Friday, August 24, 2007

Chicken with Zhough

Thursday 23 August

We ran across the enormously entertaining blog, http://tinybanquet.blogspot.com/
and were introduced to zhough, which is a wild and hairy Yemeni chile pesto. We followed the Tiny Banquet Committee's recipe, which comes from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets.

We used our bright green jalapeños from the garden. Now, I know what your thinking. OHIO chiles, which must be like Cincinnati chili. No way José! These boys were fierce. When I first sliced them up, I began sneezing, and the zhough spiced the air throughout the lower floor of the house. I made the paste up in the morning, and despite numerous interim hand-washings, when I wiped my lips at lunch the residual chile oil still toasted my tender flesh. I was beginning to wonder how I was going to get my contact lenses out that night.

We followed the TBC's advice and stuffed this hell paste under the skin of a pair of chicken bosoms. Sautéed in oil, a bit of wine, covered. Barbara had the brilliant idea of adding some cream to the sauce, and we also tossed in some steamed diced potatoes that I had been thinking of smashing. The result was wonderful: zippy but not to the level of cellular disruption that I'd been fearing. The cooking had tamed the chiles and the creamy sauce was perfect on the tatties.

Tom and Lynne joined us for wine and travelers' tales (but not the jihadi chicken).

1 comment:

tiny banquet committee said...

I'm so glad you liked the zhough!
"Jihadi chicken" is hilarious. I just read a profile of Claudia Roden in last week's New Yorker and after her publisher (apparently?) vetoed the idea of including recipes from Iran and Syria in her new book on Moroccan, Lebanese and Turkish food, she threatened to put out a sequel called "The Food of the Axis of Evil." Yum!