National Margarita Day & Supermarket Chicken

El amor y el escándalo son la mejor azúcar para el té.
Spanish to English: Love and Scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.Supermarket Chicken 2

A pretty margarita recipe dropped into my mailbox it started a let’s not have Mexican tonight with the margarita and I was too lazy to even start thinking Mexican, so Spanish fast and easy came to mind…spicy Mandarin jalapeño margarita

Mandarin Margarita

The supermarket rotisserie chickens are everywhere and I have used them as a starting point for many dishes over the years, the first time was when I intended to serve roasted chicken tacos for friends when we rented a place in Naples, Florida.  The kitchen was as most rentals are, set up with the basics in the kitchen as I inspected the broiler pan to use for roasting a chicken I was tempted to stuff it back into the appropriate cubbyhole with a note of warning.  I had no choice but to use the Pyrex roasting pan, well about 15 minutes into the roasting time we heard an explosion, yes the pan had exploded in the oven and after the glass settled it was clear that we needed a plan “B” and fortunately the local store had rotisserie chickens I chose the one with the lemon seasoning, real lemon or not, and we had a fine “rotisserie” chicken taco dinner with all the trimmings and in the end a perfectly acceptable time saver lesson learned.

Serve with a gazpacho style salad with parmesan pepper croutons and dressed with a sherry or red wine vinaigrette…delicious!Gazpacho salad2

The New Spanish Table book offered a simple recipe makeover for a wonderful dinner that I am sure to have again and might just make it to a great company dinner list. Ferran Adrià as explained in the book and the article (ink) below is “A guru to a new generation of chefs from Chicago to Copenhagen, he’s been featured on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of our times and touted by the press as an alchemist and a genius.”  So I was surprised with the brief recipe that begins with a supermarket rotisserie chicken with additions of cinnamon, dried fruit, citrus zest and a bit of chicken broth.  I did have an oops moment when I was adding the chicken stock concentrate…the entire little container went in instead of just a portion so I had no choice but to add enough water and wine to make it right, 1-1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup wine and simmered it down a little longer before adding the chicken.  The result a  rich “chickenier” sauce.

Supermarket chicken

Serves 4 – slightly adapted

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup pitted dried sour cherries
*dried craisins – 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 strip orange zest (4 inches), white pith removed
1 strip lemon zest (4 inches), white pith removed
1/2 cup tawny port
1 small cinnamon stick
2/3 cup chicken stock or broth
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces, juices reserved

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the prunes, apricots, cherries, pine nuts, and orange and lemon zest and cook, stirring, until the pine nuts turn golden and the fruits are browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the port and cinnamon stick and cook until syrupy, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the chicken juices. Increase the heat to high, bring the sauce to a boil, and cook until reduced, about 5 minutes.
3. Place the chicken pieces in a baking dish that can hold them snugly. Pour the sauce over them, scraping up all the fruit and liquid from the bottom of the skillet and turning the chicken to coat it with the sauce. Bake the chicken until it is warmed through and the sauce is further reduced, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve at once.

*Note to link:
http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/fast-times-with-ferran-adria