“Life happens” is something we say when deadlines get missed and blogs don’t post in their usual fashion. Likewise, death happens, anticipated or not. And suddenly your lens on the world shifts, maybe only by a little, but everything tilts and you see things differently. That was my experience this past week. So I spent lots of time with family, sharing silences and deep hugs along with reminiscences and preparing meals for those feeling the pain of loss. They were not fancy eats, but comforting, satisfying nourishing food that went well with the glasses of wine that seemed to flow like water.
Grief is a strange experience, sadness mixed with happy memories and a potent reminder that whenever time is shared, especially meals, making food that tastes good and brings pleasure is as important as the joy we find in each others company.
This meal was thrown together at the last minute (although it took nearly an hour to bake) and was inspired by Stacey Snacks but I never even looked at the recipe. It turns out my instincts were spot on, including the white wine and raisins. Very Alsatian in style – cabbage, leeks, wine, raisins – it was more savory than tart, even though I used a McIntosh apple. Spooned over rice, this baked chicken was succulent and soothing, with the creamy flavor of the leeks complimented by the cabbage and raisins.
Baked Chicken with Leeks, Cabbage and Raisins
2 bone-in chicken breasts, with skin
3 leeks, washed and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup white cabbage, shredded
1 tablespoon raisins
1/2 tart apple, sliced thin (granny smith, courtland, mcintosh)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper chicken. In large skillet heat olive oil and brown chicken on both sides, about 5 minutes per side; remove from oven and place in large roasting pan that has tight fitting cover. Add butter to skillet and reduce heat to medium high and add cabbage, leeks, apple and raisins and cook for 7-9 minutes until softened and beginning to stick to pain. Deglaze with wine and cook until liquid boils for 1 minutes. Add water and bring to boil. Pour vegetable mixture over chicken and cover and place in oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove cover and bake for last 15 minutes without lid. Season with salt and pepper and serve over any grain such as rice, barley or farro.
Recipes currently inspiring me: