Chicken Espanola

Bistro on the Go (http://www.bistroonthego.com/) is a personal chef service that opened on Cape Cod in the spring of 2011.  Behind the cute logo is a personal chef named Peggy Eagan, who owns the business. “Basically, I’m a lawyer who likes to eat and loves to cook,” she says with a smile.  “I’ve always loved being in the kitchen, cooking, and feeding people.  When I was growing up with my family in Mexico, cooking and eating were a big part of the culture. My grandmother taught me to appreciate fresh ingredients, as well as the art of cooking those ingredients in a way that nourished the body and soul.” 

Indeed, there is a lot of talent underlying her humble roots.  Although Peggy would someday like to own a restaurant, becoming a personal chef/caterer has given her a way to combine her passion for cooking, with a way to work with people on a more personal basis through food.  “It’s exciting to work with individual clients to create food that is designed to satisfy their personal needs,” Peggy said,  “Every client is different, which has really helped me grow as a chef.  I conduct a personal interview with each client to determine what they like to eat and how often they will need my service.  Then, I customize recipes and design  a custom menu that satisfy their needs and desires.  On the designated day, I shop for fresh ingredients and prepare healthy dinners for my clients in their own home.  All my clients enjoy a break from not having to spend their time shopping, cooking or cleaning up the kitchen.  Some clients schedule my service for special occasions and other rely on me for weeknight meal preparation during busy days.    Flexibility is very important to me and my clients.”

What kind of people become her clients?  Peggy is adamant that  personal chefs are not just for the rich and famous.  “My clients range from busy professionals to families-on-the-go, who want to eat home-cooked dinners.  I always love working with vacationers, who really want to sit back and enjoy the bounty that the Cape has to offer.” 

Over the past year, Bistro On The Go has expanded to include other services in addition to weeknight meal preparation.  “I’ve been catering dinner parties and cocktail parties,” the chef states. “ I love parties because I get to cook more complicated menus—sometimes with a special theme.  Because I’m doing all the work, my clients can enjoy mingling with their guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen,” Peggy added. “I also offer private cooking classes for individuals or groups.  I admit – I’m a foodie.  I’m an adventurous eater and I do a good deal of research on food.  I love to share what I learn with others.  Bistro On The Go has really allowed me to pursue my passion for cooking and food.”   Indeed, her business has grown over the past year and she is expanding into more catered events.

                                                  Chicken Espanola

 Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 ½ – 3 lbs chicken pieces with skin and bone intact, washed and patted dry

2 tbs olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large white or Spanish onion, sliced
1 shallot, minced

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 canned crushed tomatoes
½ cup pimento stuffed olives, sliced and set aside 1/8 cup of olive brine

½ cup raisins or currents
1 bay leaf

½ cup sherry
1 cup chicken stock

Salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Large chicken breast halves should be quartered for even cooking.  Set aside.

In an ovenproof deep sauté pan or heavy-bottomed pot (with a lid), heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Working 3 to 4 chicken pieces at a time, sear chicken for 2 minutes on each side, or until chicken develops a golden brown crust. Set aside seared chicken pieces. 

Lower heat to medium and add onions and shallots.  Cook until softened.  Add garlic and cook until the smell of the garlic fills the pot.  Add tomatoes, olives, raisins, bay leaf, sherry and chicken stock.  Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.  Allow it to come back up to a simmer.  Add chicken pieces into sauce.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the chicken pieces.  Bake for an addition 15 to 20 minutes uncovered. 

Serve over white rice or polenta for a hearty meal.

Buen provecho!

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