Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chicken Shoemaker by Tom

Chicken Shoemaker
Believe it or not, the recipe which I am sharing with you today is one that we have been making in some form or another since 1991!  In fact we have been making it for so long that I was actually surprised that we had not written about it before.  But given the fact that we have been making this chicken dish for twenty years should tell you that we do enjoy this recipe - a lot.

The original recipe came from the "Nantucket Open House Cookbook".  Originally we made it exactly to the recipe found in that cookbook.  But over the years we have added and modified the recipe to get more vegetables into it.  The recipe I am sharing with you now is our current version and has been for a couple of years.  This dish can be as spicy as you want by modifying one key ingredient: the number of hot cherry peppers.  Other than that, it is a pretty straightforward, simple dish that can be served any time of the year.


Serves 6

1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 cloves chopped garlic
6, 8 or 10 hot cherry peppers, quartered and seeded (this is the heat factor!)
6 boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 pound fresh sliced mushrooms
1 package fresh spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut up the hot cherry peppers and remove the seeds.  (I used a full 10 hot cherry peppers as we like it more on the spicy side.)
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and butter.  Once hot add the garlic and hot cherry peppers and saute for 5 minutes. 
Add the mushrooms next and saute them for another 5 minutes.
While the vegetables are sauteing, cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces.
Add the chicken thighs after the mushrooms step, and brown the chicken on all sides, which will take another 5 - 7 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and slowly continue cooking for another 25 minutes.  At the end of 25 minutes, add the white wine and balsamic vinegar to the skillet.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for several more minutes to reduce the liquid slightly.
 Next add the fresh spinach.  As you are cooking this down to a wilt, you may want to cover the skillet for a few minutes to let the spinach steam.

When the spinach has wilted, about 3-5 minutes, the dish is ready to serve.

Although we have not always served it over rice, for the past several years this has been our preference.  We use a basmati or popcorn rice, and find that either one works well.  The original recipe says to accompany the dish with plenty of crusty bread.  We have done that as well, but less of that in recent years as rice has become our substitute.
This one dish meal is colorful and tasty.  It is not for the faint of heart, meaning it can be spicy if you use lots of hot cherry peppers.


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