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Monday, March 12, 2012

Errand Day

Fine Cooking Magazine, 2012
I always make my grocery list on Sundays.  It doesn't necessarily mean that I will go to the grocery store on Sunday, but I like the idea of having a list to start out the week.  Some might call that obsessive.  I call it organized -- and obsessive.

Nonetheless, yesterday was, for some unknown reason, a productive Sunday.  Maybe it was because no one was home, which always helps with the productivity.  Ted went to run some "errands", which is somewhat remarkable because usually his idea of running an errand is walking from the room he's in to the room I'm in and asking me to do something.  So anyway, Ted was out.

Kate, who has had a driver's license since October (and she was counting the minutes until she got it), but hardly ever drives, transported herself to tennis.  You may ask why she never drives.  Is it because she doesn't have a car?  No!  Kate rarely drives because the extra sleep she can get by not driving herself to school is well worth giving up the independence.  I get that because, as we all know, extra sleep for a teenager is worth more than anything else.  Even catching a ride from mom.

So here I was, all alone in the house.  I could have read the paper.  I could have watched TV.  I could have done anything I wanted to do.  But what did I do?  I cleaned out the refrigerator and realized that I really needed to do a major shopping trip.  You know things are bad when the milk can be measured in half inches.

Having cleaned out the refrigerator, and being on my way to a major shopping trip, I decided to pull out a couple of recipes I've been wanting to try.  Why not add a couple more ingredients to my already burgeoning shopping list?

But here's the really remarkable thing about Sunday.  I actually took that grocery list and went to the market.  On a Sunday.  With about ten zillion other people.  Even though it was a beautiful day.  I actually went to the grocery store.  With a list.  Be impressed.

There was a method to my madness.  I knew that Ted would be home by the time I got back from the market.  He could carry in the bags.  I hate carrying in the bags.  Look at that.  Ted could do an errand for me.

Recipe:  Chicken Braised with Red Wine Vinegar and Tomatoes
(Nadia Arumugam, Fine Cooking Magazine, March, 2012)

*  Note:  This is a real quick recipe to put together.  Great for a weeknight dinner.  Feel free to use breasts instead of thighs.  That's what I'm going to do next time.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 4 even pieces
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 dried bay leaf
1/3 cup good-quality red wine vinegar
1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Put the flour, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag. Close and shake to combine. Add the chicken to the bag, zip it closed, and shake vigorously to coat with flour.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet(preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Stir in the tomatoes and bay leaf, raise the heat to high, and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and boil vigorously until almost evaporated, about 30 seconds. Return the chicken and any accumulated juice to the pan, along with the chicken broth, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in the parsley, cover, and cook for 1 minute more.

Season to taste with salt. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

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