Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sprig of Broom - Susan Whitfield, Author



Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is basically a chicken stew. The “Coq” in its name
means “rooster.” Today we use chicken pieces.
It tastes even better the day after it’s made.

Ingredients:

Step 1: Marinade Chicken Thighs
1 cup red wine (Tin Cup Merlot or a Beaujolais works well)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
3 whole cloves
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup onion, chopped fine
3 lbs chicken thighs (2 packages (about 10 pieces), frozen, skinned)

Mix first seven ingredients in a large bowl. Add skinned thighs.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 18 hours. Longer is better. Strain
off the red wine marinade, and save it. Discard bay leaves and
onion bits.

Step 2: Prepare Vegetables and Broth
2 slices low-sodium bacon
1 parsnip, cut into small chunks
¾ cup carrots, cut into chunks
1/3 cup flour
2 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 small can tomato juice (6 oz.)
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves)
2 onions, sliced the long way (or 25 pearl onions)

If using pearl onions, cut an X into them at the top before peeling,
and drop them (with peels on) into boiling water for two
minutes. Remove, discard water, and let onions cool. When cool,
the peels will slip off. Set aside. If using regular onions, use half
in next step and save remainder for last step.

Cook bacon in a deep skillet until crisp and crumbly. Remove
bacon and set aside. Place carrots, parsnip, and first portion of
sliced onion into skillet and sauté until onion is golden. Add 2
Tbsp. of flour (save the rest) and stir to coat vegetables. Cook
floured mixture 5 minutes, stirring often. Slowly add stock and
then tomato juice to pan. Add fresh thyme. Simmer 30 minutes.
Cool and strain to remove vegetables and thyme sprigs. Set aside.

Step 3: Brown chicken and mushrooms
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Reserved flour
1 package button mushrooms (8 oz.)
Dry the marinated chicken thighs with paper towels. Dredge
chicken pieces in flour until coated lightly.
Heat oil in a clean skillet. Place chicken pieces in hot oil and
cook until golden, not deeply browned. Do this in small batches
to keep the oil evenly hot. Remove chicken pieces. Save oil and
bits of chicken and flour in pan. Brush or wash mushrooms to remove
grit. Peel mushrooms, saving stems. Cut tops and stems into
rough quarters. Add to hot oil and cook until browned. Remove.

Step 4: Combine and bake
Chicken pieces
Reserved vegetable broth
Reserved red wine marinade
Reserved onion, bacon, and mushrooms
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Place browned chicken in an ovenproof pan. Strain the vegetables
out of the broth. Pour the broth over the chicken. Add the
reserved red wine marinade. Scrape bits from pan with mushrooms,
and add to chicken. Place reserved sliced onion (or peeled
pearl onions), crumbled bacon, and mushrooms around chicken
pieces. Bake for 1½ hours or until chicken is tender.
Traditionally served over egg noodles, with salad and crusty
bread. Serves 4 to 6.


from Killer Recipes submitted by Cash Anthony, author of “Yes, She Bites”, “A Bona Fide Quirk in theLaw”, and “The Stand-Inand numerous short films and screenplays


Sprig of Broom - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

Many years ago I discovered the author John Jakes and fell in love with his Kent Family Chronicles.  This series started way back with this family following them from England to America.  They went through the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and taming the west.  I eagerly read every book until I reached those that took place around WWI.  That is when I stopped reading.  I love reading history, but only periods and the time from WWI until now has never interested me that much.

Now.... I've read the Bible from beginning to end and enjoyed it very much but I don't like history that takes place much after that, especially the history of Kings and Queens.  So when I saw that one of my favorite authors had written a book that dates in the year 1127 I thought, no way!  I've read everything written by this author but she has always written murder mysteries.  How can a suspense writer possibly write about this time period and keep the reader interested, especially me?

Well.... I read her book.  I was so infatuated with the story that I didn't want to put the book down.  Her story is basically about Geoffrey Plantagenet who married Dowager Empress Matilda who was the daughter of King Henry I.  Matilda had been married before but after losing her husband King Henry and Geoffrey's father made a deal for the marriage.  Geoffrey was very young when this marriage took place.  He was only 15 years old!  The story continues on through the trials that Geoffrey is put through by Matilda.  The death of King Henry and Matilda's journey to take his place.  The birth of their children.  Geoffrey's mistress and child.  And then Geoffrey's is ask to join the Knights Templar and vow to their code of honor.

Author Susan Whitfield has truly amazed me by writing a book so full of history, from a time that has always bored me, and made it so interesting that I want to learn more.  She is a great historian!

 
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