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A Recipe From Nikki Giovanni

by admin

Good morning. I’ll get to the corned beef (above) I made for tacos soon enough — corning’s my new pandemic jam — but my pal Elizabeth Harris has a lovely interview in The Times this week with the poet Nikki Giovanni, 77, whose 19th collection of poems, “Make Me Rain,” came out this fall. In the course of their discussion, Giovanni told Liz about the butter-fried chicken she makes for dinner sometimes. That recipe didn’t make it into the interview, but I asked Liz to see if Giovanni would share with the rest of us.

She would and it wasn’t so much a recipe as a no-recipe recipe, right in line with the ones we often publish in this space on Wednesdays, and it results in excellent chicken:

I’m a Southern cook so I use whatever is around. Cut the chicken up or if you are lucky and working purchase wings. There is no such thing as too much butter. A half stick is usually good, though. Put a couple of cloves of garlic in the skillet to let them simmer. I like to rub the wings with ginger but I forgot to tell you a shake or two of nutmeg really helps. If summer, get your rosemary from the garden or your tarragon or whatever is green growing. Do not roll a lot of flour on them. Just enough to cover then shake off. Do not batter them. You are not, after all, a chef trying to stretch your money.

Cook that floured chicken slowly, Giovanni emphasized. “If you don’t have time to slowly fry,” she wrote, “then remember the old blues song: ‘Come back tomorrow and try it again.’”

Try it for dinner and see if it doesn’t suit. I think it’s delicious, warm and fragrant, and excellent paired with rice and beans.

But the corned beef! (Pastrami’s next.) The process is slow and restorative — I think of it as a meat sourdough, esthetically — and the difference between what you’ll end up with and what’s available at the supermarket during the St. Patrick’s season is extreme. I’d urge you to set yourself up with one this week, to enjoy on, say, Christmas Eve. (Other Christmas recipes are here.)

As for this week: There’s Giovanni’s chicken. Also, these chile-oil noodles with scallions. And this tomato rice with crispy Cheddar. I love this sheet-pan fish with sweet peppers. Likewise, this warm spinach salad with pancetta and fried eggs.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes to try this week waiting for you on NYT Cooking. Go see what you can find. You can save the recipes you want to cook. And you can rate the ones you’ve made. You can leave notes on them, as well, if you want to remember a hack or substitution you made, or if you want to share it with your fellow subscribers.

Yes, you do need to be a subscriber to do that, and to enjoy the breadth of what we have to offer. Subscriptions support the work that we do. They allow it to continue. If you haven’t already, I hope you will subscribe to NYT Cooking today. Thanks.

And we’ll be standing by to help, should something go wrong along the way, either with your cooking or our technology. Just write: cookingcare@nytimes.com. Someone will get back to you. (Don’t write that address if you’re angry, though. Reserve your ire for me: foodeditor@nytimes.com. I read every letter sent.)

Now, it’s nothing to do with steel-cut oats or twice-cooked duck, but it’s been 20 years since the Dandy Warhols released “Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia.” Here’s “Horse Pills” from that album.

In Tablet, Leah Koenig has an excellent story about the chef and author Rozanne Gold, an early American proponent of Israeli cuisine who, Koenig argues, has never really gotten her due. I hope you’ll read it.

Gingberbread news: Our Erin McDowell will be on @nytcooking IG Live at 5 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, Dec. 20, to assemble and decorate her gingerbread houses. Bake your cookie pieces in advance, ready your decorations, and join Erin in real time for tips and ideas as you build. Here’s the recipe for the gingerbread. Here’s the printable template for making the pieces. And here’s the primer video on YouTube.

Finally, in Outside, here’s Jessie Williamson on how eBird has changed the ethics of birding. It’s fascinating. I’ll be back on Friday.

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