Friday, December 26, 2008

Chicken Tetrazzini (Page 226)

RECIPE #893

  • Date: Saturday, December 13, 2008 -- 6pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-


Mmmm... pasta! I'm not sure how it possibly took me so long to make this recipe, since it sounded totally delicious. I finally made this a couple weeks ago though, and it did not disappoint. I started by cutting a whole chicken into 8 serving pieces and simmering them in salted water for 25 minutes. I let the chicken cool in the broth for an hour and a half. Once the chicken cooled I removed the skin and bones from the meat and shredded it. I put the meat in the fridge, and added the skin and bones back into the broth. I cooked the broth another couple hours to reduce it. Meanwhile, I cooked mushrooms in butter, and also cooked some spaghetti. Finally I made a cream sauce from the reduced broth, and added sherry, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper. To assemble the dish I mixed the spaghetti and mushrooms with some sauce, and put it in a buttered baking dish. Then I mixed the shredded chicken with the remaining sauce and put it in the center of the pasta. I topped it with Parmesan and baked it in the oven until golden and bubbly. The result: Yum!! This was a bit on the rich side, but very, very tasty. Reducing the broth for hours and hours was a bit of a pain, but it gave the sauce a great chicken flavor. The sherry was a nice complement, giving the sauce a well-roundedness. Added to the pasta and mushrooms, it was delicious. Baking the dish with cheese on top only made it better. It was a winner -- a lovely example of winter comfort food!

The recipe in The Book is very similar to this one.

Each recipe in The Book has an Active Time and a Start to Finish Time listed. In general these times are pretty accurate, and I rely on them. In particular, I do a lot of cooking late in the evening (because that is when I have time!) and I use the Start to Finish estimate to decide if I can finish a recipe before my bed time. So it is always an unpleasant surprise when the Start to Finish time isn't so accurate. For instance, in this recipe. This recipe claims to have a Start to Finish of 4 hours. But if you read through the recipe, adding up the cooking times for each step, you get a total of 4 hours and 48 minutes, and that doesn't include any of the prep steps. So this recipe takes at least 5 hours from start to finish. I didn't realize this until I was already halfway through making it. I had carefully timed it so I could just finish this recipe just in time to clean up and go to bed. That extra hour of cooking time was entirely unwelcome. So at some stage I threw everything in the fridge and finished the recipe a few days later, when I had time. It worked out fine that way, but if I ever find myself working as a recipe editor (who knows -- stranger things have happened!) I will definitely be sure to use my math skills to make sure the Start to Finish time is at least as long as the cooking times added together!

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