I could not find the roast for last night’s dinner in the refrigerator. I looked in one drawer and then another and behind my husband’s collection of grapefruit and cranberry juice bottles. Where could it be???
I finally found it. In the freezer. Frozen solid. It was not in any condition to be roasted for an hour so that we could have dinner at 7:00. I sighed at my absent-minded-professor-ness. Now what will we have for dinner? I had the week all planned out.
Being the modern retro woman that I am, I sprung into action. Tonight’s dinner was supposed to be a broiled Cornish Game Hen, split between the two of us. The hen was thawed out so I decided we’d have game hen for dinner last night instead of tonight. I wasn’t in the mood to turn the broiler on in this heat so I pulled a random cookbook out of my collection. The winner was: The Fannie Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook (1959). I was inspired by a “Mexican Chicken” recipe.
The great thing about building one’s cooking confidence is that you can draw inspiration from a recipe without having to follow it exactly. For example, the recipe called for 8 canned pimientos (also called pimentos). Well, I didn’t have canned or jarred pimientos but I remember reading a recipe that said roasted red peppers could be used if pimientos weren’t available. I didn’t have any roasted red peppers but I did have a bag of frozen bell pepper strips in the freezer. It may not be what they came up with in the test kitchen, but dinner turned out great!
Mexican Chicken (Adapted from The Boston Cooking School Cookbook, 1959)1 Cornish game hen, quartered Salt and pepper 3 Tablespoons healthy oil 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups frozen pepper strips 1 chopped red onion 2 cloves garlic, minced Water to cover ** 3 Tablespoons flour 3 Tablespoons butter
Brown the hen in the oil. Finely chop the pepper strips with a food processor–almost to the point of a puree’ (since it is frozen, the puree’ will not have the usual liquid-y consistency). Blend the salt, pepper puree’, onion, and garlic. Pour the mixture over the hen when it is done browning. Add enough water to cover hen. Cover and cook until the hen is tender (about 1 hour). Put the hen in a serving dish. Melt butter in a small saucepan; remove from heat and add the flour, stirring until smooth. Add the butter-flour mixture to the juices in the pan to make a gravy. When thick and bubbly, pour over the hen and/or mashed potatoes.
How about you? Have you any Plan B dinner victories where you whipped up something from seemingly nothing? Share it with us!
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