‘Tis an awkward time of year, February. We’re still in the depths of winter but the excitement of new snow has worn thin. We overhear farmers planning the new crops which puts us in mind of spring … close enough to tantalize but still so far away. We remember what it is like to go for an invigorating walk without bundling up for 10 minutes first. Beware the February blues! Take extra good care of yourself and treat yourself often.
I present to you one of our special recipes – one we bring out when we want to impress someone, when the skies have been grey for too long or when we just feel like a reward. This was adapted from The Silver Palate cookbook – an essential, elegant and beautifully laid-out book that I highly recommend. We have made some substitutions … local apple cider for wine, a little less garlic and sugar, apricots for excitement or even some of my Mom’s dried calendula petals for an extra special touch. The original recipe calls for bone-in chicken pieces but we usually use slices of breast only … the sauce is complex (and slightly sticky) so it is just easier not to have to deal with bones as well. The combination of ingredients looks outré but (trust me) when they are baked together, they work beautifully!
For 10 servings, use…
2.5 lb chicken breast – cut into 2 oz strips
Marinate for 2 – 6 hours in …
1 T chopped garlic
3 T dried oregano
1 t each of salt, black pepper
1/3 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1/2 c each of prunes and apricots – sliced coarsely
1/2 c green olive, sliced
1/3 c pickled capers with some brine
6 bay leaves
1/4 c brown sugar
1 c apple cider
½ c chopped Italian parsley
Pull the chicken pieces from the marinade and arrange on parchment paper. Pour the marinade into a small pot.
Bake chicken at 350° F until done (about 20 minutes, turning each piece over at least once so it browns evenly). As you turn the chicken, pour off any juices into the marinade pot. When the chicken is almost done, bring marinade to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, skimming off and discarding any foam that rises. Arrange the pieces in a serving tray and pour the hot marinade over them. You can discard the bay leaves if you like but some people say it is good luck to be served one … as long as you don’t try and eat it!
This is also very nice served cold in the summer. Follow the above procedure and allow to cool overnight in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
This year, we are proud to announce that our annual fundraising dinners are expanding their focus from “Taste of Italy” to “The Taste of Diversity” – featuring the following themes …
March 29 – “What Would a Jesuit Eat?” – a smorgasbord of our local Jesuit community’s favourites, including a carving station with Chef Susan to cater to your Roast Beef whims.
June 13 – “Let’s Go Dutch” – an exploration of the cuisine of the Netherlands, intrepidly guided by Theresa Wright and Miriam Koopman.
November 15 – “A Return to Italy” – revisiting and reaffirming our connection to this vital nationality with the help of Christine Clementi, Maria Gazzola and others!
Mass will be at 5pm and dinner at 6pm. $60 each dinner or $150 for all three. Space is limited and, if other years are any indication, the dinners sell out fast! For tickets, contact 519-821-1250 x 221. We’d love to see you here!
In the meantime, take care of yourselves. Live in the moment but anticipate spring! ❤