket of garlic. On the other hand, the garlic puree saturated the chicken and I must admit, the delicate flavor reminded me of that most popular dish of the late James Beard, Chicken with Forty Cloves:) The parsley took on a nice crisp bacon like flavor which was really yummy!

The hight note for me was the Bruschetta!
I'm giving myself a pat on the back for sharing this concoction with you today. I almost didn't especially when I saw Heather's inspiring post for Apple Spice Cake with Roasted Garlic and Honey Poached Garlic Sauce. Seriously, Whodda thought!!!

Happy Jelly Bean Day! "See" ya Wednesday:) And don't forget, tomorrow is National Cherry Cheesecake Day!

26 comments:

  1. So, I'm thinking of forgoing the cereal this morning in favor of a little "Garlic Day Chicken!" How yummy! Thanks for sharing your cooking adventure! Now, a slice of Cherry Cheesecake would make a fine dessert to end this meal!

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    1. I'm not sure the "Garlic Day Chicken" is the proper swap out for cereal T.W. But, with a bit of tweaking, I bet it would make a fine Brunch entree right before a sliver of Cherry Cheesecake!

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  2. I shall give you a pat on the back as well - this looks wonderful. I know the aromas in your kitchen must have drove anyone mad awaiting dinner. What a feast!!

    Hey, is it true the 29th is National Shrimp Scampi Day?

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    1. Thanks Tina, I needed that:) As for the 29th, yes indeed. Not only is it National Shrimp Scampi Day, I'm pretty sure it is the first anniversary of Prince William & Kate. (I need to check:) I won't be posting this year for National Shrimp Scampi Day. I'll be leaving for Idaho on May 1st. I have a feeling you make a "mean" Shrimp Scampi, lol...

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  3. I love the thought process that went into cooking this delicious looking dish! Absolutely love the addition of coffee!

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    1. Thanks Sylvia. I went through many ideas before choosing Garlic Day Shrimp. I love experimenting with coffee as an ingredient too!

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  4. I have to say you dear Louise! I LOVE GARLIC espeacially in chicken what nice a garlic day chicken!! yumm!

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    1. Thanks Gloria! Your Chicken in Caper Sauce looks mighty good too!

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  5. Well, I think it sounds pretty delicious. Maybe coffee and garlic were just battling it out, huh? Either way, a great garlicky creation :D

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    1. I don't think the coffee would have had a chance if I had roasted the garlic Heather. I will be "playing" with those two again, for sure!

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  6. Garlic and coffee? You're an original cook!

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    1. I don't know how original the two are together, Mae. But, I do plan on finding a balance!

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  7. Somehow, I'm back in San Fran with the garlic fries. Oh my. I miss them...

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  8. Looks sooooo good. I think Garlic Day is my very favorite "edible celebration" If Heather does another garlic event next year, I think I will have to give it a try!

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  9. Boiling garlic? Now that's something I must try! And your bruschetta looks great!

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  10. I love garlic...and all the recipes look great. Talking about garlic, I even had garlic ice cream at the Stinky Rose :)
    Thanks for this nice post and have a great week Louise!

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  11. Everything on the plate looks fabulous.

    I am sorry, I did not get back to you, sooner. Thanks for steering me to the right way to pin my photos. I deleted the boards and started over and pinned it correctly, I am pretty sure. I am so glad, you told me what I was NOT doing.

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  12. Ooh, I like how you used the bacon strip like a scarf or necklace for the chicken. Great idea!

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  13. I'd eat your garlic chicken! Garlic used to bother my dearly beloved, too, until he went on his blood pressure medication. Funny how foods affect people so differently.

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  14. I can almost taste them by just looking at the pictures! yum!

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  15. Wow, Louise! That is a creative way of cooking garlic chicken! We do use coffee, mostly cooked in with pork ribs, I have never tried it with chicken before. Looks delicious and the Bruschetta looks wonderful! The bacon is "icing on the cake"! YUM!!

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  16. Replies
    1. Thanks Tim. So glad you enjoyed your visit. Drop by anytime, Louise

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  17. the garlic puree on the chicken sounds delicious and coffee, i've never tried cooking coffee with meat! this sounds really interesting to me! even though the chicken meat was not rolled up, it looks delicious!!

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  18. Wow! Delicious & what an interesting recipe! Never tried cooking coffee before but sounds amazing! Will certainly try this awesome & intriguing recipe!

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise