My one vanity is that I get my hair professionally colored. So, the stylist casually asked me what I was making for dinner and I gasped, remembering that I forgot to stop at the store. As fate would have it, I also forgot that I had a package of chicken thighs in the fridge, but unfortunately, not much else. The amazons I call my children went through the groceries at an alarming rate this week. But not to worry - I had some bacon on hand as well as some shallots, garlic (the last of the bounty from Bud, my CSA farmer) and some tomato sauce. So I threw together an abbreviated version of Hunter's Chicken, one of my favorite winter dishes. I'm sure it's not healthy, but I sure as heck don't care, either!
Lucky for me, I had all the key ingredients on hand. I omitted the bay leaves and lemon.
Anyway, fry 4 strips of bacon in a deep pan that can withstand the oven. When the bacon is crisp, set it aside on a plate and brown the chicken in the bacon fat. The recipe I have, from the cookbook Best Lost Suppers (American Test Kitchen) calls for 4 split breasts, but thighs are all I have. Once the chicken is slightly browned on either side, set aside and then add 5 shallots, sliced thin, and 12 cloves of chopped garlic to the bacon fat. Let the shallots wilt and then add 3 chopped tomatoes and a tablespoon of tomato paste until fragrant. Next add 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth and 1 1/2 cups of long grain rice. Mix, and then nestle the chicken, skin side up, into the mixture and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle with paprika. Crumble the bacon and top off the chicken/rice mixture with it. Transfer the glorious mixture to the oven and bake at 375 until the chicken is cooked, about 45 minutes.
It was with some sadness that I used up the garlic and shallots as they are my last remnants from Bud's farm (although I do have another turkey from him in the freezer downstairs). This is one of those dishes that never draws a complaint from anyone, except maybe that I didn't make enough.