Monday, July 11, 2011

Chicken a la Boyardee

When I was a kid, I remember Chef Boyardee spaghetti that came in a kit that included noodles, sauce, and cheese. It seemed so ... modern. Or it seemed modern compared to my mother's quaint way of making spaghetti sauce from scratch.

Recently, I saw a show on TV that mentioned Chef Boyardee and how he started the company. I was a little surprised that he was a real guy and a real chef rather than an invented spokesperson, but I didn’t give it much more thought until I got a copy of the Boiardi family cookbook.

When I think of Chef Boyardee, I think about the products that are sold in stores, but the cookbook paints a completely different picture. Since the guy was a chef, the food at home was no doubt a whole lot more interesting than the canned products we’re so familiar with today, and it seems that the rest of the family was just as interested in cooking as he was. While there's history of the family and the company in the book, the recipes aren't company recipes – they are family recipes.

The first one I decided to try was a chicken recipe. But of course I had to put my spin on it. The original recipe called for a whole chicken, cut up. Instead, I used chicken thighs.

This might not be the best recipe for a hot summer day - at least not the cooking part. The dish itself is nice and light, so it works well for a summer meal. You can serve it with rice to soak up the juices, or opt for vegetables for an even lighter dish.

But here's the thing - if you've got a barbecue grill, you can use that for the entire cooking process and make the cooking itself more summer-friendly. You wouldn't cook the food directly on the grates, but if you've got a heavy oven-safe pot, you can use that on a grill, just the way you'd use it on the stove.

Or, if you prefer, you could use a crockpot or electric skillet if you have one.

Chicken Gabriella
Adapted from Delicious Memories by Anna Boiardi

4 chicken thighs
1 onion, chopped
Needles from 2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
3 sage leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Put the chicken, onion, rosemary and sage into a large skillet or a dutch oven. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

Place the pot on medium heat and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is golden brown. If the onions begin to brown too much, turn the heat down.

Add the wine and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, cover the pan, and simmer gently until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and serve.

3 comments:

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Not only was Chef Boyardee a real guy, but he apparently lived right up the road from Bucknell University, where I went to school!
http://www.luxist.com/2010/06/21/chef-boyardees-mansion-up-for-auction/

Donna Currie said...

I remember watching a TV special about him, and it was interesting. He started with a restaurant back when Americans considered Italian food to be exotic and foreign. Customers would ask for food to go, and eventually he started selling sauce and pasta separately so it would be fresh for dinner. Then he went commercial with it. I imagine that the original product is nothing like the canned stuff that's available today.

mia xara said...

I never even knew he was an actual person...!The chicken,however,sounds and looks finger licking good,Donna!Have a good week!

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