How was your Thanksgiving?! I hope your week continues in a manner of gratitude and an awareness of all the things you are thankful for. E.
What makes a recipe a favorite?
What makes it memorable?
Is it only because it tastes good?
Yes, of course.
But the taste buds aren’t the only thing involved.
For me, personally, some of my recipes are favorites not only because they taste yummy, but because they hold special significance.
What causes a recipe to have significance?
Usually, at least for me, it rests in the fact that it was given to me by a friend. And, sometimes there’s a memory attached to it.
Take for instance, my mother’s dressing. It is/was the very best dressing ever. Ever.
And, I’ve eaten some good dressing.
In fact, every Thanksgiving and Christmas I practically gorge myself on my mother-in-law’s turkey and dressing. It’s that good.
But, as much as I love both my mother-in-law and her dressing, it doesn’t top my own mother’s. Now, that can’t be said for many things my mother-in-law cooks, because she’s a darn good cook. But, my mother’s dressing,simply because it was my mother’s, will forever go down in history as the best. It’s incredibly simple and sage-y, not soggy, but with the right amount of moisture…I would eat the turkey and other offerings to be polite, but to be honest, I could have eaten her dressing and gravy only, every single time.
Of course, now that both of my parents are gone, I’m sure the dressing will take on even greater significance, especially since my sister and I made it without our mother’s assistance this year.
I must say, it was de-lish, but I admit, it was missing something: my mom and dad.
Poppyseed Chicken is one of my family’s all-time favorite recipes. (I’ll have to post the recipe soon.)
My kids will request Poppyseed Chicken over just about anything else, if given the choice. It’s even the “special” dinner request for birthdays, etc.
The recipe is stupid-simple. I can make it blind-folded, with items from my pantry. There’s just something about the chicken, cream cheese and cracker topping that takes this recipe over the top.
Why is it such a cherished recipe, though? I mean, it’s a normal make-on-a-weeknight kind of recipe. Nothing special. Except for the fact that my friend Margo gave it to me years ago. She would make it for us, often, when we would gather together, almost weekly, to play our favorite card game, Nertz. When I make it, I always give Margo credit while silently mouthing the words, “thank you” as I scoop another spoonful onto my plate.
That brings me to a more recent favorite that I want to share with you.
But, before I give it to you, I would like to ask you to do me a favor: please make this chicken and rice recipe, but share it with friends. Gather around the table and pass the plates. Then, savor the simple, but oh-so-tasty meal over a long, meaningful conversation, while filling your bellies.
You see, that’s what we did the first time we had Pete’s Chicken and Rice. Pete cooked it for my family during a season when he was living with us during the week, working a new job, while his sweet family was back in the Austin area trying to sell their home. It was a long number of months for his family, but it was a real treat for ours! Pete’s Chicken and Rice was his mother’s, maybe even his grandmother’s recipe, so it takes on more importance simply because it means a lot to Pete, and we love Pete.
I think swapping recipes can bring people together. The recipes that friends have given me, especially if there is a sentimental value to it, seem to taste better. It reminds my family to thank God for our friend(s), every time one of their recipes is placed on our dinner table.
(To be honest, I’ve never quite understood folks who don’t want to share recipes, even family “secret” recipes…especially since you can find just about any recipe on the internet these days, so nothing is really truly secret anymore. But, that’s neither here nor there.)
So, without further ado, here is Pete’s Chicken and Rice:
(These are not exact measurements, they are pretty much eye-balled. This recipe can be easily tweaked to suit your needs. Also, this is a one-pot meal!)
1 to 2 pkgs skin-on Chicken thighs (and/or drumsticks) (I’m sure you can use chicken breasts, but I am a lover of the thigh and leg.)
2 T. Crisco or vegetable oil
Tony Chachare’s Original Creole Seasoning (or favorite all-purpose seasoning)
1 small to med onion, diced
2 C. rice, uncooked
4 C. chicken broth
1/2 t. fine ground pepper
1. In a dutch oven or large pot, melt Crisco (or heat oil).
2. Season chicken pieces with seasonings, then brown both sides of chicken, in batches, in heated oil (don’t cook through, just brown).
3. Once all the chicken pieces are browned, pour off all the grease, leaving about 2 t. to 1 T. oil.
4. Saute’ onion in oil. Sprinkle with pepper while the onion cooks.
5. Once onion is soft, add uncooked rice to saute with the onion for a of couple minutes.
6. Add 4 C. chicken broth. (If you think you need a little more liquid, add up to 1/2 C. water.)
7. Place chicken pieces back into the pot, layering if needed.
8. Put a tight-fitting lid on and simmer for about 20 minutes. If the liquid is not evaporated and cooked down after 20 minutes, cover and cook a little longer.
Please, for Pete’s sake, try this!
Make a memory.
Then, pass the recipe on to another friend.