J's 'Backup' Dinner

M usually cooks during the week, but since her work keeps her busy now, I like to help out. I don't mind cooking, but I'm busy and tired by the time the evening hunger comes on. I usually overcome the weekday obstacle of evening exhaustion by cooking on Sunday. I often prepare lunch or a breakfast dish on Sunday, now I prepare a dinner or two. We call this the 'backup' dinner - if M doesn't feel like cooking, this is the answer.
Today's backup menu is nameless. They all are. Since I'm now technically a blogger, I'll call it Backup menu 'J1', though this is technically a variation on J1. This recipe was modified to account for our household demographics: the home is half asian and some of us prefer darker chicken. I'm using chicken legs instead of breast meat, so I guess this is 'J1 Dark'. Sure, it will be slightly fattier than J1, but even better tasting. I've also made this recipe with various cuts of beef and would like to try lamb.
Basically, its a bunch of vegetables, red wine and herbs topped with chicken, stuffed into a cast iron pot and roasted at 120 C, for... a while? Luckily for me, living overseas has forced me to learn some basics in celsius! I still mess it up all the time though so check that your chicken is well done.

Stage one:
Red cabbage sits on carrots and few pieces of celery. Salt and pepper added. After a few cuts, I thank myself for sharpening all the knives last week. What a pleasure to have a sharp knife, not only is it easy to prepare the meal, but in case some criminal mugs M and demands to come back to the house with her to rob us, I can plunge it into his chest.

Stage two:
add green beans and a few smaller pieces of celery. I notice it is quiet today. We live close to a roadway that is busy, at least at night. It doesn't usually get too noisy even at night during the week, except for the random angry driver and his horn. Though I'm pleased that Brazilians don't use their horns a lot. That isn't the case in all places down here in the Southern Hemisphere...what an annoyance. I chop in peace and quiet.
Stage three:
add garlic and red chilis. No, it won't be spicy. It add depth or some shit like that. I don't know, I like to use chilis and it looks pretty with some red in it.

Stage four:
One smaller green pepper, a few tomatoes, and one onion. Salt and pepper lightly. Follow with blend of basil, dill weed, French tarragon, chervil and chives. I also add a chicken boullion cube. Sometimes I add a bit of water, but I'm going to let the vegetables sweat this time.

Stage five:
Add chicken legs that are lightly seasoned with the mixture mentioned above, any additional vegetables I can cram in (and I mean get some leverage here), then two or three tablespoons of red wine, some balsamic and olive oil. It all goes in the oven for ~ 45 minutes, or possibly more. At this point it is most critical to sample the wine. Sample an entire glass while cleaning up. The cleanup is done after washing my knife and the cutting board. 'J1' is an easy cleanup meal.

The finished dish will be loaded with yummy vegetables and a sumptuous red wine sauce. And it will taste just as good (or better) in a day or two. And if it doesn't, there's a really great pizza place right across the street. They can finish an order in less than 10 minutes. I didn't know this until two weeks ago. I stopped on a Friday evening, just after my yoga practice and they said something in Portuguese. I missed most of it but clearly understood "5 or 10 minutes". I love that place. No matter though, this dish of 'J1 Dark' is going to make two cool winter evenings a little more comfortable.

- by J

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