While I was driving along listening to a Prairie Home Companion radio broadcast, Garrison Keillor referred to condensed, cream of mushroom soup as “Lutheran thickener”. I had to pull over in order to keep the car under control and stop laughing. When I’m not in the mood to make a complex dish I turn to my favorite quick and easy recipes, and yes, some have “Lutheran thickener” in them. Like many dishes of this kind they make enough to feed a large group or become a couple of meals for us with smaller families. These dishes all have chicken in them – I love chicken – but these tasty and distinctive recipes have flavor profiles all their own.
The first dish is an easy one from The Joy Of Cooking cookbook. Chicken Paprika, served over rice or egg noodles, with a vegetable on the side, makes an easy and intensely flavorful meal for 4 – 6. This dish takes about an hour to prepare. The combination of paprika and sour cream are sensational. I sometimes add sauteed mushrooms for a little extra texture and flavor.
The next dish, Chicken Enchilada Bake, is quite good, makes for great leftovers, and reserves some chicken and broth for another dish. Two for one. This can be made as mild or spicy as you like by omitting or adding your favorite Mexican spices. I’ve found that using grated cheddar cheese exclusively tends to make the dish a little greasy so I recommend using a mixture of half cheddar and half pepper jack cheese between the layers. Giving credit where credit is due, this recipe was given to me by my brother’s girlfriend – an excellent cook. Thank you Diane and Steve.
And finally, here is a dish that you can make a little or a lot. The dish is officially called Chicken Catalan but I like to think of it as a chicken paella. With the rich taste and scent of saffron, and the distinctive flavors of chorizo and olives, this is a dish that is always satisfying and comforting. Given that it can easily be doubled or tripled, and prepared ahead of time, we have served this at large parties to great acclaim.