A Short History Of One Meal With Help From The Pixies And Charles Baudelaire

Le Larousse Gastronomique vous regarde.  Le Larousse Gastronomique interroge votre cuisine.  You’re pretty sure it’s smirking but you go on. Frankly, you have your doubts about the Culinary Institute of America’s The Professional Chef . . . does it laugh behind your back?  What do you do? What do I do?  I’ll listen to the Pixies.

Good.  Maybe Fergus Henderson will bless this meal.


I’ve chosen Chicken and Pig’s Trotter or it has chosen me, I’m not sure.  I have a smoked pig trotter (smoked earlier in the week) in the frig, and I purchased a four pound chicken from Revival Market.  However, instead of carrots, celery, and leeks I’m going seasonal.  First, I’m using acorn squash.


I’ve replaced carrots with sliced sweet potatoes, leeks with red cabbage, celery with kale, and onions with shallots.


The squash goes into the oven at three-hundred and fifty degrees.  I sweat bacon, melt butter,


and add the above veg plus the pig trotter, a chicken back, wine and water.


This is where my mind went somewhere else.  After I had cooked all for an hour, it was time to drain the stock.  Good enough.  I pulled out a colander, I pulled out a steamer.  I set the steamer in the colander, and then immediately began to pour the sock out of the pan.  Yes, you may have noticed that I did not mention pulling out a pot to put under the colander. All that wonderful stock ran out of the colander, onto the cutting block, the black counter, down the cupboard and onto the kitchen floor.  I shouted, threw the pan on the stove and ran for towels.  I spent a good five minutes moping up all the stock then stood back and accessed my situation. Clearly, I had not been “in the moment,” clearly my senses and my inner mind and disconnected and gone off in separate directions, and now I had only half of my stock.  Also, I should have roasted the sweet potato strips before putting them in water. I remembered my roasted squash, pulled it out of the oven, mashed it with cream and butter, adding the sweet potato.  I had already fabricated my chicken, so I again sweated bacon and melted butter ( when in doubt use bacon and butter)


and then added my chicken pieces–two legs and thighs, and two breasts with the wings.  They browned then I added back the veg minus the sweet potato, popped all in the oven at four hundred degrees for forty minutes then ladled my squash and sweet potato mix over the chicken, smothering the bird pieces.  I cooked it all with the top off for another twenty minutes, then it was ready to serve.


Not bad.  It all actually worked out.  A very smoky, umami sauce with a sweetness running through and over juicy, succulent chicken.  Fuck you Larousse Gastronomique!  Hypocrite lecteur, -mon semblable,–mon frère!


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