I received my latest copy of Fine Cooking magazine late last week, the December 2006 issue, and finished the magazine with a long list of recipes I wanted to make. A bit unusual for me - I love to read magazines and cookbooks, I don't cook out of them that often. To have a magazine with so many recipes I want to try is amazing!
While I plan to make the cover recipe of prime rib roast for Christmas, right now it is November, a cold, rainy November, so instead I wanted to make warm and hearty. The article on braised chicken caught my attention, and the recipe for braised chicken legs with carrot juice, dates and spices made my attention sit up and notice! This was what I was looking for - hearty, warm and different. (And it is on page 58 for those who get the magazine. If not, the website hasn't updated for this issue yet.)
I should say that there has always been a good chance that no one other than myself would enjoy this meal. (Actually, that isn't true - my kind neighbour has said she will eat and enjoy anything I cook, so she frequently ends up with stuff that the rest of my family refuses to eat. I personally think I feed her quite well!) The addition of carrot juice and dates with chicken makes this a bit of a risk, but no risk, no gain. For all I know it could become one of my families favorite chicken recipes!
However, knowing how highly unlikely that is, I decided to boost my odds but making this while the children were at school. What they didn't see go into the chicken, they couldn't complain about. My children love carrots, but I suspected they would turn their noses up at carrot juice. And while I hoped to pass dates off as just very large raisins, I wouldn't worry too much if they chose not to eat them.
So to start, my version looks absolutely nothing like the picture in the magazine. Mine was brownish, theirs was a deep, warm red. Did I use the wrong kind of carrot juice? I hope not, I used juice that I made myself that afternoon! Maybe they had a specific type of cinnamon, one with tones of red in it. Sorry, mine was regular cinnamon. Same with the ground ginger and the cumin. No red anywhere. Yes my onion was red, as the recipe called for, but when you cook red onions, you know they lose their color.
And I definitely did not have a large enough pan for this. Those pieces of chicken were very crowded in my saute pan! Oh well.
I found this quite tasty, not too strong, but very flavorful. I love cumin, but could not taste it, though the cinnamon was the dominant spice, as I couldn't taste the ground ginger either. The chicken was tender, fall off the bone, the onions soft and melting. The dates didn't exactly grab me, I found them instead to be a bit too sweet and overwhelming. Perhaps if I had added them in earlier, or chopped them smaller instead of in half, they would have been softer and more mellow. However, eaten together with a bit of chicken and rice, they melted in nicely.
No idea yet how this meal will be received by my husband. My children have both decided they don't like it, they've never liked it and they won't ever like it, without even trying it or knowing what it was. Somedays it doesn't pay to try something new.
Regardless of how he feels, I have promised my neighbour at least one piece of chicken to try, so I still have hope that at least someone will like what I made for dinner tonight.
Posted by Jenny at 5:04 PM