Travel Disasters and Comfort Food
We left Friday morning for Michigan for a memorial service. The weekend felt complicated and loving and surreal, as various times. When we look back at it, our return home was a comedy of errors. At the time it felt as if a train was headed for us. There was the cactus juice that squirted into my beloved's eye as he attempted to take a cutting, then the soap he washed his eye with (and with which he gave himself a bit of a chemical burn), there was the flat tire on the way to the airport in 9 degree weather, there was my missing knife that appeared (I'd searched for it for weeks, to no avail) at airport security, and there was the gastro-intestinal misery my poor boy experienced upon our return (he has a direct link from his nerves to his tummy). But we made it through the slings and arrows and were thankful for our return to warm beds and for our resilience.
Last night we wanted a comforting meal, one that would give us warmth and nutrition, vegetables and protein. Below, you'll find the meal I put together. Make it some night when you want a meal to restore you. You can use already cooked chicken if you want to speed up the process.
Ras el Hanout Chicken with Rice and Vegetables
1 medium or large onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1/3 cup chopped carrot
1 cup julienned kale
1/2 cup peas
4 chicken thighs
2 1/2 - 3 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons ras el hanout
3/4 cups rice (I prefer basmati, but use what you like)
Heat the butter or oil in a dutch oven. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 - 15 minutes, until translucent and beginning to brown around the edges. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add carrot and kale and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the kale starts to wilt.
Sprinkle the chicken with ras el hanout. Push the vegetable mix to the edges of the pan and turn the heat up to medium high. Don't worry if the vegetables brown, but don't let them burn. Lay the chicken in the space in the middle. Brown each side. Add the rice and broth, cover the pan tightly, lower the heat, and leave it alone until the rice has absorbed all of the broth. Add the peas and re-cover until they are cooked. It won't take long. Add broth by the 1/4 cup until the rice is done if the rice isn't yet cooked.
And sorry there isn't a more glam picture, but we ate most of it before anyone let me take a picture.