Monday, November 1, 2010

Dinner for the Beleagured

     By the beleaguered I do not mean me:  I am referring to the teachers at the Hooligans' school. (Look for a post in the next few days re: their beleagured-ness.  In short, budget cuts, possible lay offs, and general economic fall-out appears to be about to land directly on their heads.  Why doesn't shit happen to people who actually deserve it?  This is not right.)
     Today is a conference day, which means that the Hooligans are riding out their post Halloween sugar rushes with various compadres while their teachers strike the balance between diplomacy and the naked truth with parent after parent.  ("He's so creative and independent." might really mean "He never follows directions.") A call went out for volunteers to bring dinner for the teachers at school (Conferences go to about 8:00 p.m.).  Well I was going to cook anyway, so why not:  Here's what I'm making:

Tuscan Lemon Chicken
feeds 12

12 chicken thighs, bone in,
4 onions
6 cloves garlic minced
6 lemons, zested and juiced (about 1/2 C juice)
1.5 cups green olives,pitted--I like the castelvetrano kind that is meaty and not too salty
2 T capers
6 carrots, chopped
2 sprigs thyme
1 cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
lots of pepper
parsley for garnish

     I really hate canned stock, but I go through it as fast as I can make it.  When I make stuff like this I buy a package of chicken wings and throw them in a pot with all the vegetable peels, carrot tops, etc. and boil it up--semi-instant stock.  I add the  squeezed lemon rinds and olive pits and boil it for an hour or so.  If I want it to be fancy, I brown the chicken thighs while the stock is boiling.  If it's just for us I skip that step.
      Throw the chicken thighs (browned or not), onions, garlic, lemon juice and zest, carrots, thyme, capers, pepper, wine and olives into the crock pot--or a big dutch oven over low heat.  Pour the stock over, let it simmer for a couple of hours and garnish with parsley. When I use canned stock (I prefer the low-sodium kind)  I add extra lemon juice and garlic to liven it up.  Serve with crusty bread and some sort of green vegetable or salad.

     Given the season, dessert will be whatever Halloween Candy the Hooligans are willing to fork over. I'm guessing I'll get a Twizzler or a dum-dum if I'm lucky.

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