Friday, June 12, 2009

pollo casero and gnocchi with spinach in wine sauce

A few weeks ago, I was intrigued by a recipe in a book I was thumbing through at Barnes and Noble.  Because I am broke and ghetto, I copied it down on the back of a receipt I had in my bag (whilst glancing furtively around me, convinced that should I be caught doing such a terrible--or at least tacky--thing, I would suffer great public humiliation and possible prosecution).  I have been meaning to make it for awhile, but just never got around to it.  The opportunity presented itself when I decided to take a meal over to my friend Sarah's house.  Her new house.  That she owns.  She took a break from painting and all the other moving-into-a-new-house work and ate and chatted with me.  I made the chicken and created a recipe for a side dish that incorporated gnocchi, which, devotees will remember, I love.  Here are the recipes and my thoughts on both:

(My goal in cooking this was to feed my friend, my mom, and me for dinner, to leave gnocchi leftovers with my friend, and to have enough chicken for my parents and I to eat again at least once during the weekend.  So the ingredients listed below make a good amount of food.)

Pollo Casero
I liked this chicken well enough (I am not a huge fan of meat.  My mother, who has a discerning palette, gave it rave reviews.) and decided to share it.  And because I clearly lifted the recipe from somewhere else, I found it online and am linking it here.  Full credit for this goes to Mario Batali.

almost done!

The only things I did differently were to add black pepper to the rub, drastically reduce the amount of salt, and to return the discarded garlic to the pan when I added the peppers.  Oh, and I used a jar of roasted red peppers instead of piquillo peppers.  Other than that, it's a go.

Gnocchi with Spinach in Wine Sauce
To be honest, I'll have to say I was a little proud of this.  It was simple and tasty, and went nicely with the chicken.  I will definitely be making this again, and will eat it on its own without chicken.  (honestly, chicken is just so gross to work with raw.  I hate cooking meat, and find the product rarely worth the effort.)  Anyway, I am glad that I'm blogging about it so that I'll actually have a written record of what happened here tonight.  I'd like to recreate it.

~2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
2 bags of fresh baby spinach
1 bag of frozen gnocchi (16 oz)
drop of olive oil 

For the gnocchi:  put a large(ish) pot of water on to boil with a tad of olive oil in it.  The water will be ready by the time the spinach mixture is finishing, and you can dump the gnocchi in then.

For the spinach and sauce:  Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.  When the butter is melted but not bubbling vigorously, stir in the shallot.  When the shallot is starting to soften, add in the chopped garlic and salt and pepper.  When the shallot and garlic are obviously cooked and about to begin browning, pour in the wine and chicken broth.  Raise heat to medium and let the liquid reduce some.  

While the liquid reduces, steam baby spinach in a skillet with less than 1/4 cup water.  When it's just wilted, add to the sauce mixture.  Remove from heat.

Pour gnocchi into the boiling water.  Let it cook until it rises to the top (about 2-3 minutes).  Drain immediately and return to pot.  Stir in spinach and sauce mixture until gnocchi is well coated and spinach is evenly distributed.  Finally, stir in freshly grated parmesean to taste.

*to make this vegan, replace butter with olive oil, replace chicken broth with vegetable broth, and omit the parmesean.

Sorry for the terrible plating of the finished product.  That was actually in a tupperware dish that I put my mom's dinner in!  I took it to her so that she'd have a meal waiting for her when she finished teaching.  Convenient, yes.  Aesthetically pleasing, no.

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