Thursday, April 21, 2011

Varna-Style Chicken

Hi! I'm having a really hard time staying away from my blog (it's so addicting) but I still haven't had any time to cook lately because of packing and lots of other miscellaneous stuff. I had originally posted this on another food blog I started, but I decided I should only have one at a time. Enjoy anyways!

Varna is the third largest city in Bulgaria, located on the Black Sea. Bulgaria has a warm climate which creates great growing conditions for lots of vegetables and fruit. Most dishes are baked or steamed, including Varna-Style Chicken.

This dish involves braising dark meat chicken in a tomato, mushroom and sherry sauce. I've never made this dish before, so I experimented a little. Instead of serving over rice, I served the chicken with a ficelle to mop up the delicious sauce because the bakery near my place drew me inside with it's heavenly smells and I just had to buy a delicious loaf of bread. The end result was absolutely delicious, but I definitely want to retest and make a few more changes in the future.

The changes are slight, but enough to make a difference. I'd like to use less onion, more tomatoes and also reduce the sauce before going in the oven so it is thicker. Even without those changes, the dish itself is delectable and I would love to make it again.

Varna-Style Chicken
Adapted from Poland, Russia and Eastern Europe by Lesley Chamberlain

Serves 4

2 lb dark meat chicken, cut in pieces
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 onion, chopped
Fresh thyme for garnish

1/4 c. dry sherry
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
1/2 tsp mustard
14 oz. can of whole tomatoes, diced
1 c. mushrooms, sliced (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large dutch oven, add 1 tbsp olive oil and heat over med-high. Add chicken, and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Remove from pan and set aside.
2. While chicken is cooking, mix together ingredients for sauce. Let sit until ready.
3. Drain oil and fat from pan. Add another 1 tbsp olive oil and heat over med-low. Add onions and garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until soft, but not translucent.
4. Add sauce to pan and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust seasonings.
5. Return chicken to pan and ladle sauce over chicken. Cover, and put in oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Check temperature of chicken with thermometer. Remove from oven if the thermometer in thickest part of a thigh reads 150 degrees. Return to oven if not cooked enough. Let sit for 10 minutes out of the oven before serving.



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