Ruth Reichl: A New Book And The End Of 'Gourmet'

Ruth Reichl i i

Before she took the helm at Gourmet, Ruth Reichl won two James Beard Awards for her work as restaurant critic for The New York Times. Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
Ruth Reichl

Before she took the helm at Gourmet, Ruth Reichl won two James Beard Awards for her work as restaurant critic for The New York Times.

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Noted food writer Ruth Reichl has served as the editor in chief of Gourmet since 1999. Though corporate parent Conde Nast recently announced that the magazine's last issue will be printed next month, Reichl continues to push culinary boundaries in her latest book Gourmet Today, which was published in Sept. 2009.

Reichl is also the author of the recent memoir, Not Becoming My Mother. Her mother's story is one that she meant to write for years, Reichl has said, but could never find a way to tell it. Once she found her mother's box of letters and notes in a dusty box in the basement, Reichl rediscovered her mother in a way that redefined her own childhood relationship with her.

Reichl has written three other memoirs: Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me with Apples and Garlic and Sapphires. She will be featured in the upcoming PBS program Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth.

Chicken Recipes From 'Gourmet Today'

Spiced Chicken

Serves 4
Active Time: 10 Minutes
Start to Finish: 45 Minutes

Fragrant and deeply savory, this spice rub balances the heat of chili powder and black pepper with the more floral notes of coriander and cinnamon. It jazzes up bland chicken breasts nicely, and legs give even juicier results. The quick pan sauce adds an extra shot of flavor.

2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 chicken breast halves (with skin and bones) or 4 whole chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks separated if desired, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup water

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 450F.

Stir together spices, salt, and 1 tablespoon oil. Rub evenly all over chicken.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch ovenproof heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown chicken, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes.

Turn chicken skin side up, transfer skillet to oven, and roast until just cooked through, 16 to 18 minutes for breasts, about 25 minutes for legs. Transfer to a platter.

Add water to pan and deglaze by boiling over high heat, scraping up brown bits, for 1 minute. Transfer sauce to a bowl and skim off fat.

Serve chicken with sauce on the side.

Chicken Cashew Chili

Serves 6 TO 8
Active Time: 45 MINUTES
Start to Finish: 1 1/2 Hours

A weeknight take on mole ("moh-leh"), the complex Mexican sauce whose most famous ingredient is chocolate, this chili gets much of its resonance from pureed ancho chiles, which lend a rich, sweet, and only mildly hot flavor to the dish. (For more heat, do not remove the ribs or seeds from the anchos.) The ground cashews help thicken the chile puree, while the whole nuts add another textural component.

4 dried ancho chiles
2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock (page 153) or store-bought reduced-sodium broth
1 tablespoon canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) salted roasted cashews
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, rinsed, patted dry, excess fat discarded, and cut into 8 serving pieces
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 (14- to 15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes in juice
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 (19-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

MAKE THE CHILE PUREE: Heat a dry small heavy skillet (not nonstick) over moderate heat until hot. Toast dried chiles, one at a time, pressing down with tongs, for several seconds on each side to make them more pliable. Seed and devein dried chiles; discard stems. Tear dried chiles into pieces and transfer to a blender. Add stock, chipotles, and 12 cup cashews and puree until smooth.

MAKE THE CHILI: Heat oil in a 6- to 7-quart wide heavy pot over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add cumin and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add chicken and stir to coat with onion mixture. Stir in chile puree, 14 cup cilantro, and tomatoes with juice. Bring to a simmer and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a bowl.

Shred meat using two forks; discard bones and skin. Return chicken to pot and stir in chocolate, beans, remaining 1 cup cashews, and remaining 14 cup cilantro. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until chili is heated through and chocolate is melted.

Cook's Note:
The chili can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cool, uncovered, then refrigerate, covered.

Books Featured In This Story

Gourmet Today

More than 1,000 Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen

by Ruth Reichl

Hardcover, 1008 pages | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
Gourmet Today
Subtitle
More than 1,000 Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen
Author
Ruth Reichl

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Not Becoming My Mother

And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way

by Ruth Reichl

Hardcover, 112 pages | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
Not Becoming My Mother
Subtitle
And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way
Author
Ruth Reichl

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

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