If you’ve ever been to a Portland restaurant and attempted to jot down or steal a menu so you could recreate a salad or entree at home, “Portland Cooks” by Danielle Centoni is a must-add to your cookbook collection.
Recreating restaurant favorites with a list of ingredients as a rudimentary road map rarely yields. The salad never has the right crunch. The dressing is too tangy. The nuts just don’t have adequate toastiness. With “Portland Cooks,” you can inch toward replicating the work of the Rose City’s best chefs and bartenders.
With enticing photographs and an array of recipe difficulty, this guide to Portland’s finest dishes contains 80 recipes from 40 of the city’s eminent restaurants and bars. On top of guidance for the home chef, Centoni provides brief backstories and insight to Portland’s dining scene.
This recipe for Bourbon-Molasses Glazed Chicken with Bitter Greens was created by Multnomah Whiskey Library’s Chef Ben Grossmann. The recipe combines caramel undertones of bourbon with the burnt-sugar flavor of molasses to bring that marriage of spirit and fare any lush home cook desires.
Bourbon-Molasses Glazed Chicken with Bitter Greens
By Chef Ben Grossmann
Juniper brine ingredients:
8 cups water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon whole juniper berries, lightly crushed
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig rosemary
3-4 pounds whole chicken
Bourbon-molasses glaze ingredients:
1/4 cup your favorite local bourbon
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
Bitter greens ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for chicken
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
2 bunches dandelion greens and stems, or 1 small head radicchio, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
1-2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the brine:
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, juniper berries, garlic and rosemary. Heat until sugar and salt dissolve. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. (Brine can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated.)
Cut the chicken into serving pieces (freeze the back and wing tips for making stock, or discard). Place the chicken in a bowl or large ziptop bag. Pour in enough brine to cover. Seal or cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
For the glaze:
Combine the bourbon, molasses and vinegar in a small saucepan set over medium heat and whisk until well combined and bubbling. Remove from the heat and set aside.
For the greens:
Heat the oil and butter in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and sauté for 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Add the dandelion greens or radicchio, sugar and red pepper flakes. Cook until the thickest pieces of the greens are tender and the juices evaporate. Remove from heat, taste, and season with more sugar or salt if desired. (The greens can be made several days ahead and refrigerated. Rewarm or bring to room temperature before serving.)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Set a cooling rack or roasting rack on a baking sheet. Remove the chicken from the brine and discard. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and set skin side up on the rack (no need to add salt, since the chicken has been brined). Brush with glaze. Roast the chicken in the top third of the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thigh is about 130° F to 140° F. Brush with glaze again.
Increase heat to 450°F and roast until the internal temperature of the thigh is 160° F (about 10 more minutes). If the skin isn’t crispy yet, place under the broiler for a few minutes.
Divide chicken and bitter greens among plates. Drizzle with drippings from the baking sheet if desired (be judicious; they’re delicious and flavorful, but a little salty). Serve alongside your favorite starch, such as grits or mashed potatoes.