Episode 8 – Guest Chef Barry Sexton

 

 


Foodies of New England Episode 8 by FoodiesofNewEngland

Ready for Butternut Squash Cous-Cous Salad, Cider Braised Chicken Thighs, and a sweet Pear Tart? Domenic and Chef Barry Sexton of The Opinionated Palate work up a couple fall favorites–think Thanksgiving with a twist.

 

Appetizer:

Butternut Squash Cous-Cous Salad

Ingredients

  • 4c. butternut squash, cut into 1/2’ pieces
  • 1c. onions, peeled & diced
  • 2-1/2 c  Israeli cous-cous
  • 1c. parsley, washed & minced
  • 1/2c  pine nuts, toasted
  • 1c. Craisins
  • 1/2c. dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, grated & juiced
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & cut into ½” pieces
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil and salt to taste in a large shallow baking pan and spread in 1 layer. Roast in oven 15 minutes, or until squash is just tender, cool slightly and transfer to a large bowl.

 
Cook onion in 2 tablespoon olive oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until soft or beginning to turn golden. Add to squash.
 

Cook couscous with cinnamon stick in a large pot of boiling salted water 10 minutes, or until just tender, and drain in a colander (do not rinse). Add couscous to vegetables and toss with 2 tablespoon oil to coat. Add grated lemon peel and juice, parsley, pine nuts, apricots, craisins, apples, ground cinnamon, and salt to taste. Gently toss to combine.

Entree:

Cider Braised Chicken Thighs

  • 2 – 2 1/4 lb  chicken thighs (6) remove skin & trim excess fat
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2c slab bacon, cut into 1”dice
  • 2 onions, peeled & small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • To taste, salt/pepper

Preheat the oven to 375. In a 12-inch oven-safe frying pan, add slab bacon and render fat stirring until lightly brown, remove from pan set aside until later, add butter and continue to brown over medium high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt & pepper.

Add thighs skin side down, working in batches cook 3 each for about 2 minutes per side, until the chicken is well browned. Do not over crowd. Flip over the chicken and sear the other side. Remove the seared chicken and set aside on a plate, then repeat the process with the second batch. Meanwhile, cut the onion in half and slice into 1/4 inch half-moons. Peel the garlic clove.

After the chicken is finished searing, add the onion, reduce the heat to medium and saute until soft. Add the garlic and cider. Bring to a simmer while using a wooden spoon to scrap off the bits on the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken over the onions, pour in the chicken stock, bring to a simmer. Put the pan in the oven, and cook for 40 minutes, basting once or twice.

Remove pan from oven and take out the chicken thighs, then add the quartered apples & rosemary sprigs on top of the onions, then place the thighs on top of the apples. Place back into the oven for another 40 minutes. The chicken is done when a fork or sharp knife is easily inserted into it and the chicken slides off the fork.

The sauce should be reduced by the time the chicken is cooked; set the chicken aside and cover with foil to rest while you season the sauce to taste. Divide the chicken equally between three plates and spoon the sauce over each serving.

Dessert:

French Apple Tart

  • 1 puffed pastry sheet,  cut into half or thirds
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & halved, cut into 1/8 slices
  • 1 c  brown sugar
  • 3 T applesauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2tbsp butter, softened

Preheat oven to 420 degrees.

Place puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray and lined with parchment paper. Add sugar and salt to apples. Gently toss to combine. Set aside. Place 3 tbsp of apple sauce onto the dough in a straight line creating an 1/12 inch border.

Arrange apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go on top of the apple sauce. Dot with butter. Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry has puffed and browned. The edges of the apples should start to brown. Rotate the pan once to cook evenly during cooking.

Remove from pan immediately and place on a serving platter. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.  Serve with caramel topping, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Cool before cutting for at least 15 minutes.

 
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