REVIEW: Lorraine Wallace’s new cookbook “Mr. Sunday’s Saturday Night Chicken”

I received my copies of Lorraine Wallace’s new cookbook Mr. Sunday’s Saturday Night Chicken.  I wrote about it here.  I had ordered a couple copies for myself as a gift to my father, to whom I gave an autographed copy of the first book.  Mr. Sunday refers to Chris Wallace, whose news-talk show is on Sunday mornings.

I gave the book a good scan before I send them off for some signatures.

The recipies deals mainly with chicken but has entries for other common poultry. There are a few for turkey, duck, goose, pheasant and quail. There is a section in the back for side dishes (they look good). The writer incorporated also recipes from friends and from restaurants and inspired by restaurants.

If you can get a couple good recipes out of a cookbook which you can really get good at and have in your back pocket, the cookbook has been worth your time and money.  The same goes for cooking magazines.  I try to try one recipe from each issue.

I was amused to find a credit for “food styling” and “prop styling”.   Not all the recipes have photos.

There are a couple features which make the book useful and which you will appreciate.  For example, the table of contents shows that the book is divided into recipes for the four seasons.  There are also sections for Family and Friends, Two-by-Two, and Game Day.  She says that her children urged her to add the Two-by-Two section, which is for quick recipes for two chicken breasts or cutlets and simple ingredients.

She provides a key to categorizing the entries so that you can see quickly the applicability of the recipe for your purposes:

$ for economical entries
Boneless, Skinless
Rotisserie Chicken (with a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
Good For Company
Family Favorite
One Pot
Veggie (with an option to eliminate the chicken!)

20120522-195812.jpgThe appropriate “keys” appear at the top of each entry under its title.

I like a note she adds in the intro about the recipes being guidelines: “It’s no use driving yourself crazy running to the store when the recipe calls for a red bell pepper and all you have is a green bell pepper.”

There could be a bit more margin space on some of the recipes, for the sake of notes. I add my own observations and also the dates I make things.

There is a Chicken 101 section as well (how to choose, cut up, clean, etc., terms such as “free-range” v. “farm-raised”). There is an index.

I like the fact that there are Wallace family and friend notes and elements too. Eating together, with family and friends, is important.  At the bottom of the front cover we read: “More than 100 Delicious, Homemade Recipes to Bring Your Family Together.”

20120522-195848.jpgThere are recipes that reflect various ethnic influences.  Also, through these are “homemade” recipes, she doesn’t shy from taking some helpful shortcuts, as in using the aforementioned rotisserie chicken, or pre-made store-bought polenta, and so forth.

Her treatment of Coq au vin looks like a classic approach though stream-lined in comparison with my usual choice of Julia Child’s amazing recipe, which breaks down some of Wallace’s steps.  There are a couple veal recipes which are adapted, such as Chicken Marengo and also Saltimbocca.  After years in Rome I am intimately familiar with Saltimbocca, a favorite of mine.  I also make it often.  The idea of using chicken in the place of veal makes my adoptive Roman blood run a little cold, but my wallet might appreciate less strain.  She suggests a lemon sauce for this, which leads me to wonder if she couldn’t decide between Saltimbocca and scalopine al limone.  There is also a “Bolognese” sauce with turkey, for use with polenta rather than pasta.  A little dodgy, but … change the name and the purist in me won’t revolt.   Don’t get me wrong, the recipe looks pretty good.  I also have no qualms, for example, about a Meat Loaf recipe with turkey.

Since it is also a special year for Charles Dickens, I note with interest that she included a recipe for goose called “Dickens’ Christmas Goose”, which has an orange glaze which strikes me as being sweet.  I have in the past preferred a more savory approach to goose and my non-adopted-Roman Teutonic blood expects sauerkraut with it.  Since goose can be pretty greasy, I like a bit of acid to counterbalance the meat.  Sauerkraut is near perfection for goose, in my humble opinion.  When winter rolls back around, perhaps I will have to make a goose to precede the Christmas Pudding.

In any event, I have spotted half a dozen entries I think I will try for sure.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    I agree that if you can get 2-3 good “utility” recipes out of a cookbook, it’s a bargain.
    My cookbook collection has taken over a kitchen cabinet. Some are duds, but most are pretty useful.
    My go-to book for everyday is still Irma Rombauer’s old Joy of Cooking. I love Julia Child’s 2 volume masterpiece, but it’s too time-consuming for anything but full-dress, high-toned, priest-to-dinner meals.

  2. Timothy Mulligan says:

    Book book.

  3. The Sicilian Woman says:

    What do the duck recipes look like? Sweet, sour, hot or spicy seasonings and glazes?

    I have a frozen duck in that I’ll be roasting in the next couple of weeks. Preparing duck correctly is a challenge because it’s so fatty, and this will be my first time doing so. I’ve figured out the seasoning, but I’m debating whether the glaze should include fruit, wine, or both.

  4. Sicilian: There is, for example, a simplified Peking Duck recipe.

  5. Pastor in Valle says:

    Try the Saltimbocca with turkey steaks, rather than chicken; the texture is much better. Here I make a robust version , using rashers of bacon and the turkey with the sage leaves (bruised first) in between. Wrap in cling film (=Saran wrap) and beat till quite thin. Dip both sides in seasoned flour, then fry in butter and olive oil with dried sage. Keep warm while you deglaze with white wine, to make the sauce. I like to serve with sauté potatoes and spinach.

  6. Pastor in Valle says:

    Perhaps I should add that here in the UK our veal is older and redder than in Italy, much more like beef, so really turkey is a better approximation than our own veal.

  7. The Sicilian Woman says:

    Simplified Peking Duck? I’m there! Thanks for the heads-up, Father.

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