The Churn

960_myKES_fresh9/15 The Union Square Greenmarket is currently open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I’ve switched my appointment with my therapist to Wednesdays (therapy is a new experience, but as the great food retailer Georgio de Luca once told me, you take care of your body don’t you? Why not your brain?). Because his office is near Union Square, I wanted to be able to stop at the market on the way home. My plan is working beautifully. Plus, if the session is traumatic, I can always hit DSW for some retail therapy. I found beautiful baby eggplants last Wednesday, and on Friday I bought 3 small pieces of osso buco on Arthur Avenue so yesterday I cooked Neni’s Beef with Eggplant. The stew was wonderful with a piece of homemade bread and a glass of wine.

Today I stopped by the Greenmarket again—I was in the neighborhood because I have to switch banks: I’ve been with HSBC for years and it has gotten progressively more remote. I’m switching to a bank where they actually know who I am–and bought cranberry beans and a whole chicken. I had saved 8 cherry peppers out of two pints of mixed hot peppers I made into hot pepper jelly a few days ago for my friend John Zito. I stuffed the cherry pepper with the sausage meat, cut up the chicken and browned the parts, and cooked them together with a little stock. While I was cooking this dish, I threw the back, neck, legs, and wings of the chicken into a stockpot with the usual bits and pieces: celery leaves, a few carrots and onions, a piece of prosciutto rind, some thyme and bay leaves. I’ll leave that to gently bubble until bedtime. I saved the water/vinegar combo used to soften the peppers. I bought a cauliflower this morning, too, so I’ll use the vinegar mixture (which is flavored with pepper now) to cook the cauliflower with tomatoes in the next day or two.

I shelled the cranberry beans and put them in a smaller pot with the leftover beef and eggplant stew and a pint of home canned chicken stock, as well as a Parmesan rind from the freezer. So that soup, which we will have tomorrow, is going on a third burner. I started at 4:30, and including writing this post, the whole shebang took 1 ½ hours. Not bad for 3 dishes!

Chicken with Pork Stuffed Cherry Peppers
Serves 4

This is from my forthcoming book, The Kitchen Ecosystem. I used fresh thyme instead of rosemary this time, and since the cherry peppers were huge, I did 8, not 12. I used 2 chicken thighs, 2 thighs I had in the freezer, and 1 breast cut into 4 pieces. I threw the legs in the stockpot. I used 1 sausage, about ¼ pound. And I didn’t mince the garlic. And guess what? It didn’t matter.

4 chicken thigh and legs, separated
12 cherry peppers, stem and seeds removed and washed
1 cup water
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup white wine
1 3-inch sprig fresh rosemary
1 1/4 cups sliced onion (1 large onion)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 to 2 sweet Italian sausages, or ½ cup Italian sweet sausage meat
½ cup chicken stock (I use homemade)
2 tablespoons minced parsley, for garnish

Place the cherry peppers in a medium sized pot and add the water and vinegar. Bring the peppers to a boil over a medium high heat. Boil for about 5 minutes, until the peppers lighten in color, from red to bright orange, and are pliable. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet add the oil and heat over a medium heat. Season the chicken and place in the skillet. Cook the chicken for about 20 minutes, turning once or twice, until the chicken is browned. Add the white wine and rosemary and cook for 5 minutes until the wine has mostly evaporated, than add the onion and garlic. Cook 5 minutes until the onion is soft.

If you use sausages, slit the casing and remove the meat. Make little balls about the size of marbles with the sausage and stuff them into the cavities of the cherry peppers. Add the stuffed peppers and the stock to the chicken. Cover, and cook over a medium low heat for 15 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld and the pork to cook. Remove the cover and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the sauce reduces by about half.

Serve garnished with parsley, if you like.



7 Comments on “The Churn

  1. That looks great, I want to dive in with some bread! Love the idea of the sausage stuffed peppers too. Will be making this soon.
    Our garden is winding down here in on the coast of ME. But there is still enough to keep us for a while. We have many small green plum tomatoes from seeds that came from Italy, but they don’t do well here. Its too cool on the water at nite. Same with peppers and eggplant.
    Any ideas what to do with the tomatoes? Someone suggested pickling them.
    Thanks for your great articles and stories about your dad. Tell him I am still using his first book.

    • Rockyrd, I told him when I saw him on Arthur Ave this morning. He LOVES hearing that!! Regarding green tomatoes, yes, pickling them is great. They are wonderful added to a fish stew instead of vinegar or wine! Try them in the Brodetto alla San Benedetto instead of pickled peppers on page 101 of Italian Family Dining.

      • OK thanks. Will go and look it up. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when you saw your dad on Arthur Ave. Tell him I have so many zucchini that I drive around my grocery store parking lot looking for open windows in cars, so I can “gift” them to people.

        We got 5 huge dump truck loads of super dirt to redo our veg garden. Its rich, black and was steaming when it was delivered. We believe it has cocaine or something super in it because everything grows with amazing speed even in this colder climate.
        My husband tells people for what we paid for it, we could be buying organic veg from “Whole Paycheck” for the rest of our lives.

        And btw, we had a lot of mushrooms grow all over that dirt this summer- I have no experience with them. As a kid I went with my grandfather and father picking them on his farm in Bergen County NJ.
        But I am not sure if these are good or not.

        -waiting for your new book.

  2. As luck would have it my neighbor dropped off two long skinny eggplant and I have a piece of beef in the freezer….thanks for reminding to try Neni’s recipe!

  3. This sounds wonderful, and it reminds me of a recipe I learned from my grandmother. She’d stuff the little peppers with either sausage, or more often, a mixture of ricotta and herbs and then cook them along with some meat. Sometimes she cooked them solo on the outdoor grill. I always thought the peppers were so pretty, their bright yellow, red and orange skins made even more vibrant after time spent exposed to the heat of the saute pan or grill.

    Best of luck with your upcoming book. I can’t wait to see it.

    • Thanks Adri! I’d love to know which meats your grandmother cooked with stuffed peppers! Were they usually braised?

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