Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore w/Marsala and Homemade Marinara sauce; Green Beans w/Walnuts and Walnut Oil and Julia Child's Steamed Rice

Dinner was delicious except for my Julia Child snafu. I do not even want to talk about it but I need to ask if anyone out there can help me understand the directions. Let us just say fabric softener flavoring is involved.
Chicken Cacciatore w/Marsala and Homemade Marinara Sauce
Green Beans with Walnuts and Walnut Oil
Julia Child's Steamed Rice
Let's start with Julia. I am on:
Days Left: 262
Recipes to Go: 578
Julia Child (Volume I ~ Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

Rice should go under chicken cacciatore so I turned to Julia, on page 529-530 and made her steamed rice recipe. She said following her recipe will give me a foolproof system for perfectly fluffy and dry rice. Just what we are looking for.

The problem is half way through the recipe. Julia says after you drain the rice, wrap the blanched rice in a damp cheesecloth, towel, or napkin. Well, I did not have any cheesecloth, so I used a fresh kitchen towel. Now here is where I get lost: Place the bundle in a heated casserole, cover, and set in a 325 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the rice is tender. Does this mean towel and all goes into the casserole dish? Julia did say set the "bundle" in the casserole dish.

Okay, I am going to print the recipe out of Julia's cookbook and maybe someone could look at it and tell me? My rice tasted just like the fabric softener scent on the kitchen towel. The rice turned out perfectly fluffy and dry too!

Julia's Steamed Rice:
1 1/2 cups clean, unwashed, raw rice
A large kettle containing 7 to 8 quarts of rapidly boiling water
1 1/2 t. salt per quart of water

A Large Colander

Final Steaming:
3 thicknesses of cheesecloth, or a clean towel or napkin, well washed and rinsed so there is no odor of soap or bleach - Oh, I just saw my mistake. Hhhmm, don't I feel sheepish. So, the recipe is calling for the rice to be kept in the cloth, set in a casserole dish and baked. I just knew this was wrong but the rice turned out Beautiful!

Gradually sprinkle the rice into the boiling salted water, adding it slowly enough so the water does not drop below the boil. Stir it up once to be sure none of the grains are sticking to the bottom of the kettle.
Boil uncovered and moderately fast for 10 to 12 minutes. Start testing after 10 minutes by biting successive grains of rice. When a grain is just tender enough to have no hardness at the center but is not yet fully cooked, drain the rice in the colander.

Fluff it up under hot running water for a minute or two to wash off any traces of flour.

Wrap the blanched rice in the damp cheesecloth, towel, or napkin.

Place the bundle in a heated casserole, cover, and set in a 325-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the rice is tender.

The recipe is easy to do and the rice was perfect. I am glad Julia did not have a rice steamer because making rice from scratch now gives me a feeling of accomplishment. I have so many kitchen gadgets making too many shortcuts and causing a loss of basic kitchen skills.

Chicken Cacciatore ~ Easy and Delicious
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)

1 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 6 pieces
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 pound mushrooms, halved
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup homemade or purchased marinara sauce
2/3 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup dry Marsala
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces to skillet and saute until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate. Pour fat from skillet. Add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to skillet.

Add mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, garlic and oregano and saute until onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in marinara sauce, chicken broth, Marsala and capers.

Return chicken pieces to skillet, spooning sauce over.
Bring sauce to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover skillet and simmer until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer chicken to large platter. Boil sauce until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes; spoon off fat. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper; spoon over chicken.Green Beans with Walnuts and Walnut Oil
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
2 T. butter
2 T. walnut oil
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 T. minced fresh parsley

Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Rinse beans under cold water; drain well.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add beans and cook until heated through, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add walnuts and parsley and toss to coat. Transfer to a bowl.


Eliana said...

What a lovely and well-rounded meal Shandy. I especially love all the colors.

petite nyonya said...

Shandy, your chicken cacciatore looks superb & I bet it's so delicious esp with the added marsala spice. Julia Child's steamed rice is unique & I've never come across cooking rice this method before although as Asians, we cook rice almost everyday. Nowadays, we just use electric rice cooker. If there is power shortage, then we would steam it over a stove (just like how our grandmas & moms cook it in those days) but have never wrap it in cheesecloth or any cloth before. We would just wash the raw rice 2-3 times, then add water and slow cook over a stove till dry & fluffy. Different types of rice will require slightly different amount of water too. One other method for fluffy rice is to add in a few drops of lemon juice in the water as I read somewhere.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

wo, this look so delicious..especially the steamed rice, well done.

Anonymous said...

Some old cookbooks I have are kind of hard to follow - it's like having a grandmother tell you how she makes homemade ravioli - she's done it so many times she thinks the reader will know what she is talking about -
at least it came out fluffy!!

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