So the other day, I was at lunch with my old school friends and they said to me, “oh! I didn’t know you were into cooking/food blogging,” and I reminded one of them that she had actually eaten my cooking once ten years ago. It was a dish from the book I had blogged about before, “Sunny Season Flavours”. That got me thinking about something else, I had always had an interest in journaling because I feel as though it’s nice to have a written record of my own thoughts and feelings. Recently I excavated my old diaries from fifteen years ago, and finding them felt like I had found a time capsule. I could see where I have changed and grown in the years between 15 and 30 and where I’ve stayed exactly the same. As for my foray into food blogging, I had also mentioned before that I had spent many a sleepless and hungry night – perusing through food blogs. Amongst my favourites, was Pioneer Woman. The food I ate in Italy surprised me for it’s lack of variety and indeed, lack of flavour. This recipe is an Italian dish, and just from seeing the pictures and reading the ingredients you could tell that it is a hearty dish, chock full of flavour.
Being able to blog now about the dishes we make and eat, also feels like a snapshot in time. So last year, when I first met SA, we would always eat these elaborate meals at his sister’s house which would be cooked by him and Chef Adman. One day, Chef Adman handed me a raw chicken and a whole bunch of spices and I was very nervous and rubbed them altogether and the chicken turned out terrible. It was after they moved away, that I replaced Chef Adman in the kitchen. Since they are visiting now, the three of us decided to make dinner together. And with my fingers crossed, I decided to take on this Pioneer Woman recipe and one year on from that last chicken disaster, this turned out great!
Let’s get all our ingredients together – you need salt, pepper, butter, olive oil, chicken (skin on), onions, bell peppers, garlic, mushrooms, canned tomatoes, white wine, ground thyme, parmesan cheese and parsley. And any kind of pasta.
First, turn the heat on your oven and heat up some oil and butter together in a frying pan, 4 tablespoons of oil and 2 of butter on medium-high heat. As it is heating up, first season the chicken with salt and pepper before lightly dredging your chicken thighs through the flour and put them to fry on the pan with the skin side up. Do a few minutes on each side, till the chicken is golden brown and then leave it to cool on a plate.
This is the step where we switched from the frying pan to the big old crockpot. We discarded half of the oil-butter mixture so that the dish doesn’t get too greasy and pour the rest into the crock pot. Slice your onions, bell peppers and mushrooms now if you haven’t already and mince some garlic.
Throw the onions, bell peppers and garlic on to the pot and admire all the pretty colors of the red and green bell peppers contrasted with the onions. Cooking should be for the senses, you can smell everything get aromatic as well as revel in the colors that nature offers us. After about a minute, thrown in the mushrooms. Season your veggies with salt and pepper and to spice it up a bit, throw in half a teaspoon of ground thyme and 1/4 of a teaspoon of turmeric. An Italian recipe that would appeal to Bangus! Add some crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
The best thing about this recipe was that it was super easy, you pretty much only have to get everything together and just put it in a pot and wait for the ingredients to come together and make magic on their own. Pour in your diced or whole tomatoes from a 28 oz can and if they are whole, squish them up a bit because you don’t want massive chunks of tomatoes.
Now get the chicken again, and put them in the pan, without totally submerging the pieces into the sauce. Cover the pot now, and pop it into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.
Remember to cook your pasta now, we’ll be needing it soon enough. I’m sure by now the smells have already permeated the rest of the house and everybody is dying to eat, BUT good things come to those who wait so now reach into the oven, take the lid of the pot and let the chicken cook for about another 15 minutes. This will thicken up the sauce more and intensify the flavours.
Finally, you can take the pot out. The original recipe called for the chicken and veggies to be removed to thicken up the sauce some more but I think we skipped this part. Heap some pasta on your plate, spoon the veggies and chicken over that and take as much of the sauce as you desire, sprinkle some grated Parmesan on top and dig in!
1 pound of pasta
8 chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 whole medium onion, halved and then sliced
2 whole red peppers, cored and then sliced
2 whole green peppers, cored and then sliced
5 cloves of garlic, diced
12 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
3/4 cup white wine
1 can whole or diced tomatoes