Saturday, July 23, 2005


Nothing will give me a Home Cookin’ jones like spending a lot of time on the road.

She Who Must Be Obeyed and I got back from our latest peregrination last Tuesday. Once home, what with all the Rigors o’ Travel, neither of us felt much like cooking, so it was Take-Out Chinese that night. Wednesday, SWMBO made some excellent chicken breasts with artichokes. Thursday was our weekly Men’s Club Night Out.

And then on Friday, SWMBO hit a Grand Slam Home Run with a simple, off-the-cuff creation, thrown together with (mostly) stuff that was already residing in our pantry. Nothing fancy-pants, strictly improvised. It was so good, I thought I would share it with you, my Esteemed Readers.

Here, then, is...

Chicken-in-a-Pot in the Style of She Who Must Be Obeyed

For this recipe, you’ll need a crockpot or other slow-cooking device big enough to fit a whole chicken.

First, get hold of a whole chicken. Broiler, fryer, roaster, whatever…just make sure you remove that little package with the giblets (if there is one). Wash the chicken and pat dry, then stick it in the crock pot.

Add one large can of diced tomatoes, along with the liquid. Then add two standard (14.5 oz) cans of whole green beans, draining and discarding the liquid before adding the beans. If the idea of using canned green beans horrifies you, get over it. Or use fresh ones. It won’t make a big difference in the final result.

Now throw in one cup of dry pearl barley and one cup of water. This is roughly half the water you would normally use to cook the barley. Do not freak out. You do not want chicken barley soup, you want everything to cook down to a nice, thick, porridge-like consistency.

Season to taste. The Missus used Tastefully Simple Seasoned salt, but feel free to use any combination that works for you. Thyme works well with chicken, and don’t forget the freshly ground black pepper.

Now set on the crockpot’s “high” setting and cook that bastard down about five hours. Then turn it down to “medium” and let it stew until you get that porridge thing going on. By that time, the chicken will be falling off the bones and the barley will have taken on a wonderful tomatoey, chickeny flavor.

Serve with a green salad, and you’re good to go.

When we had this yesterday evening, I remarked on how, with that slow-simmered richness, this dish was a little reminiscent of cholent, the Eastern European bean stew traditionally served on the Sabbath. But absent the beans, this Chicken-in-a-Pot will not generate the Extreme and Deadly Flatulence that afflicts cholent lovers. And it’s even better the second day.


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