Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chicken with mustard

chicken.jpgEastside Road, December 11, 2014—
CHICKEN, WELL, YES, chicken is a problem. We don't eat chicken nearly as much as we did thirty or forty years ago. We eat organic now, of course, and an organic chicken not industrially raised is not that easily found. When the market's on, in Healdsburg, we buy chicken there from time to time: but tell the truth I'm not as keen on this guy's chicken as I once was. I'm sure it's our fault, not his, certainly not his chickens's. We bought these chicken legs, for example, several weeks ago; they were frozen, and they took up residence in our freezer, and that wasn't the best treatment they could have had.

(Reminds me of that wonderful old joke. A guy had a pet parrot, but the parrot was a little obnoxious from time to time, and though the guy warned him to shape up or he'd have to take a little punishment, the parrot continued to annoy him. Finally he grabbed the thing and threw it in the freezer.

(An hour or so later he got to feeling pretty bad about it. After all, a parrot is native to tropical climes; the freezer was really pretty harsh treatment. So he put his beer down, got up, walked into the kitchen, and let the poor thing out.

(Parrot looks at him, still shivering and downcast, and says Sorry, boss, I promise I'll never be obnoxious again. I'm sure I deserved to be punished, but I'm sorry, and I'm grateful that you let me out. I'll be good from now on, I promise. But — if you don't mind my asking — what did that poor chicken do?)

Pumpkin pie.jpgAnyhow, Cook cooked this chicken leg for a long time, though the recipe she was following referred to the dish as "fried." It starts out with a mix of Dijon mustard, paprika, pepper, and salt; you toss the chicken in that mixture, then fry it in a skillet in which you've browned onion in bacon fat.

The sauce is finished with cream, white wine, and thyme, and the result really made me think of Paris bistros — appropriately, I suppose, because the recipe's from David Lebovitz's book My Paris Kitchen. With the chicken, as you see, mashed potatoes, to carry the extra sauce; and cabbage, because it's winter. The chicken is garnished with parsley.

Since we had cabbage, no need for the green salad. But I did have dessert — the last slice of a delicious cheesecake our granddaughter made fully a week ago. It held beautifully: I have to ask her for the recipe.

parsley.jpgWhen we returned to the kitchen Cook surveyed the butcher-block island that's at the heart of our kitchen. Oh: we should have finished that parsley, she said, with our second helpings. It's a volunteer Italian parsley plant that's come up by the yard can down by the gate. Really, I said, I didn't know there was a parsley down there… Oh yes, she said, What, you haven't noticed it? But we really shouldn't have wasted that…
A frugal woman, that Cook of mine…
Sauvignon blanc, Earthstone (Healdsburg), 2013: simple, unmemorable, pleasant

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