Remember the dinner I had dreamed for last night? Pasta, peas, asparagus, cream, mint? I was on my way to making it. I was! I bought cream and mint! I was sure I had some form of long, flat pasta at home. I eagerly told the Coppertop Guy of my delicious dinner plans, and he replied, like a normal, red-blooded American man,
"What about the meat? I DEMAND MEAT FOR DINNER!"
Just kidding. What he really said was, "Would you please, beautiful wife of mine, pretty please put some chicken in the pasta as well?"
Well, it was somewhere in between those two, anyway.
So we picked up some chicken thighs. I was grumbling about how the chicken was going to ruin my whole idea of this meal, and then I opened up the cupboard and realized there was not fettuccine or linguine or tagliatelle in there. None at all. So I scrapped the pasta plan and hatched a brand-new, chicken-centered one. I put together some of my mom's pilaf, and whipped up what turned out to be a pretty awesome dinner. And now the chicken is all gone again, and tonight I will make a fresh attempt to convince my hubby that pasta with veggies, cheese, and cream is a perfectly filling meal, even without the chicken.
And then I made the world's greatest chocolate cake, which I will tell you about later. For now, I will just say this: I don't think I've licked a bowl and spoon that thoroughly since I was eight years old.
(I took a picture of this dinner with my phone, but it is quite un-appetizing. You'll have to imagine it. Or make it yourself.)
Chicken and Rice, But Good
1 package chicken thighs (there were 5 thighs in my package, probably about 1.5 pounds)
2 T flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 T olive oil
2 T vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine (or leftover Prosecco, like me!)
1 T butter
1 cup chicken stock (or more, if needed)
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
drizzle of cream (maybe... 2 tablespoons?)
Pat chicken dry. Over medium-high flame, heat a large pan with a tight-fitting lid, and add the oils. Combine flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl and dredge chicken pieces through it. Place chicken in preheated pan and sear on both sides, until lightly browned, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate, and add the onion to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium, and saute the onion for a couple minutes, then add the wine and deglaze the pan. Cook the wine until it is reduced by at least half; the onions will be brown and soft, and the wine will be thick. Add the butter and chicken stock and stir to combine. Replace the chicken in the pan, sprinkle with dried thyme, and cover. Turn the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove chicken to plate at tent with foil. Thin sauce slightly with chicken stock, remove from heat and add cream. Adjust seasonings, and serve over pilaf.
My Mom's Pilaf
My sister and I used to think it was so funny that our pilaf had "worms" in it. The "worms" are really just spaghetti noodles that are broken into 1-inch pieces and then browned in butter before you add the rice and chicken stock. They are fun and delicious.
2 T butter
A handful of spaghetti, broken into 1-inch pieces
1 cup white rice
2 cups chicken stock
salt to taste
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the uncooked spaghetti noodles, and saute until quite brown. Add the rice and toss to coat with butter. Add the chicken stock, stir, and bring to a boil, cover, turn the flame to low and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.