Monday, February 10, 2014

Ragu of Chicken and Chorizo with Mozarella Mashed Potatoes Canadian Food Experience Project

I think we can all agree, it's been a cold winter - but such is the sacrifice of living in a country as vast and wild as Canada! We, the hearty spirits of the great white north (take off eh?) are fortunate to live in a country that by its very essence is defined not just by the weather, but by diversity.

It is a country of vast prairies, lush forests, mountains, rivers, oceans and tundra. Yet it is also home to world class cities, the arts, commerce, and culture. People have settled here on the traditional lands of Canada's Indigenous people from all over the world, and though the debt of gratitude owed our First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people is not even close to having been paid, we are thankful in this country - Canada - to be a cultural mosaic in the truest sense of the word.

Though we come from all over, we are encouraged to maintain and celebrate our cultural identity and to share it with others. As such, today's post is a part of this month's Canadian Food Experience Project which celebrates my Canadian Love Affair.

I am in love with this country - maybe even more so right now as the olympics are on - and I am in love with the man I married almost 24 years ago.To honour both, I have created a dish that is warming and romantic to serve with a nice glass of wine in front of the fire on a cold winter night.

A dish that is also a love song to my family on both sides who settled in Canada so long ago. The slow braised ragu of chicken, olives, and chorizo sausage pays homage to Spanish roots on my grandfather's side and is so full of flavour and comfort I know my great great grandmother would be proud.

Seasoned with paprika, garlic, and a hint of cayenne pepper, the ragu perfectly matches the potatoes I chose to serve it on. Though I thought about matching the dish with polenta or pasta, out of respect for the Irish blood ever pumping through my veins, I decided to pair this with the sturdy, and always glorious potato. And am I ever glad I did!

 And not just any potatoes either. These fluffy clouds of yumminess are infused with roasted garlic and finished with mozzarella cheese. Together with the ragu, the combination makes for one heck of a Valentines day romance!

Serve with a gorgeous tossed salad and a nice Spanish wine and you've got the makings for a Canadian love affair where ever you are! Just don't forget to say "Oh Canada" when you toast the cook!

For an extra treat, serve my spinach and onion quick bread on the side!

Cook along with me in my kitchen with today's easy to follow step by step video.

Visit the printable recipe here: Ragu of Chicken and Chorizo Mozarella Mashed Potatoes

Prep time: 30 mins/cook time 90 mins/serves 6

For the Ragu
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large bone in chicken breasts
  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (you can also use bone in)
  • 1/4 tsp each garlic salt and black pepper mixed together
  • 1 cup diced pre-cooked Spanish chorizo sausage
  • 1/2 cup sliced green manzanilla olives
  • 1 onion sliced into thin rings
  • 1 red pepper chopped and de-seeded
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 1 796 ml (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
For the Potatoes
  • 4 large, or 6 medium, russet potatoes that have been peeled and quartered
  • 1 whole head of garlic
  • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Ragu
  1. Sprinkle the chicken with the garlic salt and pepper mixture.
  2. Saute the onion and red pepper in the olive oil over medium high heat until the vegetables begin to soften. 
  3. Add the chicken and brown to a gentle golden on both sides.
  4. Add the diced chorizo, olives, and garlic. Add the red wine scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the flavour and let it reduce until the alcohol is cooked off.
  5. Add the tomatoes, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and the bay leaf. Stir, cover, and turn heat to a low simmer. Let simmer for 90 minutes stirring occasionally and turning the chicken over once.
For the Potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove as much of the outer paper from the head of garlic as possible while leaving the heads intact. Slice off the tops (1/4-inch to 1/2-inch). Drizzle olive oil over the exposed garlic, and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, add 1 teaspoon salt, cover with cold water. Bring the to a boil, and then simmer the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Warm the milk and melt the butter together in the microwave. Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the potatoes and begin mashing. Add the milk and butter and mash until the potatoes are fluffy.
  4. Fold in the cheese
  5. Taste for salt and pepper and add some if needed.
Serve the ragu over the potatoes and enjoy!


Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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