“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.” – Samuel Butler

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Chicken in a Pot

Sometimes Lynne and I really struggle with what to cook for dinner. “What do you feel like?” … “I don’t know.” … “Well? Fish? Seafood? Chicken? Pork? Beef? A salad?”

We were engaged in this dialog yesterday when we settled quickly on Chicken in a Pot. The recipe is a way to slow cook a roaster chicken in its own juices, flavored by a bit of aromatic veggies and some herbs. It always comes out moist and delicious and it makes its own gravy. If you like crisp skin, you won’t get it with this recipe.

We decided to cook the Hen-in-the-Woods mushroom we found in our back yard, along with some glazed carrots and mashed potatoes to accompany the chicken. If you are a member of Lynne’s blog and have been keep up with it, you know the story of the mushroom. If not, I’ll just say that we found a delicious, edible mushroom in the back yard and decided to pick it for this dish.

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the preparation of the meal.

First, do the prep work. Coarsely chop the aromatics—a small onion, a rib of celery and a few cloves of garlic. You’ll want a sprig of rosemary and a bay leaf too.

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Next, wash the chicken in cold water, trim any feathers and fat, dry thoroughly with paper towels and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Heat some olive oil in a Dutch oven large enough to hold the chicken and put the chicken in, breast side down. Put in the aromatics and herbs and cook about 5 or 6 minutes until the breast has browned slightly and the vegetables start to soften.

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Then, using a wooden spoon or two, turn the chicken over. Continue to cook for another 5 or 6 minutes, stirring the vegetables occasionally. You want them to start to caramelize and brown some.

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Then remove from the heat and cover with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid. (You don’t want any steam to escape during the cooking.)

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Place the pot on the bottom rack in an oven preheated to 250°F. Let it cook for 90 minutes or more for a really big chicken like this one. When it is done, remove from the pot, tent with foil and allow it to stand for 15 or 20 minutes.

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Meantime pour the drippings in the pot into a degreaser and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Pour the degreased liquid into a sauce pan, squeeze in half a lemon and allow to simmer to reduce. This juice is wonderful spooned over the sliced chicken and mashed potatoes.

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When the chicken in about 15 or 20 minutes from coming out of the oven, prepare you potatoes and carrots. For the potatoes, I just cut a couple of yellow potatoes into chunks, put into salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until they are tender and easily pierced with a small knife. Drain, put through a ricer back into the pot they were cooked in, add some butter a little milk, salt and pepper and stir to combine and keep warm.

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For the carrots, scrub to clean, cut into 1/8” slices on a diagonal, sauté in a little butter for a few minutes. Add, a little chicken or beef broth and a pinch of brown sugar. Toss in a sprig of thyme. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer until reduced to a glaze. Keep warm.

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For the mushrooms, turn the hen over and trim out the stem. Then gently separate each lobe. Wash or brush to clean (don’t worry if there is a little dirt left.) Dry on paper towels. Heat a splash of olive oil in a skillet, when hot add the mushrooms and sauté until they just start to brown. Add a tablespoon of butter, some chopped rosemary and thyme, salt and pepper and toss to coat in the melted butter. Remove to paper towels to dry and serve warm.

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When everything is done, cut the chicken, plate it along with potatoes with some juice, carrots, mushrooms. And, you have a great meal!

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Posted under: Food and CookingMushroom Articles • by Rick on 10/07/2012 at 09:29 AM
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Day Four 2011 Cabin Trip

Aren’t my blog post titles interesting and evocative?

I’m writing this on Monday, so “Day Four” was yesterday. And, we spent the first half of the day cleaning. Okay, the cabin really needed a deep clean anyway, but the pack rat visitation motivated us to get it done. Every surface got cleaned and the floor even got a good wet mopping.

The afternoon was lazy, I took a nap wink We took a short walk—I remember that.

For dinner we had Salt and Pepper Shrimp and it was very good. Lynne made a frozen chocolate pie for dessert. We built a small fire and watched it for a while then went to bed.

Lynne will post at length about the pack rat, so I’ll leave it to her.

I will leave you with a couple of photos of Calvatia Gigantea, our resident giant puffball mushroom (which is likely quite tasty right now, but we can’t bring ourselves to pick it and eat it because it is so beautiful.)

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Posted under: Cabin NewsMushroom Articles • by Rick on 09/19/2011 at 01:11 PM
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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Morel

When in Colorado, I spent hours walking our mountain land each Spring looking for morel mushrooms. There are two types in Colorado, a “yellow” or “white” morel that grows at lower altitudes, usually along stream banks under Cottonwood trees. And, the black morel—a mountain mushroom that grows in mixed forest—a rare treat indeed. I never found a sample of either!

Imagine my surprise and excitement today when I was planting a few flowers by the front door of our house in New Jersey when I discovered this treat:


Rick and Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

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Posted under: Mushroom Articles • by Rick on 05/04/2008 at 12:36 PM
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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Shrooms of October

Okay, you saw my first NJ fish.

Now it is time for my first NJ mushrooms.

We signed up for a mushroom foray for today at a local farm. What a pleasant surprise when we got there. Wonderful people, wonderful land. And a great “honor system” organic store where we bought some jam, tomato sauce, squash and onions. And, she had eggs and lettuce and…

But wait, before we go to the afternoon foray…

It was time to walk the dogs this morning. We walked toward Green Turtle Pond. The road is closed below our street for a while (what a pain), but that means no traffic for a while. As we walked in the “no car zone”, Lynne noticed a group of mushrooms growing on a tree a bit off the road.

Rick and Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

I thought it was a Hen of the Woods and got pretty excited since that is a choice edible mushroom. But, after returning home and doing some research, it turned out to be a Chicken of the Woods—even better! Lynne went and took pictures. I went with a knife and brought it home.

Rick and Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

It was 2 pounds of choice mushroom! (Which I am sure will end up on Lynne’s blog too.)

Rick and Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Okay, this mushroom is going to get washed, cut into strips and frozen. It will be great in a risotto, soups, etc. Since it “tastes like chicken”, you can use it anywhere you would chicken.

Now, to the afternoon. Our goal was Honey Mushrooms. Yum. And, we found some. Since it has been so hot and dry, there weren’t a lot, but this is the only time of year you see them, and we found enough to make some pickled mushrooms to serve on toast.

Rick and Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

If we are here to post after eating them, we’ll let you know how they were wink

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Posted under: New JerseyMushroom Articles • by Rick on 10/06/2007 at 06:58 PM
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Good News, Bad News, Good News, Bad News

Last Saturday I walked down to Green Turtle Pond with my fishing gear to try my hand (once again) at catching an edible fish. When I got home I told Lynne I had “good news, bad news, good news and bad news”. Clearly confused she asked for the story.

The good news is that I saw lots of wildlife. On my way there and back I saw several groups of turkeys and a red fox.

The bad news is that I didn’t see or catch any fish.

The good news is that along the east side of the lake, where I was fishing, it is very wooded and lots of mushrooms were growing. (We like searching out wild mushrooms).

The bad news is that if you are walking along the trail with your head down looking at mushrooms, you might just walk up on a bear!

That is what I did. I was walking along a not-so-well-worn path with my head on a swivel looking down and side to side when I heard a “hummmffff” sound. I looked up and about 20 feet in front of me, coming toward me on the path was a fairly large black bear. My heart sunk into my stomach and I said some foul words. I stepped behind a tree to keep something between me and the bear. He just stood there hummmfffing at me for a couple of minutes and decided to pass me by going up the hill a ways. He took his time though, and I just kept sidestepping around the tree as he moved by. When the coast was clear, I came home to tell Lynne the news.

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Posted under: New JerseyMushroom Articles • by Rick on 09/11/2007 at 04:08 PM
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