I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!
We sure did! Or better said for me was the usual mixture of delight and stress. Delight because I absolutely love Christmas, I love seeing the kids excited at the thought of the presents and Christkind, I love sitting with the whole family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and then with friends over the next couple of days, I love the food and the cookies, the slow walks around the village, well, everything that makes Christmas for us.
And stress because of all the elaborate preparations, all the cooking, the timing, the cleaning-up, then cooking and baking again, more cleaning and so on. I swore to myself yesterday and made my husband promise that he will remind me of this next Christmas, that I will try to keep it simpler next year, at least when cooking. I wanted too much this year and I have to admit, I was a bit overwhelmed and spent too much time in the kitchen, time that I would have rather spent in the living room with the family. So simplicity is next year’s motto!
And talking about simplicity, simple is the following dish. A typical Romanian recipe, I would say, something my grandmother made sometimes in a similar way. Just a few ingredients, not too much work and not too much time involved and you will have an absolutely delicious and comforting stew, something that both adults and children will love (well, as long as they like garlic:)).
We love this with polenta, a softer polenta than the one I usually make, it is perfect for the rather thin sauce. I normally cook the polenta according to the packet’s instructions. To make it softer I just take about 120 ml/ ½ water more than instructed.
And I use quite a lot of garlic, which only gets cooked for a minute or so, that makes the sauce really “garlicky”. And I loooooove that, I am really a garlic junkie. We all are in this house! 🙂
- For the chicken:
- 6 whole chicken legs
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 350 ml/ 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- ½ bunch parsley
- 4 large garlic cloves
- salt and pepper
- For the polenta:
- 250 g/ 1 ½ cups polenta
- 1120 ml/ 4 ½ cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Remove the skin from the chicken legs and divide them at the joint. Sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottom pan. Give the chicken parts to the pan and brown all over. Sprinkle the paprika on top and stir well to coat the chicken parts with it. Add the chicken stock, it should cover the meat almost entirely.
- Chop the parsley and add half of it to the pan. Add some pepper, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover the pan leaving a crack open. Cook for about 30 minutes, turning the meat once in between or until the meat is cooked through.
- Start making the polenta about now if you want to serve this immediately.
- By the end of the cooking time the sauce should have reduced by half. If you think it is still too thin, you could transfer the chicken to a plate (and keep warm) and continue cooking the sauce on high until it reaches the desired consistency. I didn't find that necessary, I liked the sauce to be a bit thin in this case, it worked perfectly with the soft polenta.
- Grate the garlic cloves and give them to the pan together with the rest of the chopped parsley. Cook for 1 minute, remove from heat and season.
- To make the polenta, heat the water in a large pan but do not let it come to a boil. Add the salt, stir to dissolve. Add the polenta in a slow stream while stirring all the time. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover with a crack and cook, stirring often, according to the packet's instructions. Mine takes about 35 minutes.
- Serve as soon as the polenta is ready. A green salad or some gherkins would be great on the side.