I have a long list of recipe requests coming in from Facebook friends and I'm going to spend tomorrow typing away to try to get some of them on the blog: www.themailifiles.blogspot.com
So very shortly all the Fall favorites will be coming out: Pumpkin Bourbon Cheesecake, Butternut Squash Soup, Pork Tenderloin with Apple Raisin Pecan Stuffing in Cider Cream, Beef Bourguignonne, Apple Tarts, Tarte Normande, Finnish Meatballs, Swedish Pancakes, Roasted Beets, Popcorn Balls, Caramel, Caramel Apples, Crepes, Guacamole, Spinach Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Cream, Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cherry and Port Sauce, Cranberry Sauce. I'm also going to work on getting my Top 10 Favorite Hors d'oeuvres from Maili Productions events typed up. So that is on my "to do" list as well. Instead of sending you too many recipes individually, I will send one e-mail tomorrow or Monday letting you how many and which ones I manage to finish and put on the blog (if I can get at least 3 up there it will be great!) And for those of you who are looking for a previous recipe I already sent, you just go to the blog and scroll down on the right and all the recipes are listed in alphabetical order. Then you just click on the one you want and hit "print."
Meanwhile I just invented something simple and wonderful: It is Chicken and Prunes. I personally love Prunes. For people who for some reason think the name is off-sounding or think they don't like them, just tell them they are Dried Plums. Prunes are the secret ingredient in wonderful pot roasts and other dishes as well. They add a depth of flavor as well as sweetness to a dish. Part of the first test batch of Chicken and Prunes went with Shelly Brown's, who was on her way to visit her parents in Palm Springs. They served it over brown rice. The second test batch just went to Ashley's father's funeral this afternoon. Ashley is in our homeschooling group and her daughter's have taken homeschool cooking classes from me. Her daughter Lauren made me a cookbook of her favorite recipes and gave it to me for Christmas. Ashley's father loved to cook. He traveled extensively and was always interested in a new spice and trying something new. He had an exceptional palate and could detect the slightest nuances of flavors and ingredients. I was just talking to Ashley's mother and she said the recipes were all in his head. So the blessing of him falling ill was that he was unable to cook and he had to dictate the instructions to his wife. She then wrote down his directions. So some of his recipes will live on because he had to tell her how to make them. Otherwise they would have been lost. (So this is yet another encouragement to cook with your parents, grandparents or mentors and record some history and preserve some recipes!) Because Ashley's father loved to cook she said it would mean a lot to her if I could bring something for the funeral. I did make the Salmon Quiche since that is a tried and true comfort food and the Orzo Salad, but I also brought over my Chicken and Prunes experiment and that somehow seems a fitting way to pay tribute to him.
Now I'm trying to think of the clearest way to explain the recipe. If you are doing it in the Slow Cooker, you just brown the chicken and onions in a frying pan and then dump them and everything else in the Slow Cooker. With a Dutch Oven or big pot you just start there and then add everything to the pot. So do whatever is easiest for you. The ingredients are identical.
I also have to admit I'm a complete novice with a Slow Cooker (Crock-pot) and Microwave. The slow cookers throw off all of my natural instincts on timing of when food should be done. Every time I go to check on something in the slow cooker it still isn't done (hence the name SLOW cooker!). So I think I'm too impatient for them. However, I know people who swear by them and love them, and I finally got one two years ago and do think they are excellent for pulled pork or shredded beef. I thought the recipe I'm about to explain would also work well in the Slow Cooker. The first time I made it, I did it on the stove in a big pot, then covered it with an aluminum foil and finished it in the oven. It took about an hour total. In the Slow Cooker it takes 4 hours on high and I can't imagine how long it would take on low! So slow cookers are for people who like to plan ahead. People who may have time in the mornings but not in the evenings to cook. And they are also for people who want to walk-away and do something else and not worry about the food burning. So for all of those reasons they are great.
Also, you can decide if you want the potatoes cooked in with the chicken or if you'd rather serve this with another starch. It is wonderful either way. The second time I made it I put the potatoes in it. But you could easily skip those and either serve this over egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes. Also, this works wonderfully for a crowd. The first batch I made was quite large since I have a large pot and very large oven. The second batch I made was small and with only one chicken and it fit perfectly inside a typical 6 quart Crock-Pot.
I like this recipe just as it is below. But if you wanted to go in a more Moroccan direction you could put in a cinnamon stick and a whole dried chili. Kosher salt and sea salt are fairly exchangeable in most of my recipes. I just never use regular table salt.
Chicken with Dried Plums (aka Prunes)
1 tablespoon olive oil (for the chicken)
Kosher salt for seasoning chicken
1 whole chicken, cut up into thigh, leg, breast (debone breast and slice in half) and wings (use livers, back, heart, gizzard, neck, in another recipe)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (for the onions)
1 yellow onion (slightly larger than a tennis ball), roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup white port or other sweet white wine
1 cup chicken broth
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
15 prunes (dried plums)
10 black peppercorns
Kosher salt to taste. at least 1/4 teaspoon.
optional if you want potatoes added:
4 medium russet potatoes (the kind that come in the 10 pound bag) or 2 extra-large baking russet potatoes (that you buy individually) peeled and chopped into roughly 2 inch pieces
1 cup of chicken broth (you need this additional chicken broth for the potatoes)
Season chicken generously with kosher salt. In a large frying pan, put the tablespoon of olive oil. Sear Chicken on each side and place in Crock-Pot. (if using one-pot stove method, sear the chicken in Dutch oven or large pot). Add more olive oil to the pan and saute the onion until soft and starting to caramelize, at least 4 minutes, but preferably 10. Sprinkle onion with a pinch of kosher salt (or sea salt.)
Add white port and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour all of this in Slow Cooker. If using big pot, keep it all together. Add chicken broth, carrots, dried plums (prunes), and peppercorns.
If you'd like potatoes cooked with the chicken then add them now with an extra cup of chicken broth. (If using the slow cooker be sure to make sure potatoes are covered with liquid. they will turn black if exposed to air without being wet. so either turn them occasionally to keep them moist or submerge them.
Cook on high in slow cooker for 4 hours or until potatoes are done. For big pot method, cover pot with lid or aluminum foil and put in a 350 oven for 1 hour. (I didn't try this but you could also probably keep it on the stove with a lid on it and cook it there.) Reheats wonderfully, so you can easily make it a day in advance.
PS For those of you who know how to do this, you can subscribe to an RSS feed of the recipes on the blog. I just learned how to do it yesterday! On a mac you just hit the + button on the bottom of your mailbox. I have no idea how to do it on a PC.
PS Also, if you happen to notice any typo's or directions aren't clear, etc. please feel free to tell me. I'm making a giant effort to go back and update and make corrections.