Thursday, September 18, 2008

Change of Plan Simmered Chicken

Have you ever changed your cooking plan mid-stream? You know what I mean ... you have every intention of making one dish, you've planned for it, but life gets in the way and before you know it you are side tracked into making something else? Please tell me that you are all nodding in agreement. Please. Nod with me. There. I feel better now.

When I started my day early this morning, I had every intention of dragging out the ol' crock pot and preparing a lovely Indian Butter Chicken Recipe. I envisioned it simmering away all day long filling my house with the most delectable aromas. I could just imagine not rushing around at the dinner hour, dicing this and sauteeing that, but instead just spooning the creamy goodness onto the plates and enjoying a calm, tasty, bone warming meal. *sigh* It was such a good plan.

Just as I was opening the cupboard to pull out the crock pot, I heard it. 'cough, cough, cough.' It's the sound every mom knows and dreads ... 'cough, cough, cough'. This was followed by the familiar, thud, pause, thud, pause, thud of dragging little feet reluctantly coming down the stairs. I round the corner out of the kitchen, pass through the dining room, and stop at the base of the stairs to be greeted with more 'cough, cough, cough' (it's that awful barking cough, too) and the most pathetic little face. With a sigh, I pick up my littlest sickie, who's very hot to the touch, and carry her into the family room where I deposit her in her dad's recliner. This recliner is a BIG manly chair. I feel like Edith Ann in it, and it absolutely swallows my wee babe. She lays down sideways in the chair, using the arm rest for the pillow and announces to me that she doesn't feel good, her throat is sore, she has a headache, and her stomach feels "blah". A quick look down her throat with the flashlight confirms it. It's gross. Alrighty then. Long story short, she stayed home from school, got tested for strep throat (negative), is informed she has the latest virus going around school (woo-who ... we made it for 2.5 weeks before catching it), and that she needs rest, soup, and sleep.

Soooo ... remember the chicken plans? There would be no crock pot Butter Chicken tonight. However, never let it be said that I don't know how to punt. (Oh my gosh, you won't believe this, but said sickie who went to bed 2 hours ago, just came downstairs and asked for some pain relief meds for her throat. And now back to our regular programming ... )

I really wanted to have something full flavored for dinner and my germy/virus girl loves full flavored food, so I figured I'd just chop and saute and simmer whatever came to mind. It's a hodge podge recipe, but lordy, lordy it was GOOD! Oh, and it's gluten free all the way, baby!

Change of Plan Simmered Chicken

4 Large Chicken Thighs
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 stick butter
1 onion cut into large chunks
4 potatoes cut into chunks (from the garden!)
4 carrots sliced thick (from the garden!)

1 cup water
1 cup cream
1 can tomato puree
1/2 onion
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 Teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 shake cayenne
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 shake turmeric

Raita: Combine the following
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon cilantro
1 cup plain yogurt

In a dutch oven, combine the oil and butter and heat until sizzling. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook over med high heat until golden brown. Carefully flip the chicken over and cook for another 4-5 minutes. While the chicken is browning, combine the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender, and puree the mixture. When the chicken is browned on both sides, add the onion, potatoes, and carrots. Immediately pour the sauce over. Cover pot with lid, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 1-1/2 hours. (It's probably done in an hour, but I like the meat to literally fall off of the bone.)

Before serving, remove skin (it slides right off) and using two forks, pull the chicken off the bones (it should just fall right off in big pieces), and discard the bones. I prefer to cook thighs with skin and bones intact, and remove them afterward. The flavor is just so much better that way. It took me maybe 2 minutes to skin and bone the chicken afterward.

Serve with rice and raita. Make yummy sounds.

My sickie-poo LOVED this and gobbled down every bite on her plate. My older two, you know who they are ... the ones who have Picky Eater Syndrome ... turned their noses up at it. Keep in mind that when I made up their plates, I put the rice in one quadrant, the chicken in another, the carrots in their own space, and the potatoes in the remaining space. Still no go. The food had, after all, been cooked together which meant that although it was separated now, it was at one point touching. My son eventually ate his, but didn't wolf down his meal with anything resembling gusto. My oldest daughter managed to "not feel well" and nibbled at it with zero enthusiasm. Hubbyman came through in spades and devoured two helpings, so this was a hit with 3 out of 5 family members.
I'm planning on making Italian sausage tomorrow, but I'm not going to finalize the recipe in my mind until I start cooking. That way, I'm not tempting fate to bestow another plan breaker my way. Hmmm ... should I make sausage hoagies? Sausage and peppers? Sausage and pasta? Any suggestions?


Begoña said...

Wonderful. I will try to do it during this week. It is a very different recipe for my.
Saludos, Begoña

RecipeGirl said...

I would say that your change of plan worked out great! That butter chicken sound good too!!

OhioMom said...

Thank you, your "plan" buzzed a "plan" around in my head. I will take the picky palate eater's plate :)

Marjie said...

So, you made it 2 weeks before they dragged germs home to you? I hope the rest of you don't get it, or your house will be a misery for weeks. Your chicken looks really good. I love putting cream in recipes with tomatoes; it's such a surprisingly good combo, isn't it? And including your garden veggies - woo hoo! A Good job all around, especially considering the curveball thrown at you!

Pam said...

It's not just you - it happens to me all the time. I look forward to the butter chicken recipe in the future.

This looks like total comfort food - perfect for your little one. How great that you used garden veggies! Hope she's feeling better soon.

Swati said...

Hi Paula

You made this a very interesting read..
Hope you daughter is better and all of us have these sudden change of plans..Nod nod!!

dp said...

Are you kidding? My whole life seems like a change of plans! LOL I'm totally nodding in agreement.

I keep fearing Sonny is going to get sick since starting school. I'm positive he doesn't wash his hands as often as he should. When I pick him up they are just filthy. Yuck! No wonder our kids get sick. I hope your little one feels better soon. And I'm sure the simmered chicken did her good. Plenty of proteins to help her immune system build antibodies and fight off those germs!

Cheryl said...

That looks yummy! I love the description of your baby, I can just imagine it in my head!

Esi said...

I was nodding too! Most of the stuff I make starts out as one thing and ends up completely different. Those can be the best kinds of recipes. Hope your little sickie is better soon!

Deborah said...

I can't even make a menu plan anymore because things always change!! But this looks like a delicious change! I hope your little one is feeling better.

Annette said...

For a change of plan, that sure looks great! Hope your little one gets better soon. Can't wait to see the butter chicken recipe!

Lo said...

Oh, I am totally nodding my head after reading your post! I can't tell you how often this happens to me.

This looks like one of the successes! I hope it made baby all better!

The Blonde Duck said...

I do it all the time. Your dinner looks different than the way mine turn out!

Linda said...

So next time I'm feeling under the weather I think I'll do it at your house.

Lisa said...

I admire your flexibility. I usually just forget to start my crockpot dinner on time and then end up making something else that turns out average at best. I hope your little sickie is all better soon!

Jan said...

I'm sorry your little girl is sick, but I bet she felt much better after a plate of your chicken.

I often have to switch horses mid-stream, usually because I discover I'm missing an ingredient for whatever I planned. So you are not alone in plans going awry. But sometimes you make some good discoveries when you wing it.

Aggie said...

Wow, this sounds so good an so full of flavor! Hope your daughter is feeling better! Have a great weekend Paula!

Pam said...

Oh, poor baby! There is a stomach flu going around our school, and I've been washing my hands every chance I get.

Jason said...

The ingredients look wonderful! Looks like you got an Indian-esque meal after all! Next time your kids don't want it, just call and I'll come over in their place. Hope the little one is feeling better.

noble pig said...

Yes, life happens when we make plans! Poor thing, hope all is well over there.

Grace said...

well, i spied cilantro so my interest was piqued. :) even ignoring the cilantro for just a second, this sounds like an amazing dish! hope it hit the spot for your gal. :)

Jeena said...

For a quick change of plan this looks amazing. I love all of the ingredients used and can just taste the flavours!

Great dish the pics look so inviting!

Bridgett said...

Looks absolutely delicious. I think sometimes those spontaneous dinners are the best. Creativity is the key it seems. I hope the little one is feeling better. We went about 2 weeks before a kid came home with a dreaded stomach flu. Is there a law against using lysol on the kids at school gates? ;)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Sorry about your little one, I know what she had for dinner had to make her feel better. Sounds warm and comforting Paula!
p.s. Sausage and peppers sounds goo to me!

Lulu Barbarian said...

I wish I was a better punter. I tend to collapse into take-out mode when the unexpected occurs. You were brilliant!

Jan said...

I'm always changing my mind about what I'm going to cook!
I must say that chicken dish of yours looks soooo yummy!
Ps: Can we have the buter chicken recipe posted too?!! That also sounded lovely.

Carmen said...

thanks for visiting! aww, sorry your daughter isn't feeling well - but with a recipe like this, i'm sure she'll be back on her feet in no time! looks delicious and comforting!


i know just how you felt when you heard that nasty cough cough sound. as for those picky eaters, in the bad old days of poverty in greek villages, people used to allow their children to eat bread dipped in olive oil (psomi me ladi, as we say in greek) if they didnt want to eat the main meal. this is the only alternative available to my own picky eaters if they dont want to eat what i'm cooking...