Springtime in Tunis

Shy DaffodilsWell, it’s right on the verge, at least.  These daffs are literally peeping out.  One of the delightful things about renting a grandma’s house, this year, is discovering what she has been tucking into her garden for decades.  We just finished with the miniature jonquils.  Now, we have full blown daffodils and flowering apricot trees.DSC_9671Before we head into a new produce season, though,  it is a good time to look at using up food that I preserved last summer and fall.  It is one thing to get enthusiastic about canning and freezing during an abundant season.  The second part of that act, however, is creatively using that product, later on.  When I talk with Gabe each week, I often ask him what he has been cooking and if he is using up his food stores.  Sometimes, I note a tinge of irritation in his voice.  I know that it takes some more intentionality to use the food you have tucked away, especially if it is starting to sound a little repetitive.  But I also don’t want to spend my cooking days next summer trying to use up preserved food from last summer.  I want him to chow it down, now.

I put away this giant jar of kohlrabi kimchi last November.  You can see the fiery chili paste sediment waiting at the bottom of the jar.  We aren’t that excited about a side of kimchi with our meals, at the moment, but this recipe takes the heat and vinegar and crunch and turns it into a base for a different kind of dish.

KimchiKimchi-Braised Chicken
with Bacon

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. slab bacon, or chorizo, sliced 1/4″ thick, cut crosswise into 1″ pieces
4 lbs chicken pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
8 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups kimchi, with juices, divided
6 oz. pasta
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter


Heat oil in large Dutch oven or skillet over medium and cook bacon or chorizo, turning occasionally, until brown and lightly crisped, 5-8 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.

Season chicken generously with salt and pepper.  Cook, skin side down, in bacon drippings, until skin is very deep golden brown, 12-15 minutes.  Transfer to plate with bacon, placing skin side up.

Add garlic and tomatoes to same pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is lightly browned and tomatoes have burst, about 5 minutes.  Add wine, scraping up browned bits.  Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by three-fourths.

Add half of kimchi and nestle bacon and chicken, skin side up, into tomatoes (make sure chicken skin is above surface f liquid to keep it crispy).  Bring to a simmer and cook, reducing heat if needed, until chicken is tender and cooked through, 45-60 minutes.

Transfer chicken back to plate and bring  braising liquid to a simmer; cook until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta until a dente.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Return pasta to pot and add butter and 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid.  Toss, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until pasta is coated with buttery sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.

Stir remaining kimchi into chicken braising liquid; season with salt and pepper.  Place chicken, skin side up, in braising liquid.  Toss noodles to combine.

Serve chicken and tomato-kimchi sauce over buttery noodles or remove chicken from the bone and shred it, stirring it back into the sauce.


Adapted from
“Kimchi-Braised Chicken with Bacon.” Bon Appetit Feb. 2016: Web. <www.bonappetit.com>.


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