Saturday, April 21, 2007

Binnur's Turkish Cookbok: Firinda Meyaneli Tavuk (Chicken with White Sauce) and Acma (Soft Turkish Bagels)

Even though I spent a couple of days in Turkey back in 2001, the food that I ate there must not have been memorable, because I can't remember any of it. I figured it had to be better than that. I searched some Turkish recipe websites for some inspiration, and I finally came up with Chicken with White Sauce, called Firinda Meyaneli Tavuk. It seemed filling and pleasing without needing ingredients I had never heard of. I decided to make some Soft Turkish Bagels to go on the side, but I substituted poppy seed for the black sesame seeds called for in the original recipe. While the Chicken with White Sauce came out bland and rather tasteless, the Turkish bagels were delectable.

Firinda Meyaneli Tavuk (Chicken with White Sauce)
From Binnur's Turkish Cookbook

1 whole chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 fresh green onions, chopped
2 zucchini, cut in medium sized chunks
6-7 white mushrooms, brushed, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Kashar cheese (or Mozzarella), shredded (for garnish)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup flour
1 cup warm milk

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Boil the whole chicken with water in a large pot. Take the chicken out of the stock and let it cool down. Discard the skin and all the bones from the chicken and tear it apart in medium sized chunks with your fingers.

In a large skillet, cook the onion with olive oil over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Then add the garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté until the smell of the garlic comes out.

Add the flour, stir and slowly pour the warm milk in it while stirring constantly. The milk and flour should blend very well. Turn the heat off. Mix the chicken, zucchini, mushroom and green onions with the flour sauce and arrange them in a baking dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.

Makes 4 servings

Acma (Soft Turkish Bagels)

7 grams instant yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
2½ tablespoons sugar
½ cup lukewarm milk
½ cup sunflower oil
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt

1 egg white, lightly beaten
Nigella seeds (black sesame seeds)

Mix the yeast with warm water in a large bowl. Stir well so the yeast dissolves, then add the sugar, milk, and sunflower oil. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the flour and salt slowly and knead. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap over the rim and let it rest for about 2 hours until the dough rises to twice its size.

Take a small-size ball from the dough and make it longer by spinning it. Then close up the ends to make a ring shape. Brush with the egg white and sprinkle Nigella seeds on top.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place parchment paper on an oven tray and arrange the dough rings on it. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375°F. Then, bake 15 more minutes or until the tops turn a golden brown.

Makes 8-9 bagels

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Giada de Laurentiis: Chicken Florentine Style

At first I thought that Giada was just a pretty face.  Someone cute to stick on Food Network so that people would tune in.  Enough of those stiff Le Cordon Bleu graduates.  That's what I thought.  Until I tried this chicken.  I love spinach, so she pretty much had me sold to begin with.  But oh. my. god.  This chicken is luscious.  The sauce is amazing.  And you'll need a piece of bread to scoop up all the golden goodness pooling on your plate.

Chicken Florentine Style
From Giada de Laurentiis

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1½ cups dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed, drained

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour to coat lightly. Shake off any excess flour. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep it warm.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until the shallots are translucent, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet, about 1 minute. Add the wine. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and boil until the sauce reduces by half, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices to the sauce, and turn the chicken to coat in the sauce.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in another large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and saute until heated through. Season the spinach, to taste, with salt and pepper. Arrange the spinach over a platter. Place the chicken atop the spinach. Pour the sauce over and serve.

Makes 4 servings