I know it is tradition to eat Turkey for Thanksgiving – I get it, but then really, I don’t. Maybe it is because I have had one too many dried out turkey breasts in my lifetime. I do want to before my time is up try two types of turkey: a deep fried turkey and a heritage breed turkey. One is a messy proposition requiring the purchase of equipment that will never be used again and will clutter up our home. The second, an expensive proposition (think upwards of $8/lb for a heritage breed turkey) that requires an expert cook to do it justice (not me) and cook it perfectly. I just need someone to invite us over to their place for Thanksgiving and make a deep fried heritage breed turkey and I will be done. Forever.
I made Micheal Chiarello’s Long Cooked Hen in Tomato Sauce for dinner recently and am thinking that a couple of these would feed a small crowd for Thanksgiving. An Italian Thanksgiving. Stacie would approve. Here’s the menu for my Italian inspired Thanksgiving (the desserts are not Italian but who cares? Be “thankful” I baked):
Long-cooked Hen in Tomato Sauce (recipe below)
Zucchini Carpaccio (not seasonal but we love it)
Green Beans Almondine by Baked Bree
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Breadcrumbs (it’s by Giada, so I am pretending it is Italian)
Curried Carrot/Any Squash Soup (I have to throw in the curry – you can’t run from your heritage)
Compost Cookies (very American and a great way to use up leftover Halloween Candy that is still lurking around)
and a late addition because I just came across it: Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake also by Baked Bree
How’s that for a new Thanksgiving tradition? 🙂
Long-cooked Hen in Tomato Sauce by Michael Chiarello
Serves: Serves 4, with lots of leftover sauce (freeze extra)
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup diced carrot
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- Sea salt, preferably gray salt
- 2 cups red wine
- 6 cans (28 ounces each) whole tomatoes, partially pureed through a meat grinder or food mill or pulsed in a blender
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 chicken, about 4 pounds
- 1/2 cup minced fresh basil
- 1/4 cup minced fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to moderate and cook until the vegetables are lightly browned, about 20 minutes more.
Add the wine and scrape the pan bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen any flavorful stuck-on bits. Add the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon salt, and pepper to taste. Taste and add more salt if needed. It is important to add enough salt, so that the chicken seasons as it cooks.
Place the chicken, breast side down, in the sauce, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Transfer the pot to the oven. Cook uncovered until the chicken is very tender, about 2 hours, spooning the sauce over the chicken from time to time. Stir in the basil and parsley and cook for 15 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let the chicken cool in the sauce.
Serve the chicken warm with a little sauce spooned over it, or reheat the sauce separately and serve it over pasta as a first course with the chicken as a main course. Any remaining sauce can be frozen.