Friday, December 9, 2011

Braised Chicken with Green Chiles, Chorizo, Turnips, and Leek "Noodles"

I'm not a fan of turnips.  I don't hate them as much as I hated cauliflower, but I avoid eating them.  I think it's because the only way I've ever eaten them is in my least favorite family holiday dish.  It consists of boiled carrots and turnips mashed together with salt and pepper.  Blech!  However, this Turkish recipe appealed to me because it left the turnips in larger pieces and there was no mashing involved.  Plus, it involved spicy sausage, which is always a good thing. The original recipe calls for sucuk, a Turkish sausage.  I couldn't find one, so I substituted another spicy sausage, chorizo.  I thought it worked really well.  But, I've never had sucuk so I have no basis for comparison. 

The chicken is braised with turnips, onion, tomato, long green chile peppers, and a bay leaf.  I thought the vegetable mix looked quite pretty in the bowl.   This was a great dish to eat on a cold night.  It was very hearty and had a nice kick from the chiles and chorizo and a little tang from the few squeezes of lemon juice.  It also made my kitchen smell wonderful!

This combination of vegetables is great for a cool fall night.

Next time, I'll blanch the leeks for significantly longer, they weren't tender enough.  Maybe it's because the leeks at my grocery store had clearly been fed anabolic steroids. The leeks I put on the plate were the most tender, a good portion of them were discarded.  I think I'll try to cut them thinner as well, they kind of overwhelmed the plate.  When blanching the leeks, I added the full 1 tablespoon of lemon juice instead of halving it.  I think anything less and I wouldn't have been able to taste it at all.  I also added a whole tomato and 1 tsp of sweet paprika instead of halving it.  It seemed silly to not use the whole tomato and more paprika makes everything taste better. I served this with a side salad of cucumbers and red onion in a Greek yogurt dressing.  It's been a staple salad in my house for over a year.   

Braised Chicken  with Green Chiles, Chorizo, Turnips, and Leek "Noodles"
From Turquoise
Serves 2

Leek "Noodles"
2 leeks
1.5 cups chicken stock
1.5 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Braised Chicken, Etc.
1/2 oz unsalted butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
~ 1 lb chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 turnip, peeled and cut into wedges
3 long green chiles, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion (or an entire small one), cut into large dice
1 vine ripened tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
1 small garlic clove, peeled and sliced
2 oz chorizo (or sucuk if you're lucky enough to find it), sliced
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup of the leek poaching liquid
a few squeezes of lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1) Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Trim the tops and root ends of the leeks.  Cut them in half lengthwise and rinse them really well to get all of the grit out.  Some leeks can be exceptionally dirty and grit tastes nasty.  Place the leeks in a dish and pour stock over them.  Poach for 20 minutes or until they're tender.  Drain and reserve the poaching liquid. 
2) When the leeks are cool enough to touch, cut them into thin "noodles." Don't be impatient like me, cut them thin.  Then toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
3) Heat the butter and oil in a pan over medium heat.  Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and then saute it until golden.
4) Add the vegetables, paprika, chorizo, bay leaf, and black pepper. Stir briefly and then add the reserved poaching liquid. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the turnips are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
5) When ready to serve, remove the pan from heat and stir in lemon juice to taste, add some extra salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Divide between warmed plates and twirl the leek "noodles" into little mounds on top of the chicken.

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