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My Cuban Chicken Fricassee Married with (Tyler Florence’s) Ultimate Meatballs

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A Home-Reared Chef! Cook by Instinct, Recipe #24!


Well, here is my latest masterpiece from my home’s kitchen to yours. A lot of thought and work went into preparing this dish. I only wish we had a way for you to smell this through your computer; or that there was a way I could give you a sample. This dish is just marvelous, if I do say so myself. 


The dish is all born from instinct; of flavors that could marry and work well together. But I get ahead of myself. I actually was browsing through the Food Network recipes, out of habit, trying to decide what I could serve alongside my Cuban chicken dish—also tweaked from my mother’s original recipe. When I happened to come across Tyler Florence’s recipe and, whala!, it hit me right then and there; the meatballs would marry so well in my fricassee. I could actually smell and taste the finished product, though it was far beyond what I expected. 


This dish is quite intricate, with lots of flavors playing and melding together. Though there is a lot going on, no one flavor comes in to overpower another. Everything married just beautifully! Simply, “5 Outstanding Wooden Spoons,” was the final verdict. 


My Cuban Chicken Fricassee Married with (Tyler Florence’s) Ultimate Meatballs 

Part I; from 2 to 4 hours before or overnight:


My Meat Patties (tweaked from Tyler Florence’s “The Ultimate Meatballs al Forno with Creamy Polenta”) 


10-ounces baguette, ripped in very small pieces
2 cups whole milk
Soak the bread in the milk for about 10 to 15 minutes until the bread is soft.
2 pounds ground beef sirloin
2 pounds ground pork (unseasoned)
Soaked bread, milk squeezed out of the bread (added to meat in small pieces)
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely roughly chopped
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and ground
Gray and pink salts
Chipotle Chile powder to taste
Ancho Chile powder to taste
Guajillo Chile powder to taste 


In a large bowl mix the beef and pork together with the rest of the ingredients, and mix everything together thoroughly; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to overnight is best. 


Part II; from 4 hours before or overnight: 


4 pounds chicken thighs (with bone and skin gives best flavor)
Juice of 2 large and heavy oranges
Juice of 1 large and heavy grapefruit
6 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 large shallot peeled and finely chopped
Gray salt to taste
Heavy sprinkle of Mexican oregano
Heavy sprinkle of dry thyme
Chipotle Chile powder to taste
Ancho Chile powder to taste
Guajillo Chile powder to taste
1/2 bottle dry white wine
1 cup Marsala wine
Combine all the ingredients in a container suitable for marinating the chicken and toss well; cover and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hours, and up to overnight is best. 


Part III; day of cooking: 


1-1/2 pounds crimini/brown mushrooms
2 cups Cipollini onions, peeled and cut in half
1 medium and heavy green bell pepper, chopped
1 medium and heavy red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup capers
1/2 cup stuffed (pitted) green olives
1/2 cup raisins
1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce 


1. Remove the chicken and blot on a paper towels, making sure the pieces are dry enough so that they will sear when browning (too moist a meat steams instead of browning properly). Reserve the marinade. 


2. Of the refrigerated beef and pork mixture, with semi-damp hands, evenly and gently shape 12 hamburger patties; set aside. 


Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees 


3. Heat about 3 tablespoons [cooking] olive oil in a large non-stick pan, over medium-high heat, and brown the chicken pieces, skin-side down first; do this in batches rather than overcrowding the pan; place the fried chicken pieces in a large Dutch oven (one they will cook in, in the oven) and set aside. Reserve the rendered chicken fat (good for you and great tasting!) for frying the meat-patties and the sautéing of the vegetables. 


4. In the same non-stick pan, and same heat, fry/brown the meat-patties, adding chicken fat as needed; transfer to the Dutch oven with the chicken; leave aside. 


5. In the same non-stick pan, adding more chicken fat to the pan as needed, (lower the heat to medium) add and sauté the mushrooms and onions for about 5 minutes. 


6. To the sautéing mushroom and onions add the bell peppers and sauté for about 2 minutes only, and turn off heat. 


7. To the Dutch oven with the meats add the capers (with little juice), green olives (NO juice), raisins, tomato sauce, reserved marinade, and sautéed vegetables. On the stove top bring this to a quick boil; turn off heat; cover pot, place in the oven, and lower heat to 350 degrees and cook for 1 hour. 


Serve this with polenta, rice, potatoes, or just enjoy with a loaf of good bread, and as Julia would say, “Bon Appétit!”

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