It's a cold and rainy day in Tel Aviv.
All I want right now is to wrap myself in a blanket and watch Coupling. I also don't feel like cooking up a storm and I just thought of a recipe that would fit the bill. This recipe comes straight from my grandmother's notebook and it proves beyond doubt that simple ingredients and ingenuity can go a long way. She wasn't a fussy lady. After all, she had to feed 5 children with very little resources, most of which, came from her own labor. She could do it all and it's pretty amazing by today's standards.
This here her amazing crock pot chicken recipe.
Irene's Frango na Púcara
1 large chicken (cut into 8 pieces)
4 large onions (quartered)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 shot glass of Porto Wine
1 shot glass of água ardente - the equivalent would be grappa or a fruit brandy
1 glass of white wine
2 tablespoons of butter or butter flavored margarine (if keeping it kosher)
1 large tablespoon of prepared mustard (I used French's Mustard)
Start by gently melting the butter in the microwave and mix it with the mustard and garlic. It will look a bit like a vinaigrette. Set aside.
Take an heavy pan with a lid (oven proof, like a Le Creuset) and spread the onion at the bottom.
Now put the chicken on top and pour the Porto, água ardente and white wine.
Add the butter mixture on top of the chicken and season with a tablespoon of kosher salt and a little bit of black pepper.
Don't mix anything.
Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 1 hour at 200 degrees celcius. Don't open the lid during the cooking time.
In about 30 minutes, you're entire kitchen will be smelling so good, you'll know there's something out-worldly happening inside that pan.
Now, take the lid off and turn on the grill. Let the chicken brown for another 5 to 10 minutes.
And here it is...
The chicken is melt-in-your-mouth tender and the skin, which is now slightly roasted, is encrusted with a salty/garlicky/tangy layer which I can't resist. The onion at the bottom tastes so good, it's usually not enough. The original recipe calls for 2 onions, but I had to double it because it's almost a side dish all by itself.
Serve it with a simple basmati rice.