I’m not a big fan of reality shows, but I do love the cooking show Chopped. Watching it has made me much more creative in the kitchen. Maybe I like it so much because cooking dinner each night is my own personal Chopped episode.
Because of our weekly CSA (community supported agriculture) vegetable share, I never plan on what will be in the refrigerator…and whatever I cook is based on what needs to be used first. This “what’s in the basket?” approach to cooking (what I lovingly call “kitchen triage”) was surely evident a couple of weeks ago when I cooked dinner at my mother’s house during her recuperation after an injury.
Opening her refrigerator, I saw two packages (legs and thighs) of chicken that needed to be cooked…several bags with past-their-prime produce on their way to becoming compost (I dumped those fast!)…and a few vegetable varieties that were salvageable, including half a head of cabbage, a package of sliced mushrooms, an onion and some limp carrots…and a variety of fresh herbs growing in pots on her deck. I turned it all into a scrumptious feast that even my sister said was tasty (and, in fact, she’s the one who snapped the photo above).
I like cooking chicken on the stove—I love gravy…and clean-up is easier than scrubbing a roasting pan. I served the potted chicken with sautéed cabbage, similar to the tarragon recipe in this cabbage blog but with fresh basil instead of tarragon, along precooked brown rice that I found in the pantry.
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 whole chicken in parts or the equivalent (I actually cooked 4 legs and 4 thighs)
1 sprig’s worth fresh Rosemary leaves (discard stem)
20 fresh sage leaves
3 sprigs’ worth tarragon leaves (discard stems) 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
One box (6 to 8 ounces) sliced mushrooms (or whole, and slice them yourself, or dried mushrooms that you reconstitute)
One large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1½ cups chicken broth
Juice of ¼ lemon
Dry herbs to shake on:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
3 carrots, cut into one-inch lengths
- Warm sauté pan on medium heat. Once warm, coat with olive oil.
- Sear outside of chicken on all sides, then remove temporarily to a plate beside the stove.
- Add onions, mushrooms and garlic and sauté about three minutes. (You may need a bit more olive oil; use your judgment.)
- Add broth and, as it boils, quickly scrape off anything sticking to the pan.
- Place chicken over the veggies. Sprinkle chicken with dried herbs (onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, turmeric). Squeeze in lemon juice. Cover pan and lower heat to simmer, about 15 minutes.
- Add carrots, rosemary, sage and tarragon. Flip chicken, sprinkle again with dried herbs. Add a bit more broth if necessary. Cover pan and simmer about 15 minutes more.
- Check chicken for doneness (it may need a bit longer, depending on how big your pieces.)
- When done, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley before serving.