Happy Friday, all! You know how you never know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone? Well, you never know how easy it is to balance life tasks and your first kid until your second kid shows up.
It’s Friday, which means that Mike is going for a haircut after work. Little Gronk’s new preschool is about fifteen minutes from here, but Mike’s work is perhaps halfway there, so he’d normally pick up The Package. (Yes, we send each other texts that say “I have the package.” What?) However, since the barber shop is by the house, I’m going to head over and get him. Which means making sure Bubber is fed either before or after, getting him packed up, and juggling baby-in-a-popout-car seat along with Little Gronk. Who needs weight-lifting when you have two sons that both need to be carried?
The challenge here is that I’m cooking dinner (as opposed to serving leftovers) and that Little Gronk does NOT like when I cook. That is, he whines and fusses and begs to be picked up and can’t understand why I tell him he has to wait.
(Of course, sometimes he doesn’t like WHAT I cook, either. Child is a seriously picky eater, and like all toddlers we play the fun game of wondering whether his new “favorite food” will get devoured or violently rejected the next time I serve it.)
In tonight’s case, I’m making braised cabernet chicken (basic recipe below), which is one of the few grown-up dishes he’s consistently eaten. The challenge is that I can’t leave it bubbling on the stove while I go for the pickup; nor can I wait to start it until I get home from pickup. (It’s a bath night.) I’ve therefore adapted it for the crockpot and it’s heating up on the counter.
Is there anything that smells better than onions and garlic cooking in bacon fat?
P.S. I wonder if I should include a #firstworldproblems disclaimer with these posts. I assure you that I know how lucky I am that I have two wonderful, healthy children, a marvelous and healthy husband, and sufficient material comfort that I have childcare options and vehicular ability to juggle pickups. Does that go without saying? I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining in earnest!
Braised Cabernet Chicken – Originally from the Pampered Chef and adapted for crockpot cooking
-2 packages boneless skinless chicken thighs (12 thighs total)
-4-6 slices of bacon (however many your biggest frying pan will comfortably hold)
-1 white onion
-4 cloves of garlic (your taste may vary; any recipe that calls for 2 cloves usually gets about 6 in my kitchen)
-8 oz mushrooms (white mushrooms is the default, but baby bellas will add a richer flavor)
-4 sprigs fresh thyme
-1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
-1 cup chicken broth
– 1/2 cup red wine (Cabernet is called for but I use whatever is left over)
– starch to serve – I recommend egg noodles
– Fry bacon over medium heat until crisp (slightly overdone is okay). Dice the onion while it’s cooking.
– Remove bacon to a plate. Use as much of the leftover fat as fits your diet. (I personally hate pouring fat out of a pan, as it inevitably gets down the side and the bottom; I’ll use a paper towel to sop it up instead.)
– Toss the onion into the fat and slice the garlic while it cooks. The onion needs four or five more minutes than the garlic does. (If it takes you longer than five minutes to slice five cloves of garlic then you need to practice your knife skills.) Add the garlic to the pan and cook 2-3 more minutes until you can smell the deliciousness.
– Plop the chicken thighs into the (large!) crock pot. Pour wine and broth over chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste (you can add more later if needed). Lay mushrooms on top and glug the Worcestershire sauce over it (I don’t measure; you don’t have to either). Lay the thyme down the side where it will definitely be covered by the liquid. Toss the hot onion, garlic and bacon fat mix over the top.
I’m not sure how long to cook it; usually I’d simmer it stovetop for a half hour or so. In this case, I’m putting it on high for four hours. If I’d started earlier in the day I’d have done six hours on low instead. We’ll see what level of doneness results.
Also? I cheat on the sauce. I like it to be thick and cling to the egg noodles, so I add a cornstarch slurry at the end and boil for two minutes.
Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!