Friday, February 13, 2009

Winter Dinner in Less than an Hour

It's been raining on and off all week and since we really need the rain I'm not complaining. But I wanted something hot and comforting for dinner. In addition, I wanted to stock the fridge with some fairly low cal lunch protein. So I went to the supermarket, where I rarely go anymore, and what a great time I had. I saw things I had forgotten existed, like Spaghetti Os, French's Mustard, and Mon Cheri chocolate coated maraschino cherries. After I congratulated myself on my great idea and adventure I got down to work and chose a couple of whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, and then I was sort of stuck on what else I should fill my basket with since I had been to the vegetable market the day before. I ended up adding a couple of cans of brisling sardines, a can of mackerel, and some bananas. Odd choices but I guess that I have forgotten how to shop in a supermarket anymore. It was a slightly embarrassingly weird basket I realized as I headed for checkout. I know I am a very judgmental person, particularly about people's supermarket carts, and I can tell you why. When I was writing about food for a local newspaper many years ago, someone came up to me, looked into my cart, and said "Lots of gourmet treats?" At the time we had a little very pale skinned skinny 6 year old who never ate anything that wasn't white, except for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner and the cart was filled with it because it was on sale. I still remember the snide look on my reader's face. So ever since when I go food shopping I look at people, make a snap judgment about them, and then check out their cart and based on it's contents I decide if my judgment was correct. I was ready to cruise the aisles for more on the sardine and mackerel day when I saw that this was a market where they let you scan the items yourself. That meant I didn't have to have a checker assessing me.

Quick Chicken Stew

1 double chicken breast (I made 2 and saved one for sandwiches)
2 teaspoons herbs de Provence mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
water to cover in a covered medium sized sauce pan
1 tablespoon butter
3 carrots coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper coarsely chopped
1/2 onion coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
cayenne pepper to taste

1. Simmer the chicken breast in the water with the herbs, salt, and pepper until done. About 20 min. Set aside
2. In a covered glazed cast iron casserole saute the vegetables in the butter until the onions and bell pepper are soft.
3. Add the flour and stir to moisten with the butter and cook for a minute.
4. Remove the chicken breast to a cutting board and add the broth to the flour and vegetables. Stir with a whisk to blend the broth and flour and bring back to a simmer.
5. Cut up the chicken breast into 1 inch chunks and add to the stew.
6. Season with the cayenne, additional salt and pepper to taste, and let it simmer for another 20 minutes.
7. Serve over cooked brown rice.