Christmas night was a fun one for our little Jewish family. Julie came over and we cooked one of our favorite Emeril Lagasse gourmet meals, Italian Chicken with New Orleans Spaghetti Bordelaise, along with Cheese Bread, a specialty of Julie’s. We took photos of the process for all you food hounds out there, and sprinkled in some extras just for fun. You will get the recipes in snippets around my photos, but if you want to print it out in its entirety, click here.

First, a warning: Pay close attention to the amounts of garlic in each of the two seperate recipes, and know the difference between a head of garlic and a clove of garlic. Trust me. I found out the hard way, made the same mistakes more than once, and spent more nights than I care to remember sweating my way to morning, wishing I could get the garlic out of my system!

First, the ingredients for Italian Chicken:
12 chicken thighs (we use chicken breasts, though)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 HEADS garlic, cloves separated and peeled (we use only about three for this part)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups white wine
3 lemons, quartered
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley

If you’re at all familiar with Emeril (and even if you’re not), it would be appropriate at this point to start practicing your shouting of “BAM!”:

Say a few “Aww yeah, Babe’s”, and let’s get started.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken in a large bowl and lightly coat with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Crush half of the garlic cloves with the back of a heavy knife. Leave the remaining cloves whole.

Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a roasting pan large enough to hold the chicken in 1 layer, over 2 burners over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides.

Start getting your other ingredients ready!

Add the crushed garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients, stirring well to evenly distribute. Cover the pan tightly and roast for 1 hour.

While that is cooking, it’s a good idea to do something that will keep the natives from becoming restless, like playing a rousing game of Spongebob Squarepants Monopoly.

Make sure that the dog is sitting in someone’s lap; she wants to play, too!

While you’re waiting for your turn to move your “Plankton” game piece, make sure the dog gets nice and relaxed…

Wait for it…

…And then taunt her so she will show her faux viciousness.

Back to the recipe!
Uncover and roast until the chicken is brown and tender, and the garlic is caramelized, about 30 minutes, basting occasionally.

In the meantime, start making the cheese bread. Take an italian loaf and make cross cuts all over the top part of it. Slice up about 8-12 ounces of swiss cheese (depending on how big your loaf of bread is) and stuff the bread with the slices. By the way, this baby is getting ready to take a “bath”, so make sure you’ve wrapped it securely in foil and place it on a cookie sheet so you don’t start a fire in the oven!

Put the following in a saucepan: 1 stick of butter, 1 tablespoon of dry mustard, a bit of lemon juice and about 1/2 cup chopped shallots. (Julie will correct me if this is wrong!)

Melt that goodness all up and the dump it ceremoniously over the bread.

Bake the bread at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, or until all that good stuff is nice and melty.

Now it’s time to start getting ready for the N.O. Spaghetti Bordelaise. Here are your ingredients:
2 pounds dried spaghetti
1/2 cup olive oil
8 CLOVES garlic, minced
1/2 cup green onions
2 tablespoons white wine
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and green onions and cook, stirring, until fragrant and starting to turn golden, about 2 minutes.

Add the wine, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the butter and parsley and cook for 2 minutes.

Return the drained spaghetti to the pot. Add the sauce, to taste, and toss well to coat.

Place in a large serving bowl and coat with the Parmesan.

Remove chicken from the oven.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and sprinkle with the parsley, OR serve over the pasta, which is what we do! Spoon the pan juices over the chicken, or serve on the side.

BAM! You’re done! EAT!

We’re not that great at plating, but boy did it taste good!