Tonight I felt very happy to be in my crappy kitchen. We had been away for a week, and as we took the long drive home, the thought that kept me from getting “car fever” was the image of me cooking dinner with my family all piled in around me. At this particular time in my life, it seems to be routine to head to the kitchen around 6pm, make dinner, eat, and then write about it. I could complain that my life seems predictable, which in turn could make it boring, or hun-drum, but, the fact is, that’s not the case at all. I love my evenings, and on the journey home, I could have day-dreamed about all sorts of exciting things. Instead, I found myself longing for the familiar. Like when you are in some strange place, sleeping in some strange bed, you find yourself longing for your pillow and the smell of your sheets.
For me, nothing says home better than chicken. I am a lover of that succulent white and dark meat, and I never tire of inventing new ways of cooking it. Tonight I had to make chicken as a welcome home greeting to me! I refused to buy any vegetables to go with my chicken as I was going to be picking up my wonderful veggies from my CSA the very next day (look to the top right of my blog for more info. on what that means). I had some onions and frozen peas, and, they would have to flesh out the dish. Because it is the height of summer, my herb garden is in full bloom and I had all sorts of flavors right outside my back door to choose from. I choose thyme and basil. I always favor something sweet to go with chicken, and what could be better than the liquorice-y aroma of basil, and the sugary taste of thyme leaves!
While I was cooking, my friend Shawn called, and as we chatted he suggested that I needed more “pots” to serve my food from, as he was getting tired of seeing pictures of the same dishes! So, this evening, I pulled out a dish from my reserved stash to photograph the finished dish. I hope he approves (I’m sure he will, since he made the pot!).
Dinner was divine, and if you want to feel all cozy and comforted, you need to make this dinner; it should do the trick!
You will need: 1 whole cut up chicken OR 4 drumsticks, 3 thighs, 2 whole chicken breast (bone-in, skin on), extra skin removed, 2 large sweet onions, diced, 6 sprigs fresh thyme, a bunch basil leaves with stalks, left whole, 1 cup chicken broth, 2 cups water, 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, coarse sea salt & freshly ground black pepper for seasoning, 2 cups fresh or frozen baby peas (I used frozen), 1 tbs unsalted cold butter.
Preheat oven 425*
1 – Put onions, followed by herbs in big saute or roasting pan (big enough to hold chicken in 1 snug layer).
2 – Lay chicken on top and add 1 cup of broth and a 1/2 cup of water. Drizzle chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven for 35 minutes.
Turn heat down to 400* Take out and check, adding another 1 cup of water. Place back into oven for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is nice and browned and cooked through (test by cutting into a piece of the thigh. The juices should be clear and the meat tender).
3 – Remove chicken to a plate and put pan or roasting dish on stove-top on medium heat. Add the peas and another 1/2 cup of water, and let the liquid come back to a simmer. Simmer until peas are cooked (between 3-5 minutes). Swirl in 1 tbs of unsalted butter.
Serve on its own, or, with pasta or rice.