Friday, September 11, 2009

It-can-wait chicken

There have been passing references to my go-to cooler-weather favorite casserole, it-can-wait chicken. First let me say I do not slaughter my own chickens. Second, I do buy chicken at the grocery store. & third, I know that makes me a hypocrite.

This is the basic it-can-wait chicken recipe. You will need carrots, potatoes & chicken. & a large casserole dish with a cover. & an oven, although accurate temperature settings are optional.

- wash the potatoes & then cut them into bite-sized pieces. Layer them unpeeled & uncooked in the bottom of the casserole dish, about 1/4 of the way up the side.

- wash the carrots & cut them into bite sized pieces. Layer them unpeeled & uncooked on top of the potatoes, about 1/2 way up the side of the casserole dish.

- remove the skin from the the chicken thighs, wash them in cold water & trim the fat. Spread them out across the top of the vegetable layers, covering as much of the carrots as you can.

- cover the casserole dish & put it in the oven at about 375F for not less than 45 minutes. If you are running late, turn it down to 350F & add another 20 minutes. If the chicken is done & you still are not ready to go to the table, turn the oven off & leave it alone. Turn the oven back on to 350 about 12-15 minutes before serving. The only hard&fast rule is do not uncover until you are ready to serve.

There are many ways to jazz up it-can-wait chicken. You can make as above & then pour red wine or white wine over the whole mess. You can saute onions or apples or apples & onions & layer them on top of the chicken before you cover it all. You can throw cloves of garlic into the potatoes. You can mix random herbs in a small tea cup with little olive oil & brush it on the chicken. You can do all sorts of things. What you cannot do is screw this up. It is unscrew-up-able.

Leftover it-can-wait chicken can go on to have a long & fruitful career. You can stuff it into pastry dough. You can mix it with eggs & bisquick & make a passable chicken pie. Add some stock, celery salt & rice & you have soup. The only rule is if you did not buy boneless chicken, please remove the bones before you send the chicken on to its next destination.

& that is it. Add your own favorite twists & it can become bachelor chicken, second-hand chicken, or whatever your name for it might be.

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