After years of happy vegetable eating, my darling daughter has gone into a full blown white hunger strike. If it isn’t noodles, butter, Parmesan cheese or a chicken nugget, I am up against negotiations that include ipads, playdates and the silent treatment. I’m making a stand instead of making two meals, and like any revolution, the going is getting tough.
I have a two pronged approach to getting Bella on the same plate at the family table: making a dinner composed of a protein (grilled, sauteed or baked), a starch and a vegetable. This approach is embraced by our entire family, as we love a good grilled flank steak or roasted chicken served with a some perfectly grilled vegetables or roasted potatoes. To combat my need to be “cheffy”, I’ll make a fruit chutney or chimichurri to serve alongside, which, of course, will be completely snubbed by the Princess of Refined Starches.
The second approach is to make a braise that can be deconstructed by Miss Picky. For example, with this Braised Chicken with Summer Vegetables and Herbs de Provence, she can pick out green beans, zucchini and chicken, which I’ll serve along with a side of her favorite pasta, as long as it is whole grain, and the dinner table becomes less battleground, more family friendly, for everyone.
Braised Chicken with Summer Vegetables, Lemon and Herbs de Provence
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound zucchini, cut in half length-wise, then into half moons
Olive oil, salt & pepper
1 pound chicken thighs
2 tablespoons flour
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups good quality chicken stock
2 sprigs each, rosemary & thyme, and 1 bay leaf
1/4 cup fresh herbs finely chopped: parsley, tarragon, and basil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and cut into wedges
Method: Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add a bit of olive oil to the bottom. Sear the green beans until browned, season with salt and pepper, and remove from the pan. Heat a bit more olive oil, sear the zucchini until browned, season with salt and pepper and remove from the pan.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, lightly toss with flour, and heat more olive oil in the Dutch oven. Put half of the chicken in the pan and brown, then turn to brown the opposite side. Remove from the pan, then brown the remaining chicken. Remove from the pan.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan, and brown, stirring occasionally. Add wine to the pan, then stir to bring the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine until slightly syrupy, then add the chicken stock. Put the chicken back in the pan, add the rosemary and thyme, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, then place the lid on the pot and cook for 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and fork tender.
Pull the thyme and rosemary sprigs from the braising liquid. Add the chopped fresh herbs, lemon zest and juice, the tomatoes and the browned vegetables back to the pot, stir together and taste for seasoning.