Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Piment d'Espelette

I just had to!
I was picking up ingredients, that I needed, in one of my stops in NYC, when again,
a small bottle of this "chef's secret weapon" caught my eye, at $110 a pound, I purchased only 20 grams!
Piment d'Espelette, a sweet-hot pepper, produced in only ten small villages in France.
During the last weekend in October, thousands of people will crowd into the town of Espelette, in the Basque region of southwest France, for The Celebration of Peppers, honoring the area's most famous agricultural product: Piment d'Espelette.  

I decided tonight to try my hand at this Basque-Region Recipe:

1/2 cup olive oil
4 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 green bell peppers, seeds and stems removed, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeds and stems removed, chopped
4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or can of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 Tbsp piment d'Espelette, or more to taste (substitute hot paprika)
Pinch of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 chicken, cut up, or equivalent chicken parts (2 breasts, cut in half; 4 thighs; 2 legs), skin on, bone in
(I have been purchasing Kosher chicken from a butcher, much better !!)
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large sauté pan and cook the onions and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell peppers and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and Espelette powder and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
Wipe out the pan and heat the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Brown the chicken in the oil until golden, turning often. Pour the pepper mixture over the chicken, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 30-40 minutes. No need to add more salt to already salted Kosher chicken.
I am serving over Basmati Rice. Serves 6

I wish you could smell this dish simmering on my stove as I write this!!!!!!
Sipping on a glass of 2006 Clos Du Pape, Graves


Fall Is In the Air

As I turned down the drive, in the distance I could see all the ducks and chickens waiting for me, a feeling of revisiting my childhood every time I visit Stokes Creek Farm. The warmth coming from proprietor, Deborah, reinforces that nostalgia. This particular visit, Deb presented me with a braided basket filled with organic apples and her homemade Capt Morgans Spiced Rum Apple Butter. She told me this year has produced the best yield of apples. She attributes this to her ducks naturally fertilizing her tree. I bit right into one and I have to concur.  I loved tasting her apple butter spread on toasted challah bread!

What many of her customers know, from visiting her table at the Saturday Hampstead Farmers Market, is that Deb not only sells the freshest duck and chicken eggs, she makes her own body care products. Her goat milk oatmeal soap glides on like butter, perfect for dry skin. Just ask her about her goats!
You have to try her whole range of soaps,  her recipe for "elbow grease", lip balm and lavender base note perfume. She prides her products on simple healthy ingredients.

You can visit Deb at  Stokes Creek Farm and on Saturdays at Town of Hampstead Farmer's Market