Saturday, September 20, 2014


I'm finding that some of my most satisfying times are when I'm in the kitchen cooking and the kitchen is turning into a big mess.  I usually clean up as I go, but sometimes I look up from what I'm doing and find that I've made a huge mess.   It's at these times I realize I don't have $1,000,000 to give to someone to take care of all the mess I've made.   But my reward for cleaning up after myself is the satisfying, savory, sometimes sweet concoction I've made to eat. 

Today, I had to clean out the garage.  Been putting it off way too long (try 4 years!!).  My former life left a giant pile of STUFF in there that I have no idea what to do with.  So, most of it is now trash.  After part of the morning and good part of the afternoon of sorting through junk and trash, I came inside with a sore back and was famished.  Fortunately, I took some chicken out of the freezer in the morning and  had intended to slow sauté in a cast iron skillet with a weight on it to make it crispy. 

I placed the bone-in, skin-on thighs in my preheated cast iron skillet after coating them with some salt that I blended with oregano and basil, and some finely chopped rosemary.    I then placed another cast iron skillet on top of them and turned the heat to low.  I let them cook slowly and get very brown, turning them at least three or four times.  The skin rendered all of its fat and got super crispy, and the chicken was tender and juicy. 

It took almost 45 minutes on low heat to get them this way.  But it was worth every minute.  Succulent, crispy chicken without having been breaded or coated in any way.  And all the brown bits left in the bottom of the skillet, I scraped up and put on paper towels to drain.  Crispy, salty, herby crunchy bits of heaven!!!

In the meantime I had posted a picture of the little harvest of vegetables I picked today.  Some tomatoes, green peppers and banana peppers.  My younger sister reminded me in a comment of dish that we loved as kids.  Leco (pronounced lecho).  A concoction of sautéed onions, green peppers, tomatoes and some kind of smoked sausage.  When we were kids, it was always polska kielbasa.  As I didn't have any on hand, I used what I had in the freezer. These days when I make it I use Smoked Turkey Sausage.   I had some Hot Links Smoked sausage. They are a bit spicier. As I love spicy food, I thought these would be fine. 

So while I'm browning the herbed chicken, the Leco is in the making.

Everything from the garden!!  What I thought were onions turned out to be shallots - from my garden!   So I chopped all I had and cooked them on medium heat with the sliced sausage while I chopped the banana peppers I picked, and the tomatoes I picked into chunky pieces.  Added everything to the pan and cooked for a minute or two before adding about 1/4 c. ketchup for that sweetness that ketchup gives, and about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste for richness.  I let this simmer for about 5 - 10 minutes. No salt or pepper was needed because the sausage was both spicy and salty. I added a palm full of fresh parsley, also from my garden. 

In the meantime, the chicken was done.  So I pulled one out and devoured it without any accompaniments.  So savory and crispy and succulent!  When the Leco was done I thought I would not want to taste it since I just ate a piece of chicken.  WRONG!  I thought I should taste it and it was soooooo good.  Even better than I remembered it as a kid.  Mom used to make it a lot!  We usually enjoyed it over rice if I remember correctly, but with some good bread would also be wonderful! 

It just occurred to me, this recipe needs to be in my cookbook!!