Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mediterranean Chicken and Potato Stew (Poulet et Patate a la Provencal)

At the farmers market last Saturday I bought Cherokee Purple tomatoes. I used much of those in a tomato gallette that was the subject of my last post. I diced the parts of the tomatoes not suitable for the gallette. I also bought some fingerling potatoes at the same market. I have thyme, rosemary, and sage in my herb pots and I have bay leaf in the pantry. If you add Nicoise or Kalamata olives, capers, anchovy paste, white wine, and chicken stock to a braise, what is not to love?


4 chicken thighs with or without skin and bone
2 or 3 fingerling potatoes for each piece of chicken
1 onion diced (about 1 cup)
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced sweet bell pepper
a rounded handful of pitted Nicoise olives or Kalamata olives.
1 Tbs. capers
1 rinsed anchovy or its equivalent in anchovy paste
1 Tablespoon flour plus more as needed for dredging
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 sprig rosemary and 1 large sprig thyme (2 tsp. each of rosemary and thyme dried herbs)
1 large sage leaf
1 bay leaf
3 large cloves garlic roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
Sufficient chicken broth to half submerge the chicken.
salt and crushed red pepper flakes to taste


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Small dice the onion, celery, and sweet pepper.

Large dice the tomatoes (You may substitute Muir fire roasted diced tomatoes with juices)

Rough chop the garlic.

Measure the olives and capers

Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces.

If bone in with skin, salt and pepper well. If boneless and skinless, salt and pepper well and dredge in flour. In a heavy bottomed skillet or in the bottom of a dutch oven brown the chicken pieces well on both sides in a Tablespoon of olive oil and a large pat of butter. Set the pieces aside. Note: if using bone in with skin pieces, remove the crisp skin. It has served its purpose and will only turn rubbery in the braise.

Empty all but a Tablespoon of the fat from the pan, but do not wipe the pan. Saute the onion, celery, and pepper in the hot pan. As the  vegetables soften add 1 Tablespoon of flour and mix well into the vegetables.

Add the garlic, olives, tomato paste, capers, and anchovy to the pan. If using anchovy paste add the equivalent of one anchovy.

Add the wine to the pan and simmer until reduced by half. Nestle the browned chicken and potatoes among the vegetables (or place in the braising vessel and add the vegetables over them) and add a tied bundle of the herbs in the middle.

Add enough chicken stock to have cover the chicken and potatoes. Cover and set on the middle rack in the oven. Bake 50 minutes. Remove the cover and bake an additional 30 to 50 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Serve in warmed bowls with a blanched green bean salad.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Cherokee Purple Tomato with Pesto Gallette - Summer's Finest

Last week the wife and I dined at an excellent farm to table restaurant, The Reserve at Groggs Green. If you are in Tulsa on the weekend, we urge you to try it.

We were served a truly excellent wedge of summer tomato gallette as a part of the superb meal.

I checked the internet for recipes and found a good looking version in the Cooks Country. That is a sister publication to Cooks Illustrated.

I took that recipe, and my memory of the restaurant dish, and added pesto. Why? Because the basil needed thinning. I used tomatoes I found at the farmers market. I love Cherokee Purple tomatoes. They a very delicate and go bad from bruising so quickly. You will never see them in grocery stores. However, they are juicy and loaded with summer tomato flavor.


3 softball sized Cherokee Purple tomatoes, cored and sliced in 1/4 inch slices and halved (substitute Big Girl or Better Boy tomatoes as necessary)
1/2 cup prepared pesto (see recipe below)
1 large shallot, halved and sliced thin
2 cups finely shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan Reggiano
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
egg wash

Ingredients for the Dough

7.5 ounces of all purpose flour
10 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut in 1/2 inch cubes and chilled
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6-9 Tbs ice water
flour to dust

Ingredients for the Pesto

2 Tbs pine nuts, toasted until fragrant
1 large clove garlic, sliced thin
1 large double handful of fresh basil
5 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 healthy pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Method for Tomatoes and Cheese

Thin slice the shallots.

Slice the tomatoes, salt them heavily, and put them in a colander to drain for at least 30 minutes.

Shred the cheese.

Method for Making the Crust

In a food processor combine the flour and salt. Pulse three times to blend. Add the cubes of butter on top of the flour and pulse until the mixture looks like very small peas in the flour. Turn the mix out to a bowl and add 6 Tbs. ice water. Use a spatula to mix and press the dough together. If the dough will not come together, add another Tbs. of ice water. Continue and repeat until the dough comes together. Quickly compress the dough, form a ball and flatten that ball into a disk. Wrap the disk in cling film and refrigerate for 30 or more minutes. 

Method for the Pesto

While the dough rests in the refrigerator, make the pesto. Put the pine nuts in a hot dry non stick skillet over medium high heat and toast while shaking until the pine nuts are fragrant. Add the nuts, the garlic, and 4 Tbs. of olive oil to the food processor bowl. (No need to wash the processor bowl after the dough, just tap the residue out). Pulse the garlic/nut/oil until the chunks break up a bit. Add the basil, small stems and all. Pulse four or five times. Add a pinch of salt and the desired amount of pepper. Process the mixture while streaming in more olive oil. Continue until you have a runny paste. Do not over process.


Put the rack at the middle of the oven and set the temperature for 375 degrees.

On a floured sheet of parchment lay out the disc of dough. Flour the top. Roll from the center of the disc away from you, turn 1/4 turn and repeat. Lightly dust the disc with more flour if needed. Repeat and continue until you have a rough 12 inch circle approximately 1/8 inch thick.

NOTE: Look at the picture of the rolled dough. You will see small chunks of butter. This is GOOD. Those chunks assure the dough will be flaky and light. If you process until everything is perfectly blended, your dough can be used to side a house.

Use the parchment to slide the crust into a sheet pan.

Use a small spatula to spread the pesto on the crust. Leave about 1.5 inches on the edges.

Spread the gruyere evenly over the pesto.

Dry the tomatoes between layers of kitchen towel. 

Starting in the center, shingle the tomatoes in a spiral until all the pesto is covered. Use pieces of slices to cover any gaps.

Sprinkle the sliced shallots evenly over the tomatoes.

Sprinkle the shredded parmesan over the assembled stuffing.

Starting at the edge farthest from you, pull the crust edge up and over the stuffing. Do the same about two inches around the edge and pinch the fold that forms together. Continue around the edge until the dough has become a tart crust.

Drizzle more olive oil evenly over the stuffing.

Beat one egg with a bit of water. Use a pastry brush to paint the crust which shows. You will not need all the egg wash.

Bake the gallette 45 to 50 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the interior bubbling.

Remove the baked gallette from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Use a spatula to move the gallette to a wire rack to cool further without steaming the bottom crust.

Slice in wedges and serve warm with a tart green leafy salad.