Three days is a long time for a headache to last. Especially when it was drinking red wine that wasn’t considered good enough for Argentinian Racheros that created it in the first place (who knew Tassies is mostly wholesale dumped wine from South America? Okay, I knew it – I’d just like to retain some sense of moral indignation over here…). My cat has this thing about sitting on my chest just before I wake up. She’s like a Trafalgar Square pigeon waiting for one of those unsuspecting six year-olds to get too close so they can drag them screaming back to their lair (although I do understand they’ve somehow gotten rid of those pigeons, something to do with falcons and the threat of nuclear reprisals). It’s like some strange morning game where the rules are uncertain but somehow I always seem to lose. I’m assuming catbumintheface is a loss, and also an unfortunate Native American name.
This Monday morning she was lucky to not get thrown-up on, which probably would have put the scoreboard something like this: Jono’s Cat: 321 – Jono: 1 (but overall victory for style).
This was all because of what has now become known as The Long Boozy Sunday Lunch (a.k.a. Lets Solve Saturday Night’s Hangover By Drinking More On Sunday While Pretending To Eat Something). I guess it’s rather blasphemous to suggest, but I really do fancy the idea of a day that’s dedicated to The Long Lunch (you know…as opposed to Baby Jesus), and the kindness of the inventors of the Western Calendar to invent Sunday purely so that we can have a full 8 hours or so dedicated to eating, is something I’ll appreciate for as long as I get to carry on stuffing my face.
It is however one of the casualties of growing up and moving away from parents and stuff – because it’s only ever moms who have the patience, and well lets face it, motivation to spend the required time in the kitchen to make enough food for lots of hungover people. Maybe it’s one of those things, but as I get older (and apparently more boring because people have stopped inviting me to the cool parties that I know they’re hiding from me), I’m trying more and more to channel my Inner Mom and get this whole Sunday Lunch going again.
Sweet and Sticky Chicken with Walnuts and Raisins (This is a recipe I’ve adapted from the marvelous Tessa Kiros)
Ingredients (I’m going use the amounts I used for 10 people)
12 chicken pieces
2 cups of red wine
1 large red onion
1 small bunch of sage leaves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 large cloves of garlic (don’t be shy)
3 Bay Leaves
2 tbsp of flour
500 ml of chicken stock
1/3 of a cup of white spirit vinegar (I’’ve been of the opinion that the cheaper and nastier it is , the better…)
2 tbsp of brown sugar
1/3 cup of raisins
1/3 cup of walnuts
What to do:
The key thing with this is time, so give yourself a good run-up if you’re going to have this for lunch – I’d suggest starting at about 10am or so.
Finely chop the onion, the garlic, the sage and add them to a pot along with the bay leaves, whole peppercorns and the two cups of red wine. Heat it to a point where it’s about to boil, but then remove it just before it actually starts to bubble.
Put the chicken pieces in a bowl large to contain them all, season with some salt, pour over the wine marinade, cover it with some clingfilm and then put in the fridge to soak for about 1 and a half hours.
Once it’s had a nice long soak, remove the chicken pieces. Heat a couple of tablespoons worth of olive oil in a large pot (don’t be afraid to let the pot get quite hot) and dump in the chicken to brown (do this is batches if your pot isn’t big enough to give all the chicken the space it needs). Once all the chicken has browned, add the two tablespoons of flour and stir it in letting it coat the chicken, then add the red wine marinade to the mix. Let about half of this boil off, then reduce the heat by about two thirds, add the warm chicken stock. At this point cover with a lid and let it simmer for another hour and a half stirring ever now and again just to make sure that it’s not sticking and burning at the bottom.
Just before it’s ready, chop and toast the walnuts in a dry non-stick pan, then add the vinegar and sugar, stir in the raisins and let it melt and bubble for about two minutes. Add this to the pot of chicken (which should now have a thick and sticky sauce) stir it in and serve topped with a healthy sprinkle of chopped parsley.
This particular lunch, I served this with herb rolls, a melanzane and roasted new potatoes.
Then there was drinking. Oh, the drinking…