Is there any other way to greet it, really?
We saw the boys off for their semi-annual Colorado trip yesterday after a flavorful lunch of Drunken Chicken. The name is deceptive; most of the alcohol cooks off, I think. And if it doesn't… who cares? You'll sleep more soundly for it.
It occurred to me while eating this that it's quite a medieval recipe, really, despite the tomatoes. The combination of meat, fruit and spice is oh-so-thirteenth-century. See, for example, the Sauce Madame and Mawmeny recipes from Medieval Cookery.
adapted from a Savannah, Georgia Junior League-type cookbook
8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
Salt and pepper
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
[2 Tbsp bacon fat or other cooking fat of your choice]
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, undrained, roughly chopped by sticking a pair of kitchen scissors in and giving a few sharp snips
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup dry sherry
Scant 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Salt and pepper the chicken; dredge in flour. Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until well-browned on both sides. (Depending on the size of your skillet–if it's relatively puny like mine, for example–you may need to do this in batches.) Remove to a shallow ovenproof casserole.
If you have ample time, you can wait and saute the onions in the remaining fat from the chicken, or you can do as I did and just heat up some cooking fat (I used bacon fat) in another pan, toss the onions in and saute over medium heat until they're translucent. Stir in the tomatoes, sherry, cinnamon, cloves, raisins and brown sugar. Heat to a simmer; simmer 15-20 minutes, or until suitably thickish. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
Pour tomato mixture over chicken in casserole. Sprinkle almonds overtop* and pop the whole thing into the oven. Bake about half an hour, or until bubbly around the edges; this will give you just about exactly enough time to make some rice pilaf to serve alongside.
This is a lucky dish to eat early in the year, according to me, anyway. Serve it forth with great resolution.
*this is going to be my official word of 2010.