Capers, White Wine, & Dijon Mustard Braised Chicken with Kitchen Window Microgreens.
We’re entering my favorite time of between seasons, spring on the horizon while winter wears out its welcome. While I don’t always cook seasonally, this is my favorite cooking “season”, when steamy, rich dishes of comfort food keep company with baby green things on my dinner plate, while the first song birds of the year return to find a thawed perch to serenade me as I cook. And if I’m lucky, as I was two mornings ago, I get to watch wild bunnies groom and feed on spent twigs in the marsh outside the kitchen window that last summer and fall was home to dozens of birds who hadn’t yet moved off to warmer destinations.
The little guy who left this bunny trail wouldn’t make an appearance when I had my camera ready, but he and his friends leave trails all through the snow, even on our snowy porch and patio, to taunt my would-be hunter son who rarely sees one when he’s hiding with my pellet gun, waiting for a good shot.
While the winter storms pummel us from the outside, I have been growing baby greens inside.
It’s always fun to watch things grow in sunny windows while the world on the other side of the glass is snowed over and frozen.
While my husband and I were adding the mini greenhouse onto our cottage last spring, we didn’t realize that we’d be so far from home when it came time for me to start my flats of garden seedlings. I will always regret that I finally got the addition I had wanted so badly, but never got to use it. Back home, however, that greenhouse and our little mountain town are getting hit with tons of snow, much more than we have up here, so I’m kind of glad that I’m not there dealing with it, but so jealous when I see my friends’ pictures posted on Facebook of full-sized snowmen and the “crystallized trees” I love so much. This farm is gorgeous and so peaceful with its wide open spaces and rolling hills, but I will always miss my big, fuzzy mountains and our wooded property. The grass is always greener, I suppose…even when it’s covered in ice and snow.
But, because the kitchen in this farmhouse has the bright windows I always pined for in our last house, which led me to convert my boys’ homeschool room into a breakfast room so we could enjoy the sunny farmyard windows and take advantage of the light for growing things, I was able to set up a little growing area here to start my seeds.
I really miss having my morning sitting spot in the kitchen window, but it’s the perfect location for growing microgreens and the vegetable garden starts I will get going in a couple of weeks, when I’ve harvested and we’ve eaten all of these babies: Swiss chard, radishes, mesclun lettuce greens, cauliflower, beets, and lots of spinach. Basically, whatever I had left in packets from last year’s growing season.
They were delicious last night, mild and crunchy with just a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette, alongside roasted cauliflower and the braised chicken dish I made for dinner that I was inspired to create when I saw the half jar of capers I had left over from making last week’s muffuletta sandwiches.
Winter comfort food with a hint of spring to keep our spirits up, even while our toes were still numb from the cold.
Salt & Pepper
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
2 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. chicken stock
2 T dijon mustard
2 T capers
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Salt and pepper the chicken pieces on all sides.
Heat the oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven over medium to high heat.
Sauté the garlic in the oil until translucent. Add the chicken pieces to brown on all sides.
Deglaze the pan with the wine.
Add the chicken stock. I happened to have just finished a batch, so was able to easily ladle it right into my pot.
Stir in the dijon mustard.
Toss in the capers.
Transfer the pot to the oven and let the chicken braise, uncovered, until the pieces are cooked to golden brown and the pan juices have reduced to a creamy sauce.
Yield: 4 servings.