The Great Recipe Challenge… Elation

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Irene Field

After last week’s disappointment, I decided it was time to pick myself up, brush myself down and continue on. I would not let one soggy bottom (on my fish pie) put a dampener on my challenge. This would not be a pimple on my purpose, a wart on my wonderment.

Next up in the bookcase is a book by Julie Biuso, first published in 2003 and entitled  ‘Hot Nights Cool Days’ The foreword promises irresistible food to share with family and friends. I am proud to inform – a large round of applause please – the book, or at least my recipe selection, lived up to its promise.


The Chapter was entitled ‘Stoking the Fires’ and my fingers found the recipe ‘Chicken Breasts with Marsala and Kalamata Olives’ Julie warns that Marsala does not have an extremely long shelf life and can be used in Zabaglione or to warm ones tummy. I decided to substitute port, which may leave Julie grimacing, however the recipe calls for 1/4 cup only. Usually sherry is substituted for Marsala, but that doesn’t grace our liquor cabinet either, so Port it was.


As an aside to Port. Here is a little tip if you buy a Port and find it to be harsh on the taste buds. Add an egg cup of brandy to the Port and leave it for at least a month, if not longer. When you return for another taste, you will find your Port equals the finest!


Back to my Chicken Breasts. First up was to cut skinned and boned chicken breasts into three portions. Coat with flour and gently cook in a combination of oil and butter. Once cooked, keep the chicken warm. Remove from the pan. Cook garlic, then add olives, diced fresh tomatoes, marjoram (which I confess I didn’t have either, so substituted Italian flat leaf parsley) and finally pour in the Marsala.


Julie says to then pour this over your chicken breasts. Ensure it is poured over the actual chicken and not your own breasts, if you are of female persuasion! However, I placed the chicken back in the pan for long enough for it to be covered in the wonderful olive and tomato concoction.


Our verdict. The chicken was tender and oh so moist. Julie recommends cooking chicken until it is cooked just through, and then as it stands the residual heat will continue to cook the chicken, I covered it and the result was beautiful, moist chicken pieces. Not one piece of dry flesh resided within!


Joy of joys.  This recipe is to die for. It will be revisited and made again.  And whilst we are on the subject of Chicken.  We all know why the Chicken crossed the road. But do you know why the Chicken crossed the Playground? Because he wanted to get to the other slide!

On that note I will leave you until my next challenge.

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