Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Sunday...

must mean another Sunday supper! Today I was extremely lazy. Like didn't clean either bathroom or dust, lazy. This complete lack of ambition on my part, made it a perfect day to let the crockpot cook for me. Today's inspiration came from the can of ancho chiles packed in adobo sauce that Tom had picked up at the grocery store on my request. These are beautiful - intensely smoky and spicy and I've been just looking for something to do with them. Hannaford had chicken thighs for ridiculous cheap ($.79 lb) so they became the evening's protein choice.

I began by softening a couple of cloves of garlic and a medium onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil. As this was happening, I opened a can of crushed tomatoes and poured them into the crockpot. After removing the vegetables from the olive oil (and adding them to the crushed tomatoes), I seared the chicken briefly on each side. While the chicken browned, I added to the tomatoes a rinsed and drained can of red kidney beans, and 3 chopped chiles, along with a couple of teaspoons of the adobo liquid. The chicken thighs were added to the sauce, the lid was placed on the crockpot and dinner was was only 3 effortless hours away.

I had roasted some beets earlier in the week (purple pee, anyone??) and had their greens in the crisper. I combined the beet greens with a large head of broccoli rabe and sauteed them together with some olive oil and garlic. For me, nothing goes better with bitter greens than polenta, so that was our starch. My version of polenta, which my mother-in-law loved, starts with about 4 cups of milk. I bring the milk up to a simmer and then whisk in 1 cup of corn meal. For 40 minutes or so, I let the polenta cook on very low heat, stirring about once every 10 minutes. Yes, I know there is something called instant polenta, but this recipe (stolen and modified from the Union Square Cafe) really takes little effort - and that was today's theme, after all.

This was really the ultimate lazy Sunday dinner, because not only did we have a delicious, reasonably healthy meal tonight, but I also have a perfect lunch for tomorrow in the leftover greens and polenta. And the remaining chicken will be shredded and thrown back into the sauce, perhaps augmented by an additional can of beans, for tomorrow night's tortillas.

Bring it on, Monday. I'm ready.


  1. That's funny. We too had polenta for our Sunday supper. Except no milk here. I cooked the grains in a combination of homemade chicken stock and leftover tomato water from a previously drained can of diced tomatoes.

    Some mushrooms, some leftover tomato sauce, and some parm-reg, and it was a delightfully soul warming meal. If I do say so myself.

    But I make a ton of polenta, and the rest is firming up in the fridge for oven fried polenta sticks sometime later this week.

  2. I ate food to go tonight, talk about lazy! Saturday was devoted to burgers and balsamic and EVOO drenched veggies (Eggplant, portabellas, vidalias, red pepper, asparagus) on the grill! YUM. Guess who?

  3. @Daniel - I had wondered if you had read my Cafe Capriccio entry after reading your interest in their Restaurant Weak menu...nice to find you here. Welcome.

    @Anon - Rebecca??

  4. I'm so glad you found something to do with the chiles (bad blogger for not getting back to you) it's funny, I have a can of them lurking in my cupboard as well. I think probably for a year or so thanks for the inspiration.

    We love polenta here. Did you know polenta simmered in milk makes a fabulous breakfast? Topped with a little butter and brown sugar...swoon. I've also sauteed a sliced banana in a little sugar and butter and put than on top. Utterly decadent.

  5. Thank you for the warm welcome. Glad to be here.

    I did read your Cafe Capriccio entry, and after my Restaurant Week experience there, I am regretting the decision to skip the eggplant.

    But the waiter recommended the ragu Bolognese. Big mistake.

    The atmosphere itself was charming. But I'm a bit of a tougher critic than most. Especially when a restaurant charges a lot of money for their food.

    I still haven't made it to Dale Miller, and am looking forward to getting there in the future. The Tuesday tastings sound awesome, but Tuesday's have been an impossible night to get out for a long time.

    Hope that changes soon.