Monday, April 18, 2016

Stick a Fork in the Taxman, He's Done - New-Fangled Old Fashioned Chicken

The Interregnum of the Profits is coming to an end ...

Today is the official end of Tax Season, and as the spouse of an accountant I am deeply and completely relieved. Tax Season annually represents the yin and yang of a public accountant's career - the craziness of the hours and the insane number-crunching, versus the financial recompense. Fortunately we have gotten into the habit of a pre-tax season cruise and a post-tax season cruise, and with our Alaska excursion sadly on indefinite hold, I have booked a traditional post-season fling on Carnival for a little later in the month. Yeehaw! By the way, does anyone know why the Federal Government, in its infinite wisdom (now there's an oxymoron) extended Tax Day to April 18th?

Having said all that, today is going to be a rough one for the folks at Taxman, going down to the wire with appointments throughout the day, including one brave soul/crazed procrastinator coming in at 9 PM. Well, there's always one.

As for me, I woke up at a reasonable hour with my usual aches and pains, plus an unreasonable dose of panic attack. No flippin' idea why. During the week I've been chipping away at the new phase of Project Zero, organizing, packing small items into plastic shoeboxes and tucking them into the few remaining open spots in my closet, which has turned out to be bigger on the inside. Unlike the TARDIS, that space is not infinite. Neither is my energy; lately I've been going through spoons like a sailor on shore leave. Perhaps that is the source of the panic. Who knows? Not me - I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV.

I have spent the day nibbling away at a few tasks and grumbling about the pain. Grumbling, whining, trying not to spill a few tears; it is that bad. The medication is having no damn effect; even my collar bones hurt. I had figured on a trip to Walmart for more plastic drawers, and a shower, but there was no way I could swing either one. Ain't got no spoons for that, kids.

Old Fashioned Chicken

Tucked neatly into a plastic page protector and stored in its logical location in my personal Poultry ring binder was this recipe for Old Fashioned Chicken. Scribbled in pink ink on a page that was clearly meant for other purposes, it brought me back to a time when young married women exchanged favorite recipes, before the Internet, before Food Network, before the Dark Times when young people with absurdly muscular thumbs lived on fast food - fast, but unhealthy.

The numbers in the right hand corner are the babysitter's hours, and the name in the left hand corner (the phone numbers are blocked off) belong to the young man who eventually bought our house in Ronkonkoma. The Fudge Square recipe was from one of my friends; I've yet to try it.

The year is 1991, I'm getting ready to take the Florida bar exam, and George H.W. Bush is the President. Ha, who needs a TARDIS when you have a recipe?

This is easy, and although I moved slowly, I finished it in one day. My family actually had it for dinner the same day I cooked it. I changed the original recipe slightly (does that make it new-fangled?), and it was a big success on the Homefront.

To make things easier, take the Brussel sprouts and little corn cobs out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator the day before you intend to prepare this dish.


8 chicken thighs, bone and skin intact

Garlic pepper
Lemon pepper
Cayenne pepper
Dried herbes d' Provence
Kosher salt

2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons garlic olive oil
6 tablespoons flour
1-32 oz. carton unsalted chicken stock
1 Knorr chicken bouillon cube
1/4 cup semi sweet white wine

3 gold potatoes, cut into 8 wedges and then cut in half crosswise
3 small white turnips,  peeled, cut into 8 wedges
1-12 oz. bag baby carrots (avoid thicker ones)
1-10 oz. box or bag frozen Brussel sprouts, thawed
8 miniature frozen corn on the cob (Pictsweet calls them "short"), thawed

Season the chicken with the different spices and herbs. Go easy on the salt. Let the chicken sit while you cut and chop the vegetables to give the seasoning time to be absorbed.

In a large, deep skillet over medium high heat, brown the chicken in the butter and oil. Do this in two batches, and if you have one of those splatter screens, this would be a good time to use it. Place the browned chicken in two regular or one ginormous baking dish.  Place the carrots, potatoes, and turnips around the chicken. Sprinkle the vegetables with a small amount of salt and black pepper. (Use a little Hungarian paprika if you are so inclined.)

In the same pan you browned the chicken, cook the onions until they are browned around the edges. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Add the chicken stock and stir until the flour is well-combined.  Bring to a boil while stirring, adding the bouillon cube, and cook a few more minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced slightly. Stir in the wine, then taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning.  Shut off the stove but leave the skillet on the burner.

Ladle about 2/3rds of the sauce over the chicken and vegetables; cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Add the Brussel sprouts and corn on the cob to the skillet, rolling them around in the sauce (remember, the heat is off.)

At the end of 50 minutes spoon the Brussel sprouts, corn, and all the remaining sauce over the dish. Cover again and return to the oven for another 40 to 50 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are all tender, but not mushy. This will serve 4 to 8 people.

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