Friday, March 30, 2018

Cooking up a holiday storm

Chicken Stroganoff

Easter and Passover are holidays I associate with a lot of cooking. When I was married, I hosted a few seders, but I don’t remember much about what I cooked. I remember the seder plate with its symbolic foods and how I struggled to sip Manischewitz. I found a recipe for Manischewitz ice cream the other day and a friend, who had also been married to a Jewish man, agreed with me it might be really good and was probably the best way to serve that wine. Probably I cooked a brisket, a la my mother-in-law who called it first-cut breast and could make it delicious. Mine was a pale imitation. For Easter I always think of ham and either scalloped potatoes or potato salad, though I long each year to cook a leg of lamb. Some year the circumstances will be right, but not this year.

We are having ten for brunch, one a vegetarian and one who will not eat anything with onions in it. Limits your menu choices. I am fixing sausages for the meat eaters and a leek/ricotta/pesto pie for all but the onion-hater. Christian will fix a Spanish tortilla with potatoes and eggs, and we’ll have fruit salad, hot cross buns, and bloody Marys. Should be fun.

Meantime I’m cooking. You know if you order chicken Caesar salad these days, you get Caesar salad with rotisserie chicken slices? Most of the time I want old-fashioned chicken salad with mayonnaise, so I was delighted to find a recipe for Caesar chicken salad that called for cut up chicken and a Caesar salad-like dressing. But when I made it tonight, it didn’t seem to have anything to bind it together. It’s going to be liked marinated chicken bites. I’ll assess tomorrow, but I suspect I’ll add a bit of mayo for tomorrow night’s company supper.

Meantime, I’ve had the same thing for supper, lunch, and supper—and probably will have it for lunch tomorrow. I invented a quick way of doing chicken stroganoff, mostly because I had a large piece of chicken that really needed to get out of the freezer. Here’s my rough approximation of how I made what I thought was enough for one and turned out to be one and between a half and three-quarters.

Make a cup of beef bouillon or use a cup of refrigerated broth.

Pre-cook some pasta, about a cup of whatever you have on hand. I used rigatoni because that’s what I had.

Sauté a generous cup of cubed chicken in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Dump in baby green peas to taste—or omit. When chicken is heated and beginning to brown, stir in one Tbsp. flour. Mix thoroughly.

Stir in the broth in about two batches, waiting until it thickens enough to make a sauce. Add pasta. At the last minute, dump in a Tbsp. of sour cream. Stir and serve.

Your instinct may be to use chicken broth, but trust me, the beef gives it a more robust flavor.

What are you cooking this weekend?

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