Every New Yorker knows that this time of the year is not exactly the Hamptons’ finest.
A good alternative? Atlantic City. But obviously, you can’t just book any run-of-the-mill hotel. You want something that’s topnotch—a place that’ll indulge every whim. And Atlantic City’s Water Club hotel (Borgata’s chill boutique hotel) is your best bet. With its great dining options, luxurious spa, retail shops, and indoor pool, the Water Club will leave you wanting for nothing. You literally won’t feel the need to leave the premises. And get this: Its culinary lifestyle consultant is Geoffrey Zakarian of Iron Chef fame, so even its in-room dining menu is first rate. Think truffled fries, octopus à la plancha, a killer sirloin burger, and the perfect egg dish—oeufs au plat.
So go ahead and make that Water Club reservation. It’d make for a good winter weekend getaway. We guarantee it. In the meantime, enjoy two of Zakarian’s recipes—from his latest cookbook, My Perfect Pantry.
CHICKEN VINEGAR WITH CINNAMON CANDY
3 lbs. small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 slice bacon, finely chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
½ c. balsamic vinegar
½ c. cider vinegar
3 ripe plum tomatoes; cored, seeded, and chopped (about 1 ½ c.)
1 c. chicken stock
2 tbsp. golden raisins
1 tsp. hard cinnamon candies, tied in cheesecloth
2 tbsp. (¼ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1. Pat the chicken very dry and season with salt. Heat a large shallow Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until the skin is crisp and golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, about 2 minutes more. Remove the chicken to a plate.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the bacon. Cook and stir until the bacon renders its fat and crisps, about 2 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Cook until shallots are wilted, about 3 minutes.
3. Pour in both vinegars, raise the heat to high, and cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, raisins, and candies. Adjust the heat so the sauce simmers and then add the chicken skin side up. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Uncover and simmer rapidly for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce. Discard the cinnamon candies. Remove the chicken and arrange on a serving platter. Whisk the butter into the sauce, pour over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley, then serve.
DIRTY RICE WITH PINE NUTS AND BLACK PEPPER
Serves six as a side; four as a main
1 c. wild rice
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 links hot Italian sausage (about 5 oz.); casings removed
4 oz. chicken liver, trimmed and finely chopped
1 c. pine nuts
½ c. finely chopped onion
½ c. finely chopped celery
½ c. finely chopped green bell pepper
1 c. chopped scallions (use white and green parts)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ c. chicken stock
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the wild rice. Simmer, uncovered, until the grains begin to split and the rice is tender but still a little chewy, 40 to 45 minutes. (Brands of wild rice differ in cooking times, so start checking after 30 minutes). Drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the sausage. Cook and crumble with a wooden spoon until the sausage is browned all over, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken liver. Cook and stir until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the pine nuts and toss to coat in the oil. Cook and stir until toasted, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the scallions, thyme, black pepper, and drained wild rice. Pour in the stock and cook until it’s absorbed, about 3 minutes.