Friendly Dinner

The holidays are finally over, don't get me wrong, holidays are great; full of family and food, but SOOOOO much food. We are now in food-recovery mode. We still need to eat, but we need some no fuss dinners that will help us get rid of holiday jelly-bellies, or at least not contribute further to said jelly-bellies. Even if you didn't over indulge this holiday season, I promise you will still enjoy this dinner. 

Hendrick's n' Tonic

Hendrick's n' Tonic

My amazing friend, Desi, came over to make dinner tonight. We started of with a nice cocktail: Hendrick's n' Tonic with cucumber and lime. And then made a "Greek" salad: baby spinach, chunks of English cucumber, tomato wedges, thin-sliced red onion, Kalamata olives, button mushrooms, feta cheese and a drizzle of Lighthouse Greek dressing. I can't tell you quantities for the veggies, we kind of just grabbed handfuls and cut them up. It worked out quite well.

The main course was, shall we call it "wine-y chicken?" I browned about a pound of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs in a my cast iron skillet (over medium-high heat), with little bacon fat (olive oil would have worked just as well). While the chicken browned I crushed about seven garlic cloves and browned the crushed garlic in a sauté pan with a little olive oil. I then added a cup of Sauvignon Blanc (from a box of "Black Box" that has probably been open for almost two months. . . note: you should remember to stand back when you add wine to a hot pan so you don't get alcohol fumes in the face!) two cups of chicken broth, and two tablespoons of country dijon mustard. I also tossed in a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a generous pinch of fresh ground black pepper. I brought that lovely mixture to a simmer and carefully transferred the chicken from the skillet to the sauté pan, also making sure to pour all of the juices into the sauté pan. At this point I carefully quartered some very cute button mushrooms, probably about two cups worth, and added them to the simmering liquid. I set the lid on the sauté pan with a little gap and reduced the heat to medium. You want steam to escape so that the sauce will reduce and concentrate the flavor.

I like to serve this kind of dish over rice or potatoes or polenta. Today my choice was rice, all you have to do is boil two cups of water, add a pinch of salt, a cup of rice, stir once, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and leave it alone for twenty minutes. EASY. Once we got the rice started and the chicken simmering away, Desi and I enjoyed a second cocktail and started into our salads. By the time the rice was done the sauce had reduced to a gravy-like consistency and smelled amazing. I served the chicken on top of rice with sauce poured over the top and garnished with a sprig of thyme. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The chicken was fall-apart tender and full of flavor. I have also made this dish with red wine and it was maybe even better, so use what you like to drink and I'm sure you'll love to eat it. 

I find myself wishing that the holidays could be more like impromptu cooking sessions with friends. No pressure, just good food and good conversation. I love holiday foods, but I feel like there's always pressure to stuff your face, and you never savor the food like you should. I think this year will be different. That's as close to a New Year's resolution as I'll get. . .

Posted 11th January 2013 by Sarah Posma