Saturday, August 15, 2015

And We'll Have Fun - Chicken with Shallots

You know what fun is?  Fun is seeing a recipe on the internet, and knowing what you are making for dinner tomorrow, because you've got all the ingredients in the house.  Okay, so your definition of fun is different from mine - stipulated.  Look, with the weather and my mood, I've sort have been confined to the house.  Fun is a relative term.                                   

Fun is also when Chelsea takes a selfie

I love Andrew Zimmern.  I don't love the same foods he loves; heck, who does?  Stinky tofu, deep fried gonads, rotting fish that happen to pee through their skin (skate, anybody?), greasy grimy gopher guts, maggot-infested cheese, crunchy insects - not for me.  But this recipe, which is entitled "Rishia (wife of Andrew) Zimmern's Chicken with Shallots" involves nary an insect.  Instead, the list of ingredients is so appealing, I started pulling chicken thighs out of the freezer and checking on the condition of the shallots on the counter (you don't refrigerate shallots) and the cherry tomatoes on the vine.  I am so planning this for tomorrow.

I know there are a hell of a lot of people who don't cook or won't cook. I guess I don't get it, but that's what makes horse races.  I hate to shop, I can't run or exercise, I am hopeless with a sewing machine, I don't get cosplay or cute crafts, and I can't decorate a house. I am definitely not the most interesting person in the world.

But an interesting recipe is a great find, and I think I found it.

Day 3 of the new medication - too soon to know if it is going to do the job, but I feel a little better - and a lot less angry - possibly as a result of being off the preceding pharmacological fubar for several days.  I am becoming a hermit, which I think I get from my grandmother, which she got from her father, my great-grandfather Charles Albert.  I told you I come from a long line of short, chubby, depressed Jewish women - I really should have opened the list to include my great-grandpa.  Oh, but that's a whole other blog post, maybe more than one.

First row, second from the left - "Prince" Albert

I still cannot go to the office.  I don't know what that is all about; I did nothing wrong.  I got sick, damn it. Everyone was very kind and helpful while I was spiraling out of control, so why am I afraid to go up there to say hello and pick up a few things?  I wonder if Grandpa Albert was afraid?  He lived in his little world - the music store, the room in back of the store where he lived with his dog - and that was it. Here is a man who was a musician, who had, at least on one memorable occasion, played his clarinet for the Czar of all Russias, had sailed the deep blue seas, one step ahead of the Cossacks, to the New World, where he opened a business and raised a passel of kids.  Surely at some point during his long life - he was 83 when he was killed during a robbery in his store - he must have been an outgoing and fearless man?  When did that change?  Why did that change?  Oh hell, I can't figure out why this is happening to me much less understand my great-grandpa. (Actually, I'm pretty sure he was in the early stages on senile dementia, same as what my grandmother went through.)

The hell with this, there are bigger things going on in the world.  The U.S. Embassy just reopened in Havana.  The Donald is still Numero Uno of the Republican candidates. Yes, we all must be taking crazy pills.  Dr. Ben Carson is rising up in the polls; the media is already honing in for the attack. Too bad, I like Dr. Carson. Hillary is well ahead of Bernie Sanders in the polls in Iowa.  Bernie, poor Bernie. A self-proclaimed socialist who also just happens to be Jewish - you have as much a chance of winning the Democratic nomination as Anakin Skywalker (who probably has better name recognition).

The Next President turns his back on me

I know that some polls, which are focusing on "truthfulness" and "trustworthiness" have noted (with glee; remember, I watch Fox News) that Hillary is losing numbers; people don't trust her.  To which I say, so what?  We the People do not expect our political leaders, including the President, to be truthful. Why? Because they never are. They never have been. They never will be. The sad fact is that a truthful politician is an inept politician.  Yes, I'm a cynic; one of the privileges of encroaching old age.

On that happy note - I have food on the horizon.  First, I am gathering the ingredients for Rishia Zimmern's Chicken with Shallots.  Second, I am assembling my mise en place for Pumpkin Carrot Raisin Bread.

But - before anything, let me kvetch about my back and kvell about my burnt ends from Jimmy Bear's BBQ.  I guess the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.  Yes, I see the fat.  (I also see the fried pickles.)  Fat is Good.  Fat is Flavor.  My back hurts, STILL, and the Fat makes me feel better.  What can I say?

Now, the chicken:  I followed the recipe as given, except I made a half-batch - four chicken thighs, 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, 11 shallots (because that's what I had in the house) - but a full-batch of sauce. That's what I do with my Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic, because I like to have a lot of sauce for reheating.  I almost died from just the salt and pepper seasoning - my hand kept sneaking to the spice cabinet - but I restrained myself till the end, when I dusted the top of the chicken with a small amount of Emeril's Essence.  Mea culpa.

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, sprigs of fresh tarragon, and Grey Poupon

When it came to reducing the sauce, I turned the chicken skin side down and reduced the sauce for 15 minutes. After that I moved the chicken to a baking dish, removed the sprigs of tarragon (trust me, they gave their all), and reduced the sauce for another 15 minutes.  During that time, I added the cherry tomatoes.  I also tasted the sauce and adjusted the seasoning with more salt, a dash or so of cayenne pepper, some fresh tarragon leaves, and fresh flat leaf parsley.

At the very end, I shut off the heat and stirred in another tablespoon of butter.  Finally, I spooned the awesome sauce over and around the chicken and garnished with more fresh parsley, which I chopped.

Here is the link to the recipe for Rishia Zimmern's Chicken with Shallots, which she adapted from Martha Stewart.  You see that her final dish is lighter in color than mine, probably because I was using a cast iron skillet, and I let the chicken take its sweet ass time getting a nice shade of brown.  I'm still getting used to cooking in cast iron.  I also let the cherry tomatoes cook a bit longer than the recipe calls for.

This is really good.  The sauce is surprisingly rich (don't skip the reduction stage) and the chicken extra tender.

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