Sunday, January 06, 2008

Comforting Food

Hi again, and happy 2008! I hope you all had a fantastic holiday and that there was loads of good food on your table! May the new year bring you all the health, love, peace and happiness in the world! Unfortunately, our holiday didn't run quite as smooth as usual. My dear mother- in- law suffered a stroke on Christmas Eve and days later our beloved Siberian Husky suddenly became very ill. So, in a way, it was a very bittersweet season. One thing it made us all realize more than ever though is just how important family is. Although there were tears, there were also shoulders to cry on.

I did manage to cook some nice things- Nigella's Chocolate Fruitcake, my first stollen (inspired by Julie), bagels, a gorgeous ham and some cupcakes for Kirstie's school Christmas party. Although I did take a few pictures, they didn't seem to come out to my liking. Perhaps because life wasn't just right at the time. Anyhow, I'm glad the food worked out fine! My only kitchen disaster (miraculously enough) was Kirstie's birthday cake which ended up in the garbage bin. Thank goodness for her strong preference for store- bought profiteroles!

Yesterday I finally managed to really get my groove back and felt the urge to get creative in the kitchen again. On the way home from a day out in the city, I quickly scribbled a recipe for Comforting Creamy Mustard Chicken. It turned out really delicious- meltingly smooth with a hint of tang from the mustard, and oh-so- comforting! I served it with some noodles, a sprinkling of parsley and a glass of Mâcon Villages Chardonnay, also used in the dish. The meal was lovely, not only because of the food, but also because next to me was my beautiful little girl, happily eating along, and across the table from me was the most wonderful man in the world, making me laugh, snapping pictures of me (in my pyjamas, with no makeup!) and telling me how much he loved me.

Despite troubles, life is still good.

Here's my comforting recipe:

Comforting Creamy Mustard Chicken
Serves 4

*2 tbsps olive oil

*1 large shallot, finely chopped

*3 cloves of garlic, pressed

*800g chicken thigh meat, cut in rough chunks

*3/4 tbsp fleur de sel, or to taste

*freshly ground mixed pepper, to taste

*2 tbsps cognac

*350ml Mâcon Villages Chardonnay

*250g chestnut mushrooms, quartered

*1 tsp dried tarragon

*1 tbsp Dijon mustard

*70ml single cream

Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a heavy- bottomed casserole. Saute the shallot and garlic 5 minutes, making sure they don't brown. Add the other tbsp of the olive oil, turn up the heat and brown the chicken (seasoned with the salt and pepper) stirring continuously for about five minutes. Lower the heat, add the cognac and let it absorb, about 1 minute. Now add the wine, put the lid on the pan and let this simmer gently for 50 minutes, stirring now and then. After the 50 minutes, add the mushrooms, tarragon and mustard, turn up the heat and let it reduce uncovered, and stirring frequently, for about ten minutes. Take the pan off the heat, add the cream, stir well and serve over freshly cooked noodles.


julie said...

It sounds delicious, Paola! Must give it a try!

Happy new year to you too! Keep your chin up!

Nora B. said...

Dear Paola,
I'm glad to hear that despite all the troubles that life is still good for you. Having shoulders to cry on definitely helps. Getting back into the kicthen is also therapeutic.

Hopefully the rest of the year will get better.


Anonymous said...

I could so eat some of that chicken right now! yum!


annauk said...

I'm sorry to hear about your beloved MIL Paola!
Good on you for staying positive.

pistachio said...

Happy New Year Paola!

Sorry to hear about your troubles, I hope things are starting to look up now.

That chicken looks very yummy.

pi xxx

Gloria said...

Amiga, tanto tiempo sin saber de tí pensé que estabas en alguna parte (USA or other. Ahora veo que tuviste muchos problemas, siento lo de tu suegra, y justo en Navidad.Amiga espero que esté mejor y espero que este año sea muy bueno para tí.Te eché de menos. xxxxxx Gloria

Anonymous said...

The chicken meal looks delicious. I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles though and hope thins improve for you soon.

George x

Paola said...

Thank you all. Things are looking a little better and I'm totally back in the kitchen and developing lovely recipes again.

And please, give that chicken a try!!


Spudlover said...

Paola, this dish looks yummy!!!

Sorry to hear about your troubles - hope things are more settled now *hugs*.

Have seen your articles on they're great!!!


Paola said...

Thanks Stacey! How nice to see you pop in! Are you in The NL yet???

We should meet up and cook when you get here!