A Spring Meal

Living 20 minutes away from any sort of restaurant or store, I have learned to cook as part of life. In the morning after breakfast if I am to be home all day, I start something for lunch and supper. I like things that can simmer unattended while I work. It is a way of life. 

After cooking....a lot... over 40  years...it is like breathing.... to know what goes with what. I do not think about it often, but today I thought I would share a basic pan meal "recipe".

A Spring Meal. I have also called this Chicken in a Pot. It has many variations depending on what you might have on hand. Today it was chicken, red potatoes, spring onions, carrots, and herbs. You could add greens of any type, quartered cabbage, mushrooms, fresh or frozen english peas or edible pod peas at the end for 5 minute. You could even leave the meat out completely and it would be delicious! 

This is the basic recipe..but change it depending on what you like or find in your garden.

Chicken boneless thighs or what you have-4
Olive Oil-3 T
Butter-1 t
Potatoes-6 small
Carrots-6 washed not scraped
Spring onions-washed and roots removerd-2 include greens
Fresh garlic clove-1-2 depending on what you like minced
Bacon-thick smoky type with skin-1 strip
Fresh thyme sprig
Fresh parsley-roughly chopped
Black pepper - fresh ground
Sea Salt to taste
Water, Chicken Broth, or white wine-2 cups to cover chicken and touch vegetables

Peel potatoes as needed. Today I had red potatoes that had sprouted a little, with no green under the skin,  so I took cut sprouts off to start a new potato row in the garden. But that is another story completely!

Run out to the garden for fresh thyme, parsley, and green spring onions.

Chicken-use what you have. Bone in or out; skin on or off...does not matter. Brown Chicken boneless thighs in olive oil 3 T, and 1 t butter until a crusty brown forms on the bottom of the pan and all sides of the chicken are brown.  Use a heavy stainless steel pan. NEVER use a nonstick pan because it will not form the lovely tasty brown crust needed to make the sauce AND it is terrible for your health. THROW it out if you have one.

Scrap up the tasty brown bits and add 1/4 cup plain unbleached flour. This is called a Roux. Use that word and people will think you really know about cooking. Stir and cook until slightly golden. NOT brown. Add chicken broth if you have it or plain water-1 to 2 cups to cover the chicken.
Add salt and fresh ground OG pepper
Bring to a simmer.

Add carrots and potatoes in separate areas of the pan. Place onion, herbs, garlic and bacon on top. More salt and pepper for the vegetables.

Simmer on low heat with a lid on for 45 - 60 minutes. Add asparagus tips in last 10 minutes.
Check every 30 minutes or so to be sure there is enough liquid. The broth will thicken and make a luscious sauce.

This is Slow cooking. VERY slow cooking. BUT just think all the things you can do while this is gently simmering on the stovetop. AND the house will smell heavenly of fresh herbs!

If you decide to add fresh asparagus, english peas, edible pod peas, cabbage or kale remember to add those in the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. These are not good over cooked.

A delicious meal eaten on the porch while it gently rains. Lovely!


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