The other day I was in a four-hour meeting in New York City. Sometimes in New York, no matter where you are, you can smell food cooking from a restaurant or apartment somewhere. Well, all during that four-hour meeting I smelled chicken and gravy. It didn't stop me from paying attention (it was a very interesting meeting). But it wouldn't go away. Suddenly, all I could think of was chicken and gravy--and getting a hold of some as soon as possible.
On my way home from the city, I was pondering how I could get some chicken and gravy. I knew that by the time I got home everyone would be hungry, and that I didn't have a thawed chicken roast. I forget what I ended up cooking for dinner that night. It was good, but it wasn't what I really wanted. The next night, I am ashamed to say, dinner was real beef jerky from Dietrich's meats, pretzels, and chips because we were on our way to Eve's horseback-riding lesson and there was no time for a proper meal (Dietrich's was on the way).
Last night, I still really wanted chicken and gravy--in fact my parting words to my husband yesterday morning were "chicken and gravy." Which is why I was surprised when I got home from work and found he had brought home takeout Turkish food. It actually looked pretty good, but it wasn't chicken and gravy. And the kids were balking, too. I was getting fairly desperate at this point, and was ready to run down to the local diner and get an open-faced hot turkey sandwich smothered in fake gravy...when I got my idea.
I took the three boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts that I did have in my fridge, cut them into little pieces, and sautéed them a bit in a saucepan with butter and olive oil. Then, I took out a quart of my homemade chicken broth from the freezer, thawed it in the microwave, and poured it over the chicken. I put a half cup of flour in the bottom of the quart jar then returned about a cup of broth (not yet hot) to it to mix with the flour. Once the broth with the chicken was boiling, I added in the flour mixture to thicken it. Lots of salt and mere minutes later, I had chicken and gravy. I toasted up some of the stale white bread that came with the Turkish food, and voilà!
How do I know it was a success? First, my craving is gone. Second, the kids devoured it, saying yum the whole time. And third, last night as I put little Lucia to bed we were talking about the next day. I asked her what she wanted for dinner and she said "chicken and gravy"!
Chicken and Gravy in 15 minutes
3-4 breasts boneless, skinless chicken
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup flour
1 quart chicken broth (preferably homemade, and with fat)
Salt to taste (a must!)
1. Put butter and olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.
2. Cut up chicken into pieces and add to pan. Cook slightly, but don't brown too much.
3. Add chicken broth.
4. When the broth is warm, mix about a cup of broth with the flour in a mixing bowl, and stir until well mixed.
5. When the broth in the sauté pan is at a full boil, add the flour/broth mixture.
6. Stir until thickened.
7. Add salt.
8. Serve over toast!
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarm