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Black pepper (Recipe: Laurie Colwin's roasted pepper chicken)


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That photograph is gorgeous, Lydia! And I love the sound of that Tellicherry pepper.
I associate black pepper with tomato soup. Because although pepper is used in all kinds of Indian spice mixtures, it is never really used by itself, as in the traditional "salt and pepper" seasoning. But the "continental" tomato soup that my mum made did have pepper by itself. It made me sneeze! :)

Well, according to this, I fall under the category of "madman," but I probably knew that already! I'm mad about pepper - I love big chunks of it in my food, and the explosion that happens when you bite into a peppercorn. When the wait staff in a restaurant asks, "Would you like some ground pepper?" I make them grind for so long that they often miss their next order! I'm going to check out the Tellicherry pepper.

So good to see Laurie Colwins name! I adore her cook books and her buttermilk chocolate cake is my go to cake.

Now I have to try this recipe as well!

Love this post.


Nice encouragement to try other kinds of pepper, even the pre-ground stuff. And just when you think you've tried every chicken recipe out there...a few different spices and voila something totally unique.

I love that old phrase and haven't heard it in a long time. The chicken recipe looks fabulous. I have a really silly recipe on my site today - it's for the World Nutella Day challenge. The cupcakes looked awful, but they taste pretty darned good!

Interesting quote, Lydia. Can't imagine life without pepper either ;-) I just recently found some tri-coloured peppers, so that's in my grinder at the moment. It has a bit more kick than the usual ones.

This recipe sounds delicious. I just realised that I ran out of pepper flakes, so that better go on my shopping list.


Great post (as usual), Lydia. Black pepper is one of those ubiquitous staples that many take for granted. When I was in Kerala, India four years ago I found the Pepper Exchange and photographed it...then I spent the next x-many months explaining to people that it's like the TSX/NYSE, but for pepper...


Nupur, I never realized that "salt and pepper," which is ubiquitous in western cooking, is not a common seasoning in authentic Indian cooking. I'll read recipes more carefully now; I'm afraid I put pepper in almost everything.

TW, don't tell anyone, but the madmen are my favorites! I'm a bit of a pepper fanatic, too. Give the Penzeys a try -- they offer four different grinds, and the "coarse", which is the second largest of the four, is my favorite all-purpose pepper now.

Ohiogirl, Laurie Colwin is my role model, as a writer and as a cook.

Paz, thank you.

Callipygia, I know it's crazy to go against the "grind as you go" mandate, but I've been so happy with this particular ground pepper that I don't hesitate to share the idea.

Jen, I'll have to take a look -- I feel completely out of the loop -- I didn't even know it was World Nutella Day!

Nora, I have all the parts of the tricolor pepper mix (pink, green, black -- even white), each one in a separate pepper grinder. Takes up a bit of room on the spice rack, but I love the convenience.

Jasmine, welcome! If ever there were proof that pepper is worth its weight in gold, it would be the fact that there is a Pepper Exchange. How marvelous! I can only imagine the aroma....

I never realized until a couple of years ago how much different blends of peppercorns vary. I think fresh black pepper perks up so many dishes without the negative effects of sodium.

Oops! Just sent in my twice-yearly Penzey's order and didn't include the coarse-ground pepper. But I've always got a big bag of their whole Tellicherry in my pantry. Have you tried Balinese Long Pepper? Found some at Ocean State Job Lot (as Lydia knows, it's a Rhode Island thing...) a while ago. Wonderfully aromatic.

We lost such a wonderful cook and writer and person when Laurie Colwin died so young. Anyone ever tried her recipe for Katherine Hepburn's Brownies? The best!

I so enjoyed her book. she has such entertaining anecdotes. One of my favorites is when she had someone ( I forget who it is now) to bring her home double cream.

Hi Lydia -- I've long been an admirer of yours. Even longer have I been an admirer of the late, beloved Laurie Colwin. I've always wanted to make the pepper chicken (I'm a devotee of Telicherry, myself) along with the polenta and broccoli rabe in her original recipe. Maybe your post will get me to do just that.

I often make her incredibly crunchy baked chicken with the mustard and breadcrumbs, although I don't bake it for QUITE as long as she recommended. Have you ever tried it?

As always, a very informative and entertaining post! I like copious amounts of pepper, but from the sounds of things, I get the impression I haven't had the good stuff yet. I'll have to keep an eye out for it...

Susan, I've definitely become a pepper junkie, probably around the same time I started cutting back on salt. I'm still learning about and experimenting with peppers.

Fran, I'm off to Job Lot right now, to see if they still have some of that pepper! I have made the brownies -- delicious. Laurie Colwin's kind of cooking really inspires me.

Veron, the piece that got me hooked on Laurie Colwin was the one about her batterie de cuisine -- two of everything, two pots, two pans, two knives. She was so right.

Julie, thank you and welcome to The Perfect Pantry. I've never made the polenta and rabe that are part of her recipe, at least not in the way she describes (or doesn't really describe!). I haven't tried the baked chicken with breadcrumbs, but that's now on my list.

Mike, I love loads of pepper, and I'm always amazed when I watch people in my cooking classes season so tentatively. I'm always saying, "more, more!"

big fan of pepper....Gattina sent be wonderful peppercorns from Barcelona. I haven't opened the bottle yet...this recipe may be the reason I do! Fabulous pics - mouthwatering!

Tellicherry pepper is fantastic. We used to be like you and only swear by freshly ground pepper, but luckily we have discovered alternatives that are equally wonderful. You're absolutely right about pepper, "more, more!".

Chris, isn't it wonderful to get gifts of food from blogging friends?! I'd love to know how your Spanish pepper compares to the Indian peppercorns.

White on Rice Couple, as I've become more confident in the kitchen -- and more confident of my own knowledge -- I don't mind admitting that I buy ground pepper. I buy from a great source, and I love the flavor and texture of the Penzeys pepper. And because of that, I find that I use pepper more and more.

I'm an enormous fan of Laurie Colwin's writing and have read and re-read Home Cooking and More Home Cooking many times. I've never made this chicken though which is surprising because it's completely my sort of thing. Thanks! This is a good reminder.

I think my kitchen would kind of collapse without pepper. I too have a few different sorts of peppercorns that I love crushing fresh whenever I need. I recently bought a grinder and filled it with a mix of green, red, black and white peppercorns. I love the mixture! The chicken just sounds super peppery!

Julie, same here. I just love her writing, and even though I've read her other books, it's the food writing I keep coming back to. She had an extraordinary way of making her readers feel relaxed in the kitchen.

Meeta, for as many types of salt in my pantry, I actually have far more kinds of pepper. It's nice to fill your own pepper grinder with mixed peppercorns -- that way you can get just the mix you like, instead of buying it premixed.

Wow, what an honor to be featured here, my dear friend! You should see the size of my smile. :)

When I bought my pepper grinder (in Paris) I loved the pepper that came with it. It was strong and smelled wonderful.
After I used it all, I refilled the grinder with Brazilian pepper and it was, indeed, milder than the other one I used.

Patricia, the pepper you bought in Paris must have been one of the nice Indian varieties. For me it was a revelation the first time I tasted really good pepper. It had such personality! Now I really think of pepper as an ingredient, instead of an add-on.

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