It’s time for something very different this week – although I’m not sure I can get much different than the chicken and marzipan pie. But I digress. This blog is essentially about recreating old recipes, but I also collect a different type of recipe book, and now we are going to venture into movie star territory with one of my many cookbooks written by actors.
I was delighted to notice, this passing week, that a remake is in the works of “The Magnificent Seven“. The original is a personal favourite of mine, partly because it stars the late great Yul Brynner.
Proving once and for all that toupées are for chumps.
In between starring in a range of excellent movies and playing the King of Siam 4625 times on stage (for the musical The King and I), Brynner penned a cookbook. He called it “Food Fit For the King and You”, because of course he did. The book was published in 1983 and was a collaboration between Brynner and Susan Reed(1).
Brynner’s family background was a mixture of Swiss, German, Russian and Mongolian culture. During his formative years he lived in Russia, China and Paris, as well as on the road with Romani people in France, before emigrating to the USA at the age of 20. All of this gave him a hard-to-pin-down accent and a range of interesting recipes to put down in his book. Brynner’s cookbook has chapters for Russian, Japanese, Gypsy, Swiss, Chinese and French cuisine to reflect his background, and a final chapter on Thai food because playing the King of Thailand in 4625 performance had to have an impact.
Today’s recipe is from the chapter on Gypsy food: zucchini chicken.
I made a double serving, so this is really twice what you need.
I had to start by figuring out what a broiler was in this context – I just knew it was a sort of chicken. But it turns out a broiler is also called a salamander, and my oven is equipped with one. I’ve even used it a few times. So start by spicing and broiling your chicken. I had a bit too much chicken to get it all done evenly, but a bit of turning and shifting of chicken breasts did the trick. While the chicken is broiling, chop the vegetables.
Don’t throw onion peel away – you can dye yarn with it! Better yet, bring it to me so I can dye yarn with it.
This recipe is chock-full of healthy vegetables! It makes up for all the butter and sugar I use while baking.
Spread the vegetables over the chicken, pour over some chicken stock, and pop it back in the oven, heated to 175 C. The recipe says one hour, but I forgot it in there for a bit longer. Not to worry, the finished product was very pretty, especially after I sprinkled some more fresh oregano on it. It was all worth it to hear my older daughter exclaim, “But moooom, I HATE zucchini!”
“All that’s what’s on top. What’s underneath?”
I opted not to make gravy, although there would have been plenty of liquid to work with. Instead we just ate it with some cooked barley. Appropriately enough, we watched “The Magnificent Seven” with dinner.
(1) Susan Reed is a common enough name and I found at least a singer and a US district attorney by that name. Goodreads lists several books by Susan Reed. I’m going to go ahead and assume that she also wrote “Delicious Recipes: 55 Cast Iron Cooking Recipes For Healthy and Hearty Meals”, but probably not “The Body Snatchers: A Real Alien Conspiracy”. Although now I want to read that cook book.