If you’re following along on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that Cameron and I have a 10-week old at home. I’ve been considering my level of craziness in starting a food blog, amongst other endeavors, with a tiny human on my hands and most days I would classify myself as level 12 nuts on a scale of 1-10. I’m really, really tired. A few years ago, I worked 24 hours straight for an event and clocked in 60,000 steps. By the time the dinner hour rolls around most days, I’m more tired than I was after that.
Our firstborn, who’s almost 7 (!) was basically the perfect baby. He slept exceptionally well. He was constantly content – smiles for miles for most of his waking hours. He’d cuddle with whomever wanted to hold him, and as a toddler could charm even the most cantankerous stranger. Even as a big kid, he possesses an easy-going and pliable spirit that I’ve been hard-pressed to encounter in another living soul. Kid 2.0 is, of course, his polar opposite. He fights sleep. He’s fussy and a little colicky, and most of the time he dons a cranky old man face. He’s perfect in his own way, but decidedly a bit more…challenging…than his older brother. We were totally those overconfident, seasoned parents who reasoned that a second child would be a breeze given how well we’d aced the first one. Our arrogance has repaid us in spades.
I walked into the kitchen the other day, exhausted, but grateful as always that dad works from home and could take the baby while I threw together something resembling a meal. When I opened the fridge and found myself starting into a wasteland of scraps and week-old leftovers, I shut the door and nearly quit the day right there. Before baby 2.o’s arrival, I was a pro at meal-planning. I’d sit with my Moleskine every Saturday morning, sketching out the schedule for the week and planning meals that complemented our busy lives. Come dinner, I could switch to auto-pilot and unwind from the stress of the day by doing what I enjoy most – cooking. These days it’s a lot more hit or miss. While I wouldn’t trade in our little one for a million weeks of perfect dinners, sometimes I seriously miss the planning mark and just need to make it work.
As a former event planner, I’ve been programmed to make the best of the worst and it’s prepared me well for new motherhood a second time over. “Make it work” seems to be the battle cry of all new parents, and as I stood there in front of my very sad, pathetic fridge, that’s just what I did. It’s what all parents do. As magical and beautiful as parenthood is, it’s also freakin’ hard. Wonderful. But hard. Most days you are so tired, drained, drowned and washed over that you can’t possibly fathom one more diaper change. One more homework assignment. One more bedtime story. One more game of cards. One more dinner. But you carry on, you make it work, because you learn sooner or later that something lovely always emerges from the chaos. The detritus of the day is swept away by a smile from an ornery babe. A brilliant drawing. A hilarious joke. An unexpected snuggle from your almost-tween. And it’s enough.
So I opened up the fridge again and pulled out a little of this, and a little of that, and some chicken that was meant for livelier days, and threw together this crispy chicken with rosemary cream sauce. It’s not exactly innovative, and I’m sure some derivation of it exists on the internet somewhere. But it’s what I had in the moment, and like motherhood’s best moments, it’s perfection is found in the sum of it’s parts…uncomplicated, familiar, filling, perfect parts. And they were just enough.
- 1 tbsp grass fed butter
- 3lb bone-in, skin-on organic chicken breasts, thighs and/or legs
- 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary
- ½ cup chicken broth (preferably bone broth)
- 2-3 tbsp grass fed heavy cream
- sea salt, to taste
- Rice and Broccoli
- 1 cup rice of your choice
- 1¾ cup chicken broth (preferably bone broth)
- 12 oz. raw broccoli
- ½ tbsp grassfed butter
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400. Heat a cast iron skillet (or other oven-safe skillet) oven medium heat.
- While the skillet is heating, season the skin side of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tbsp of butter to the skillet and cook over medium until it foams. Add the chicken pieces, skin-side down, and cook until the skin is browned and crispy, 7-8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Pour out all but roughly 1 tbsp fat from the skillet. Add the shallot and cook until soft and browned, 3-4 minutes. Push some of the shallots aside and add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and stirring continuously until the wine stops bubbling, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the fresh rosemary and ½ cup chicken broth to the pan. Give all the ingredients a little stir. Then add the chicken pieces back to the pan, skin-side up, in a single layer. Sprinkle with additional fresh rosemary if desired. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook uncovered until the meat is cooked through, 20-25 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the rice and broccoli. I find a rice cooker with steamer attachment extremely useful. Add the rice and broth to the rice cooker, and the broccoli to the steamer basket. Cook per rice cooker instructions.
- Remove the cooked chicken to a platter. Place the skillet back over medium heat, and whisk in the heavy cream. Cook 2-3 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Pour the sauce oven the chicken and serve hot over rice with a side of broccoli seasoned with butter, salt, and pepper.
I love using bone broth in sauces because of it's high gelatin content - the gelatin is a natural thickener, and also creates a lovely, velvety base for pan sauces. Homemade bone broth is also super nutritous, and I love using it as a substitute for water when making rice. It also adds an extra flavor profile to what can typically be a bland side dish.