Sunday, April 14, 2013

Saturday night - or the journey that led to the recipe that led to late night philosophizing...

Good evening all. (tap. tap.) Is this thing on?

A funny thing happened on the way to the post - I would be lying if I said this has happened oft of late, because the inspiration space in my brain has not been activating much in a blogly direction of late.

It is a downside of regular employment, it seems.  Still, they pay me for the use of quite a lot of my brain, so the worky sphere has sub-let a fair bit of the arty-farty blog warehouse (which includes the old poetry cupboard towards the back).

However - it seems an old grant application has been found beside the filing cabinet and so some pity funding has been thrown in that direction, requesting a prospectus for a post, and congratulations, your reading of my blather is one of the proposed outcomes of the project.

(Nah.  Actually, that is pure bs.  Its just that I am in front of a computer and actually engaging a part of the grey matter that apparently has a sick sense of humour involving charity, the arts, funding submissions, submission bodies, artists, bureaucrats, citizen rights, politics, the economy, multimedia, media rooms in McMansions AND theoretical studies in the sociological adaptive behaviours creating the interface between lexicological sculptors and the oozing clay of the minds of the masses... Que?)

How did it all start?  
I think I need to go back to Pearl's post for the day. (Take a moment - enjoy the detour - "Local woman tells of teens has Nervous Walk Back to Office"
which led to a conversation with a blogging friend regarding the use of "Bless" with various organs and clothing options, 
therefore I went to her cooking blog and commented on her "Not exactly a how to post" 
and I have a love affair with a dish I have always known as:
"Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic"

(totally coincidental - I first ate and fell in love with this dish at a friend Lisa's place.  Lisa and I have another friend called Lisa who was there on the day, and I also have another Leesa in my life -  and V and I had a discussion this evening on how all of our Lisas are pretty cool chicks - here endeth that aside)

  • Chicken (d'uh) - the meaty stuff rather than boney and oily stuff (thighs are good but if mixed bits are better value at your local, don't let it hold you back, okay?  You could do a whole chook, you could do drummies) - about the equivalent of a chook's worth (4-6 thighs, 8 drumsticks - whatever works)
  • 40 (at least) cloves of garlic (and the really excellent bit of this recipe - you don't need to peel the suckers!!!  Total win.  Makes you want to reach for 60, but stick with the recipe - ish - first go around.)
  • 1 bunch shallots (look, try other oniony varieties, too, because I have learned in life that one woman's shallot is another woman's spring onion, and so maybe you are right and I am wrong and I am not going to stand in your righteous path!)
  • Butter or oil (I am not judging you)
  • 3-4 carrots - peeled (because I am in camp "peel your carrots" but you may have noticed, I am not here to fight your ingrained attitudes) and medium-ly sliced
  • A good handful of green beans
  • 8 whole baby potatoes
  • Chicken stock (don't make excuses for "I only have cubes" - I know cubes, I grew up with cubes, I am just going to look away and we can pretend it didn't happen)
  • Fresh white crusty bread - any shape - if you must spread, go the butter on this one...
  • (In the original recipe, that Lisa got from some famous TV chef's cookbook - I always thought, for some reason, it was Jamie Oliver, but I asked my old mate google for the recipe for Rootie in response to her response to my comment on her post on garlic - keep up - it honestly kept trying to point me to a heap of wonderful recipes called "Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic" that weren't the "Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic" I knew from Lisa's recipe, and the closest thing that linked Jamie Oliver with any of the recipes for "Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic" was TV chefs/cooks and bloggers who had made all manner of varieties of "Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic" and who had also made or linked to Jamie Oliver's "Chicken in Milk" recipe - which I have also tried cooking and we weren't convinced - and anyway, as I was saying, I am pretty sure that the original recipe for "Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic" also called for Vermouth or Verjuice or some other ingredient starting with "Ver" that I have never had on hand - thus I have never used it, and as this is me blogging the experience I shan't include it in my ingredients list because I have never ingredied it in any attempt at replication).  Anyhow.
  • Thyme.

  • Turn your oven on to 160 degrees C (that is a slow oven - about 315 F)
  • Heat the oil and/or butter in a heavy based big pan that you can put on the stove and in the oven.  If you don't have that, use what you must - it means less washing up for me AND I have one, so that is what I do.
  • If you must season the chicken, season the chicken (I didn't put seasoning up there in the ingredients section - if you use it, it's automatic, if you don't, then you probably would really enjoy it, but the little voice inside your head that makes you shirk from the salt cellar will probably lessen your enjoyment of the taste sensation with sensationalist rants regarding health and longevity - your choice, free country) and then brown it, skin side down, until it is crispy (or you are sick of doing it)
  • Take the chicken out, put the garlic cloves (without peeling - gotta love that and celebrate at every possible point), carrots, beans, baby potatoes - swizzle them around, chuck the chicken back on board, just cover with stock and sprinkle in some thyme.
  • Bring to the boil, chuck on the lid (or assemble it in the other dish that you have because you don't have the versatility available in your cooking equipment - I highly recommend getting married to close that chink in your resources) and put it in the oven for a good long time - a couple of hours.

Serve with crusty white bread and good friends.   The oozy garlic (squeezed out of the skin - enjoy every moment of that not peeling the suckers while raw) is blissful spread on the bread, soak it in the juice, even kids eat all the veges in the pot - make sure everyone that you want to kiss partakes with gusto.