Recipe by Victor Jimenez, executive chef, Cowboy Star.
The idea for Cowboy Star came from my partner Jon. When he told me this idea, I was taken aback at first. Then he started to describe it. It’s based on the Hollywood icons — the cowboy stars. There are no cows or haybales. Jon wanted to create a place where the big cowboy movie stars would hang out.
I based the menu on Gene Autry and John Wayne — I always imagined them after the movie set, hunting and looking for wild game or eating big chops. I imagined what they would be eating and what they would be doing with their free time. I didn’t know — for all I knew they were vegetarians — but I created a menu on what spoke to me from the screen. I was back East and noticed that each neighborhood had a deli and a meat market, so now we have an old-style butcher shop in the restaurant too. We have certified humane and Prime beef, and all of our poultry comes from certified farms. It’s free-range or organic. We get fresh meat in the morning and can butcher it and talk about what’s coming in the evening for the menu.
Because I am around so much meat, I eat different things at home. We do a lot of seafood. My significant other and I like to play with different ideas — we do a French picnic or cook with my girls (aged 6 and 7). We make pizza with the girls with Trader Joe’s dough. I take them to Henry’s and Trader Joe’s and talk to them about pre-pack and organic. We do Italian dinner or we go have a Mexican night with taco salad. We rotate with different things to introduce them to a new lettuce or a new vegetable. When we have friends or family over, what we have depends on who is coming. We have seafood or sometimes braised chicken, which is great for winter nights.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 red bell peppers, 2 yellow bell peppers
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
4 chicken drumsticks, 4 chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1 small sweet onion halved and thinly sliced
1 celery rib cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 small carrots cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves halved
1 cup of dry white wine
1-1/2 cups of low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 pound of large Italian olives
1 tablespoon of chopped Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
How to Do It
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub the peppers with about a tablespoon of olive oil or until coated. Roast on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes. Let peppers cool and then peel off and discard the skin. Slice peppers into 1/2-inch strips.
Bring the oven temperature down to 350 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, (almost smoking) add the chicken, skin side down. Reduce the heat to medium and brown the chicken on both sides (about 10 minutes).
Transfer the chicken to a roasting pan and discard all but two tablespoons of oil from the skillet. Add 75 percent of the onions and all of the celery, carrots, and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium heat for five minutes, until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the white wine to the vegetable mixture and let cook for a minute. Transfer the vegetable mixture in the skillet to the roasting pan with the chicken. Add the chicken stock, cover the roasting pan with foil, and roast in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes. When the meat is ready, it should easily come off the bone.
Use one tablespoon of olive oil and cook the remaining onion until translucent. Add the peppers and olives and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the chicken from the roasting pan to a serving platter. Add the onion-and-pepper mixture to the sauce and vegetables in the roasting pan. Mix well and add parsley and thyme leaves. Using a large spoon, ladle the vegetables and sauce over the chicken and enjoy with some baguette and a good glass of pinot noir. Bon appetit!