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Cooking

Seasonal feast

A classic French braise that’s perfect for Halloween, plus fall’s best vegetables.

Photographs by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

BOO Melting black kale, quinoa with orange beets and tomatoes, and chicken braised with enough garlic to keep vampires at bay.

This is a day to keep vampires at bay, and what better way than with garlic? (Alternatively, there’s another tried-and-true method: Appease them, especially those under 5 feet tall, with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.) In Chicken With Forty Cloves of Garlic, the namesake 40 cloves go from sharp to sweet as they cook, transforming into what famous British cook Nigella Lawson once referred to as “savoury bonbons.” In my version I mash about half the cloves so they’ll infuse the sauce with their remarkable nutty sweetness. Alongside, I’ve put together dishes for Halloween – black quinoa tossed with orange tomatoes and beets, and melting black kale, cooked with a bit of garlic, since you can never be too careful with vampires about.

CHICKEN WITH FORTY CLOVES OF GARLIC

Serves 4

Serve with a warmed baguette to sop up the sauce.

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1½ tablespoons olive oil

40 large garlic cloves, peeled

Salt and pepper

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1 chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into 8 serving pieces and rinsed, dried, and trimmed (or 3 pounds bone-in thighs)

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1½ teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

¾ cup dry white wine

¾ cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large saute pan over medium-low heat, stir together the oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan and cook, stirring often to prevent garlic from sticking, until the garlic cloves are browned and softened, about 35 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic to a small bowl, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible, and set aside.

Meanwhile, very lightly sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In the now-empty pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil briefly, add the chicken skin side down (do not crowd – brown in batches, if necessary), and cook, undisturbed, until browned, about 4 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces and cook until second side is golden brown, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a large plate and, when cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and set chicken aside. Pour all but 2 teaspoons of fat from the pan.

Adjust the heat under the pan to medium, add the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the wine, adjust heat to medium-high, bring to a strong simmer, and with a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and dissolve the fond, about 30 seconds. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, about 3½ minutes. Add broth, return to strong simmer, and continue simmering until liquid is reduced by half again, about 3½ minutes. Add the chicken with its accumulated juices (reserve the breasts, if using) and half of the garlic, and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to very low, cover pan, and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 35 minutes, turning the chicken over and adding the breasts, if using, after 20 minutes. Remove the chicken to a serving platter, tent loosely with foil, and set aside. Discard the bay leaves.

With a wooden spoon, thoroughly mash the garlic cloves in the pan to thicken the sauce. Add the remaining garlic and any accumulated juices from the resting chicken, adjust heat to medium-high, and bring to a strong simmer. Simmer vigorously, stirring often, until liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Adjust heat to medium-low, and stir in the butter. Add the lemon juice and most of the parsley, and stir. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Top the chicken with the sauce and the remaining parsley and serve.

BLACK AND ORANGE QUINOA SALAD (WITH BEETS AND TOMATOES)

Serves 6

1½ cups black quinoa, rinsed

Salt and pepper

2 medium shallots, finely chopped (about ½ cup)

1½ pounds beets, preferably golden, cooked, peeled, and cut into bite-size wedges

1 pint cherry tomatoes, preferably orange, halved

1½ teaspoons grated zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 1 orange

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

¾ teaspoon ground coriander

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the quinoa and 2 teaspoons salt, cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes, and drain in a strainer. Add about 2 inches of water to the pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Set the strainer over the simmering water, cover the quinoa with a folded kitchen towel and the pan lid and steam the quinoa until tender and dry, about 10 minutes. Cool, pour into a large bowl, and add the shallots, beets, and all but a few of the tomatoes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix the orange zest and juice, vinegar, honey, coriander, cumin, 1½ teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Vigorously whisk in the oil, then pour dressing into the quinoa mixture, add the parsley, and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Top with remaining tomatoes and serve.

MELTING BLACK KALE (CAVALO NERO)

Serves 6 (makes about 4 cups)

You’re going to need a very large pot for this recipe. To keep the dish vegetarian, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

Salt and black pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 bunches black kale (just over 2 pounds total), stemmed and leaves chopped

1 1/3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

In a very large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2½ minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 40 seconds. Add the kale in batches, stirring, until each batch wilts and makes space for the next.

When all of the kale is wilted, add 1/3 cup broth, adjust heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pot is almost dry, about 14 minutes. Repeat with broth 3 more times, about 1 hour total; kale should be very dark and tender. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste, stir, and serve.

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at cooking@globe.com.
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