Saturday, March 09, 2013

Smackdown returns - Amanda Hesser vs Coolio

If you're a long (long, LONG) time reader of this blog, you may remember back in 2007-2008 I did a short series of posts pitting chefs and their books against each other to highlight an ingredient and choose a winner. See here for a refresher, if you'd like.

I never meant for my Smackdown posts to go away.  I had more planned, even some partially completed, but you know how it is.

But now kids, it's back.

The first Smackdown of 2013 - Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte vs. Coolio's Cookin' with Coolio.

 And the Smackdown Ingredient?  Chicken Thighs.

The recipes?  Amanda's (may I call you Amanda?) Chicken roasted with sour cream, lemon juice and mango chutney, and Coolio's Superfry Chicken.

Now neither of these recipes specifically call for chicken thighs, but that's what I had in my freezer. 

Let's start with Coolio.  I have really enjoyed all the recipes I've made out of his book, and his banana bread is one of my all time favorites.  I chose his Superfry Chicken because I knew it would work well with the thighs, and how yummy does garlic onion and balsamic vinegar in fried chicken sound?

 I cut the thighs into pieces so we were having Superfry Nuggets.  These were really really good.  Great flavor, and quick to prepare with ingredients you most likely already have in your cupboard.  Sure, frying is messy and not the healthiest, but it's ok to do once in a while.  Next time I might add a bit more onion and garlic and let it sit for a bit, as some pieces were more flavorful than others.

 Next is Amanda's dish.  I have owned this book for a long, long time and love it.  But I must admit that while I have read and re-read it countless times, I have only tried once recipe.  This one though, I've had marked since I first read the book. 

The chicken is covered in a creamy sauce of sour cream, mayonnaise, mango chutney and lemon juice, and cooked quickly in a hot oven.  In addition to using thighs instead of chicken breasts, I also subbed the mango chutney out for peach chutney, because it was cheaper.  My only beef with this recipe was the cooking time.  After 15 minutes the thighs were not cooked through.  But this was really good - quick and tangy and the sauce, although super fattening, was soooo good.  I saved the extra sauce and used it to top sweet potatos a few days later.  

Argh, I have to admit, it was really hard to pick a winner here.  But I am giving this Smackdown to...


Recipes for both of these great dishes here: