Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cookistry Cooks Books: Jamie's Food Revolution

I got a review copy of Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Food Revolution from the publisher a while back, and just now got around to writing about it.

While this is supposed to be a book with simple recipes, it's Jamie-style simple. He doesn't give exact measurements for items that don't need to be exact. Why stress over exact measurements of things like mushrooms when you can ask for a handful? Add more or less, depending on how much you like mushrooms - or how big your hands are.

If you stress about recipes that don't give exact measurements, you might not want this book. On the other hand, if you think it's fiddly to measure mushrooms by the cup or the ounce, you'll be really happy with this book.

The point is that if you change the amounts of certain ingredients, yes, you'll have a slightly different dish. But it doesn't matter. It will still be good. 

When I made this, I made about twice as much rice - and it was a brown rice. And I used a lot more mushrooms. I got a ginormous bunch of parsley at the farmer's market and just used a little of it. That was enough. I could have used less. Or spinach would have been good, too.

When I was done, I didn't garnish with parsley. It probably would have been prettier for photos with a sprinkle of fresh parsley, but I skipped the garnish.

Overall it was a good dish. If I was going to make it again, I'd cook the leeks and mushrooms in the butter/oil mixture first, until the mushrooms were cooked a bit more. Then I'd add the wine and let it reduce. Then add add the chicken and cream. Maybe a bit less cream.

But considering this book is all about getting people into the kitchen and cooking dishes in an unintimidating way, I'm sure Jamie wouldn't care what sort of modifications anyone made.

Chicken and Leek Stroganoff

1 large leek
A hand full of crimini or oyster mushrooms
2 chicken breast fillets
Olive oil
A pat of butter
A glass of white wine
a bunch of fresh parsley
1  1/2 cups heavy cream
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon

3/4 cup long grain or basmati rice, cooked.


Cut both ends off the leek, quarter lengthwise, then slice thinly. Wash well under running water (use a colander or strainer with large holes).

Slice the mushrooms. Slice the chicken breasts into strips.

Put a frying pan on high heat and add a good glug of olive oil and a pat of butter. Add the leek, the white wine, and a small glass of water. Cook for 5 minutes, covered loosely.

While the leeks are cooking, chop the parsley.

Uncover the pan and add the chicken, mushrooms, parsley, and cream. Stir, bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, then take it off the heat. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze half the lemon onto the mixture.

Serve over the rice. Garnish with extra parsley, if desired. Cut the other half of the lemon into wedges and serve with the stroganoff.

4 comments:

Sara said...

I think I have this book (I have something with the same title but a different cover, so I'm not totally sure). I like it, and have cooked quite a few things from it and really liked them. My major complaint with it would be that while I do think most of the recipes are pretty simple (at least from the standpoint of someone who already cooks a lot), there are tons of them that are neither cheap nor healthy. Now, I certainly (happily) cook pricier, more indulgent food sometimes, but I don't get it given the stated goal of the book - for instance, I view a recipe with a cup and a half of heavy cream in the sauce as a definite splurge (similar with the whole chapter on ground beef). Similarly, there's a lot with chicken breasts, which are super pricey where I am - I'd have liked to see more with less expensive cuts. Anyway, I guess I'm just saying I do really like this cookbook, but I'm not sure it really meets the slogan that comes with it, which could lead to disappointment if that's what people are looking for when they buy it.

In any case, that strogonoff looks delish!! :)

Donna Currie said...

I think a lot of books fall short of their promise on at least a few recipes. It's like they've got the idea and 90 percent of the recipes, and then they slide a few more in that don't quite fit the theme.

I'll agree that the heavy cream was a little indulgent, but I'd personally rather see heavy cream than some super-processed no-fat goo that's all chemicals. Honestly, this would have been fine with no cream and more wine and lemon. Not a stroganoff any more, but it would have been good.

This isn't a cheap or light dish compared to other chicken dishes. but it probably is cheaper and lighter than a traditional beef stroganoff. So it depends on what you're comparing. A banana is a better dessert than a scoop of ice cream, but a carrot is a better snack than a banana. And a scoop of ice cream is better than a banana split with three scoops of ice cream and toppings. It all depends on where you're starting from.

I probably wouldn't make this often because I don't normally cook with heavy cream - that usually goes into dessert ;-)

Anonymous said...

I don't mind recipes with vague quantities and I tend to vary them any way. Like you, I'm far more interested in the ingredients list and whatever method notes are offered. While the photo looks a little bland, it is only the lack of color contrasts; per the ingredients - the flavors are there. And thanks for mentioning and using brown rice. Although I use and enjoy several white rices, the basic, long grain brown is my go-to rice. This looks like a tasty dish and it is obviously easy to prepare. Thanks for posting it.
-Craig

Anonymous said...

Why do I have to smash Post Comment three times before the post takes? -C.

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