On Valentine’s Day—in fact, on any day!—candy is dandy but chocolate is nonpareil. Several years ago, it was the special ingredient in the Almanac’s Reader Recipe Contest, and we received a flood of entries. The first recipe here is one of the winners. Following it are chocolate recipes from the February Monthly that are near and dear to our sweet hearts.
Chicken in Chocolate Sauce Piquante
1 chicken, cut into four pieces
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon wedge
½ teaspoon peppercorns
1 dried chile pepper
3 whole cloves
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 clove garlic, minced
1 piece (1 inch long) fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup brewed coffee
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 squares (4 ounces total) semisweet chocolate
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 4 teaspoons cold water
For chicken: In a soup pot, cover the chicken with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, covered. Remove, rinse with cold water, cool, and pat dry. Rub with the butter and sprinkle with flour and black pepper. Squeeze the lemon wedge over the chicken pieces.
Grill or broil the chicken pieces 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned, turning frequently.
For sauce: Grind the peppercorns, chile pepper, and cloves together in a small mill or with mortar and pestle.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic, ginger and onion, then stir, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the ground peppercorns, chile pepper, and cloves. Stir, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and coffee. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain the sauce, discarding the solids. Put the liquid into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the molasses, tomato paste, and brown sugar and stir. Add the chocolate 1 ounce at a time, stirring constantly until dissolved. Add the cornstarch and continue stirring for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
Arrange the cooked chicken on a plate. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve hot. Makes 4 servings.