Hailed as “One of the year’s more engaging cookbooks...” by the New York Times, the book has sold well over 100,000 copies.
“…a one of a kind collection of heartwarming stories and authentic recipes that you’ll want to have for your cooking library…these recipes recall special memories of far away lands or of dearly loved relatives…much more than a recipe compilation, it is a personal journey with stories and reminiscences that will touch your heart.” ~ Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book Club
Arroz Con Pollo – adapted from the Ellis Island Immigrant Cook Book
3 lbs. of chicken pieces (I used breasts and thighs cut into smaller pieces)
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper sliced thinly
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded & chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 cups uncooked rice
3 cups hot chicken broth divided
juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp. saffron
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
Equipment – You’ll need a large oven proof pan with a cover for this. Mine is 15 inches. If you don’t have one that big, cut the recipe in half.
Preparation: Preheat the oven to 325°. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the chicken until golden brown. Do same to pork and remove.
Sauté the pepper and onion in the drippings until the onions are transparent. Add tomato, parsley, garlic and bay leaf. Mix well and cook until soft. Set skillet aside.
Add the chicken and pork to the pan with the vegetables. Take 1 cup of broth and dissolve the saffron in it. Add the wine and lemon juice to the broth and pour this mixture into the skillet over the chicken and pork. Cover and cook over medium heat about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
Add the rice between the chicken pieces. Add the remaining 2 cups of broth. Stir carefully. Bring to a boil. Cover and place in the preheated 325° oven for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is done. Remove, let stand 15 minutes covered.
Purchase a copy of The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook here –
Chickens as we know them are a human invention. The most common chicken species, Gallus gallus domesticus, owes its existence to the domestication of four species of wild jungle fowls, a group of colorful birds that once roamed the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. As early as 10,000 years ago, people began to keep these jungle-roaming creatures for everything from egg-laying to bird-fighting. Today, poultry is the second most common type of meat around the world after pork. But most contemporary chickens no longer enjoy the freedom of their distant cousins . . .
Chicken with Vinegar, Raisins, and Onions – An interesting combination of flavors – with kind of a sweet and sour finish.
Boil the onions in salted water for about 5 minutes. Remove and place them in a bowl. Fry the pancetta in a pot until it browns. Remove and place it in a separate bowl.
Add the boiled onions to same pot with the pancetta fat and cook until they begin to brown. Add garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Transfer onions and garlic to bowl with pancetta.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the chicken to pot starting skin side down and cook, turning, until browned. Transfer to bowl with onions.
Pour off the fat from pot and return to medium-high heat. Add both vinegars to the pot and bring to a boil and deglaze. Add broth, raisins, bay leaves, browned chicken thighs, pancetta, onions, and garlic to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is fork-tender, 25 – 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken and onions to a platter. Continue cooking the sauce for another few minutes so it reduces. Spoon the sauce over chicken and onions and serve with pasta or rice.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, most of what we heard about in New York was the damage done in New Orleans. New Orleans got the headlines but Katrina affected the coastal areas of three states; Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Requests went out from those states for help and one of those requests, Mississippi’s, found its way the New York City Department of Buildings. Our Commissioner agreed to send ten of us with five SUVs and whatever equipment was needed to help with structural assessment.
. . . After two days of driving, we arrived at the border of Jackson County. That was as far as our instructions took us. We already were seeing downed trees and overturned trailers miles from the coast. Stopping at sort of a combination gas station-fried chicken restaurant we called for further directions.
. . . We arrived at the Gautier City Hall and were welcomed by a group of officials. They thanked us for coming and gave us some local maps. One official said something like “…as soon as we get a quiet evening, I’m sure we can boil and burn something for all y’all.” I knew he said something positive so I thanked him. I found out later he was inviting us to dinner.
. . . We were able to get breakfast and dinner at the Imperial Palace but were on our own for lunch. There was a Red Cross food van that was surprisingly good. We had to go to Camp Vancleave fairly regularly to have our laundry done and to get gas at the FEMA tank truck. Jack and I made it a point to go in the morning so we could have “Mohler’s” excellent donuts for breakfast.
. . . Eventually a family run restaurant on Bienville Boulevard called “BB’s Po’boy” reopened and Jack and I became regulars.
Our waitress apologized for not having any of their famous Gulf shrimp saying, “The boats hadn’t been able to go out because of the flotsam left by the storm.”
The proprietors and staff were glad to be back and their customers were happy to see them. When we talk in New York we’re usually exchanging information, in Mississippi they exchange “pleasantries” and it really was a pleasure being surrounded by such nice people. The food was good enough for us to go through their whole menu in the weeks we were in Ocean Springs but more than that, lunch time was an hour of gentile normalcy taken out of what was usually a bleak day.
. . . Toward the end of our stay some local building and fire officials invited all of us for dinner at their favorite Irish pub in Pascagoula. They served us corned beef and cabbage with homemade soda bread and the Guinness flowed like water. After dinner a lot of locals showed up just to meet the “inspectors from New York” and they all made a point of shaking our hands and thanking us for coming such a long way to help them. A little embarrassed by the compliment, we in turn, thanked them for their hospitality.
A fairly simple recipe with just a few ingredients but when it’s done it has complex flavors. And it looks like you put a lot more effort into it than you actually did.
Preheat the oven to 450° with the rack toward the top. Finely chop 1 garlic clove and place it in a bowl with salt, black pepper and red pepper, oregano and 1 tbsp olive oil. Thoroughly coat the room temperature chicken with this mixture.
Depending on their size, cut the tomatoes in halves or quarters. Cut the remaining garlic in half lengthwise. Add salt, black pepper and ¼ cup of olive oil and toss until coated. Arrange in an even layer in a pan.
Cut each breast in half and place the chicken pieces on top of the tomato garlic layer. Roast until done – about 40 to 50 minutes – then 5 minutes under the broiler. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes and serve.
Pan roasted chicken with rosemary is simple – not too many ingredients and easy to prepare.
Remove backbone with poultry shears and cut chicken in half. Your butcher can do that for you if you’d like.
Mix rosemary, garlic, ½ of the oil and ½ tsp. each of kosher salt and black pepper. Grind with a mortar and pestle. Rub this mix all over chicken cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 400o and put rack in lower 3rd. Heat the pan on the top of the stove with the rest of the oil. Put the room temperature chicken in the pan, skin side down, and brown it for about 5 minutes.
Move the pan to the pre-heated oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes. When almost done, turn chicken and roast another five minutes to crisp the skin. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let it rest about 10 minutes before serving.
Skin-On Chicken Breast is similar to and simpler than doing the duck breasts from my last post. Have your butcher remove the bone from the breast leaving the skin in place or you can do that yourself.
Put them on a cutting board and cover with Saran. Pound them to an even thickness – about ¾ inch.
Blot them dry and season with salt and pepper and refrigerate uncovered for at least 1 hour. Bring them to room temperature before cooking.
Add a little oil to a cold pan. Put the breasts in skin side down and turn the heat on to medium. Weigh down the breasts so the skin makes full contact and browns evenly – it should take about 6 – 8 minutes.
My mother’s mother, Nicolina, came from Salerno. The Salernitano pronunciation is chee-fi-choff. My mother’s Uncle Tony lived on Staten Island and had a chicken coop near the back of his property. Every time we visited he offered to kill a chicken for my mother to take home. She always politely refused, preferring the neatly packaged ones from the supermarket.
This is a simple recipe that tastes more complicated than it is to prepare. There are other recipes for ’Ncip ’Nciape with more ingredients and more complicated. But this is the simplest and for me, the best.
Cut a room temperature chicken into 10 pieces, (2 wings, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 breasts each cut in half) and season with salt and pepper. Lightly brown in oil and remove (don’t pour out the fat). Lightly brown 5 cloves of garlic cut in half in the remaining chicken fat and oil in the same pot. Add ½ cup of liquid and deglaze the pot. Return chicken with 1/4 cup chopped parsley, cover and simmer on medium low heat covered for 20 minutes turning once. This is very good with a vinegary salad and I also love it left-over and room temperature or even cold. This recipe also works well with rabbit or lamb.
My great aunt Caroline could cook weeds and make them taste good. She had a dish her guests would often hope for at lunch. She’d sauté chicken hearts and mushrooms in olive oil with crumpled dried pepperoncini – simple ingredients which came together as something very special. The mushrooms were gathered by my Uncle Tony in his forays into the wilds of Staten Island to places only he knew.
When he went to pick wild mushrooms he’d be gone all day and Aunt Caroline would say, “He thinks I don’t know, but after he gets the mushrooms, he plays poker with his friends. As long as he brings me the mushrooms, I don’t say anything.”
The first time I can remember her serving the chicken hearts, she looked at me and without asking if I’d prefer it, cut a couple of slices of crunchy Italian bread and spread it with cream cheese and Welch’s grape jelly.
“Robbie’s ‘Merican,” she said to my mother, “so I made him a sandwich I saw on television.” I was glad to get the cream cheese and jelly but eventually acquired a taste for her chicken hearts.
1 lb chicken hearts
1 lb sliced mushrooms (your choice)
¼ cup olive oil
Dried peperoncini to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
Wash, dry and season the chicken hearts with salt and black pepper. Sear them in oil in a very hot pan and remove. Sauté sliced mushrooms in the remaining fat & oil. When done return the chicken hearts. Break up 3 or 4 dried peperoncini into the pan stir and serve when the peppers soften.