So it was my Mumsy's special day on the weekend. I know you all think you have the best Mum in the world, but you'd be wrong. Who's Mum spends the weekend with you at the beach and indulges in your secret desire to ride a giant lawnmower? Mine, that's who.
I made the trek to Portarlington this weekend to hang out with my Mumsy. A bunch of beautiful flowers and a basket of goodies in hand, I was ready to head off. Until I noticed a seemingly flat tire on the car. Freaking out, I drove to a series of friends' houses for help, all of whom were out. Eventually I ended up at a servo and asked a kind gentleman if, in his opinion, my tire was flat.
Kicking the tire, he laughs "No, love, that tire's not flat. But your car could do with a wash." Indignant, I drove off into the sunset in my filthy car. I kind of understood where he was coming from when, half way to the beach, it rained. A brown sludge took about three wipes of the blades before I was at maximum visibility. Still, old man, I wish you'd kept to the question at hand...
So my basket of goodies for mum had a theme this year: food sans gluten. The old duck has been a bit crook of late and was advised by her good doctor to eliminate all gluten. Rather than dwell on the things she can't have, I tried to bring into focus the amazing things she could eat. Positive over negative, ya?
I'm also trying to come up with some dishes that are both delicious and free of gluten. This one is pretty close to the most delicious thing I've eaten in a while. Ignore the photos; they look like chicken in a light mud sauce. It was seriously tasty: salty, sweet, tart and silky.
So the trick with this sauce? I didn't have a good thick stock on hand, and wine was mysteriously missing (ahem, Matty). I needed something to thicken the sauce and add a depth of flavour missing with just plain old water. I'd tasted the sauce early and the flavours were right (vinegar helped). But it did need more gloss and thickening to really cling to the thighs. Yep, that's right, you want that clinging to your thighs. Go with it, relax, lean into it and let the deliciousness wash over you.
After that sexy interlude, let's talk practical steps into thickening the sauce: a roux. Mix equal parts flour and butter and stir into your sauce. That easy. I used cornflour to make sure the sauce was still Mum friendly. Hooley dooley. What a cracker of a sauce.
I served this with a combination of roasted vegetables. The main man in my medley of root veggies? Parsnip. I love the fella, but the main reason is it's Mum's best buddy of the vegetable world. And if I can't give the lady her favourite on Mother's Day, then when can I?
4 chicken thighs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp capers
12 leaves of sage
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp butter, softened
Heat a heavy based pan over high heat. Pan fry the chicken thighs in the olive oil until golden on each side. Remove from the pan and add the diced shallots, chopped garlic, anchovies and capers. Cook over medium heat until golden.
Return the chicken to the pan and add the sage. Add the water and vinegar, and return to the boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure you incorporate the nice golden bits of crud - they're what makes the sauce delicious. Simmer for around 15 minutes to reduce the sauce.
To make the roux, mix the butter and the cornflour until all traces of the flour are incorporated. Mix into the sauce and stir until thickened.
To serve, place chicken thighs over your favourite roasted vegetables. Spoon over the sauce.