Sep. 14—By the time you read this, I will have flown home from La Mirada, California, having visited with my Darcy, her husband and their greyhound, Whitney.
Darcy was planning many of her meals ahead of time: I was to arrive at Long Beach airport, in mid-afternoon on Sept. 2. She had hoped we could drive to Palm Springs, but I reminded her it would be Labor Day weekend and driving in Los Angeles that weekend could be more annoying than doing the same on Labor Day weekend on the Connecticut shoreline.
This will be the first plane travel I will have done since before the pandemic. Darcy reminded me to bring extra masks, although she is not sure if masks are mandated indoors in California.
In any case, I have had my third vaccine and feel fairly safe. And I am safe to eat in someone else's house for the first time in almost 18 months, especially Darcy's house.
On the other hand, I am thinking what my first dinner home will be. I looked in the freezer. Lots of chicken. All I have to buy is mushrooms. And this is one of my favorite dishes.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma catalog, June, 2002
1 chicken, 3-4 pounds, cut up into 8 pieces (I used skinless boneless since that was all in had)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered (I used a lot more)
2 cups white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons chicken demiglace (More Than Bouillon is my favorite)
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 -inch pieces (I used more)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put flour onto a flat plate, add salt and pepper, and mix. Add chicken and toss to coat evenly.
In a large stock pot (I use a Le Creuset Dutch oven), add oil and warm over medium high heat. Working in batches, brown chicken 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate. Add onion and mushrooms to pan; cook until just golden and mushrooms start to brown, about 4 to 8 minutes. Off the heat, add wine and demiglace; set pan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to get the brown bits (fond) into the braising liquid, about 5 minutes. Return chicken to pan, add thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 2 minutes.
Transfer pan to preheated oven and bake 25 minutes. Add potatoes to pan and stir to combine. I then covered the pan, Continue baking until chicken is falling off the bone, about 35 minutes more.
Remove pan from oven, add tomatoes, stir gently and let stand 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. This dish is even better on the second or third day. Always heat in a microwave so is doesn't dry
Lee White lives in Groton and can be reached at email@example.com.