Happy Mondays

A new cookbook celebrates Campanile's family-night menus

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If you've even went to the late Campanile for fried chicken or beef bourguignonne on Monday nights, you know just how good a family-style feast can be in the hands of chef Mark Peel. And now with his cookbook, New Classic Family Dinners, his kitchen secrets are at your fingertips.

When Peel started the family-style dinners, he went back to comfort-food classics like bacon-wrapped meatloaf and "continental" standards like chicken à la king.

"These dishes fell out of style because they were overused and overdone...and done badly," says Peel. "I wanted to find what made them great to begin with."

Start by using the best ingredients, which can make even tuna-noodle casserole–made with tuna confit and Gruyère cheese–stand out. That's his philosophy throughout the whole book, which contains more than 200 recipes from his home and restaurant repertoire: everything from Bolognese sauce to lobster Newburg and Boston cream pie.

Peel's fried chicken, still one of Campanile's most popular Monday-night specials, is as traditional as can be, marinated in buttermilk overnight, tossed in seasoned flour and fried in lard in a cast-iron skillet (click here to download the recipe).

The chicken is perfectly crisp on the outside and crunchy, sweet and tender on the inside. "It's easy but messy to make," says Peel. "But that's great home cooking."