Friday, March 13, 2009

Foreign Food

To William, foreign food used to mean anything that wasn't fried or which was easily identified as being a green vegetable. He'll eat sausage with all of its mysterious by products without blinking an eye, a juxtaposition I personally can't fathom. If I want to fix something with an ingredient he would refuse, like I did last night, I just don't tell him what is in it until after he's already eaten it and it's too late to say no.
Last night's chicken was a classic example. Spanish oven baked chicken has green olives and raisins in it - two definite no nos from William's perspective - but even he had to admit it was seriously good.

To go with it, I made Spanish black beans over white rice and a bread I've never heard of, Pan de Horno. If he wouldn't eat the chicken, at least there would be something else to fall back on.

Pollo Estofado


1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Dash of pepper
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced pitted green olives or olive salad

3 pounds split chicken breasts

2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup dry vermouth

1 In a medium bowl combine the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, bay leaves, raisins and olives. Prick the skin of the chicken with fork tines and add to the marinade, coating well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2 Preheat oven to 350�F. Place chicken in a 12x8x2-inch baking dish. Combine wine with the marinade and pour over chicken. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar. Bake uncovered at 350�F, basting occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 50 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serves 4.

Spanish Black Beans


1 pound black beans
1 tsp salt
1 scant tsp sugar
1 medium to large onion, chopped
2 green peppers, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ jalapeno pepper, minced
1 TBS dried oregano
3 bay leaves
¼ cup olive oil
1 TBS red wine vinegar

Put the beans in a large pot and pick though to remove any little stones or discolored beans.
Add enough water to cover the beans by about two inches. Bring to a full boil then turn the burner off and cover the pot and let the beans sit in on the burner for one hour.
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring the mixture back to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer slowly for several hours or until the liquid is reduced and the beans are soft. Add additional salt if needed. As long as the beans are soft, the amount of liquid is up to you. I usually simmer for an hour or two with the lid on then remove the lid and thicken the beans with the lid off.
You can serve this as a soup or over white rice.

Pan de Horno

1 1/2 T. yeast3 c. warm water

7 c. bread flour (plus more for kneading)

2 t. salt

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil


Mix the yeast in the warm water and let sit for 10 minutes.After the yeast sits, add several cups of flour and the salt.Stir in the oil.

Add flour until you can no longer stir with a spoon.

Place the dough on a flat surface with some flour sprinkled on it.

Knead the dough until it becomes firm and elastic.

Grease the bowl and place the dough in it.

Turn the dough so it is greased all over.

Cover the bowl and set in a warm place until the dough has doubled in volume.Remove the dough and knead it again over a floured tabletop,t o remove air pockets and until the dough feels smooth.

Return the dough to a covered bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Cut the dough as desired to form bars, loaves or balls and place on greased pans.

Cut slits in top of bread as desired.Let bread rise on pans 30 more minutes.

Place in a very hot oven (450 degrees F) for 30 to 50 minutes(30 minutes was plenty for three balls),or until the tops of the bars become toasted and they sound hollow when knocked on the bottom. Remove the bread from the pans and let cool.

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