First in the Nation – Primary Day in New Hampshire & Oven Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions & Garlic

I_votedThose of us lucky enough to live in New Hampshire have lots to be proud of. (Yes, yes, I know. For the grammar police, that should be … lots of which to be proud.) Anyway, our glorious foliage in the fall is world famous. But that’s not all. Our state offers beautiful lakes for swimming, waterskiing and sailing, country roads for cycling and mountains for skiing and hiking. And finally, more than a few luminaries hail from the Granite State. Bode Miller, Robert Frost and the Budweiser Clydesdales are the first that come to mind.

Then, every four years, our brilliant leaves and wonderful outdoorsy activities pale in comparison to the hoopla created around our first in the nation primary. As for those famous faces? We’ll brag about them again later. For now, they take a backseat to the notables who travel our highways and byways during primary season. Suddenly, our little state is the place to be.

The excitement goes on for months. The candidates were here last summer to march in Fourth of July parades, still here in October to buy pumpkins for Halloween and back again in December to pick up their Christmas trees. Unlike the rest of the country, except of course for Iowa who threw their caucus last week, we get to see all of the presidential candidates up front and personal.

Followed by packs of handlers and journalists, they hold court in town halls and coffee shops. We have a front row seat to their every move. And, if by chance we miss something, well, the leading story on the evening news invariably starts with, “In New Hampshire today …”

Admittedly, this election has been more entertaining than most. Neither Barnum nor Baily could have staged a more interesting spectacle. Sometimes inspiring, other times infuriating, frightening, or laugh out loud funny, no one can deny the theatrical quality of this particular election. Part pep rally, part revival meeting, part over-rehearsed and part improvisation, it is the best reality television has to offer. From the soft-spoken few to the wild-eyed and impassioned many, none of the candidates are short on declarations, recriminations, claims and counterclaims. Look up melodrama in an on-line dictionary and you’ll find multiple links to the 2016 primary campaign.

Speaking of Barnum and Bailey, the republicans started out with enough candidates to fill a clown car. (It’s true; I checked the math.) Party establishment types, upstarts, a billionaire and a brain surgeon, jammed into the car. While the republican field still has plenty of candidates, several have been trumped. Their numbers are rapidly dwindling and the clown car is now half-empty. Or should I say half-full? Anyway, I expect that the New Hampshire primary will help to weed out a few more.

What about the democrats? In the early days of the campaign, the rivalry on the democratic side was not so much dull as nonexistent. Forget the clown car; a unicycle was about all the democrats needed for their parade. Then, one of our neighbors from Vermont, stepped into the race. Democrats across the Granite State and across the country are feeling the Bern. The democratic run to the convention may have fewer players but the contest is getting more and more interesting.

The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting cloudy skies and a chance of scattered snow flurries on primary day. Assuming that the farmer is correct and you have some flexibility as to when you go to the polls, you’ll have no excuse to stay home. Besides, they’ll give you an I VOTED TODAY sticker. With any luck, that sticker will buy you a free cup of coffee or a doughnut. If not, well then, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you did your part and contributed to the democratic process.

Don’t forget to vote and bon appétit!

Oven Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions & Garlic
In the old days, politicians promised a chicken in every pot. Try this one on primary night. You’ll be glad you did. Enjoy!
Serves 4

2-3 ounces thick cut bacon, chopped
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
About 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup or more dry white wine
1/2 cup or more chicken broth
4 ounces fresh (peeled and trimmed) or frozen pearl onions
4-6 cloves garlic, trimmed, peeled and left whole
8 ounces whole mushrooms, trimmed and cut in half or quarters

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a skillet large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer in the oven for 10 minutes.

Put the bacon in a skillet and place over medium-low heat. Stirring occasion, cook until the bacon is crisp. Reserve.

Sprinkle the chicken with half of the herbs de Provence and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, skin-side down in the hot skillet. Return the pan to the oven and roast the chicken at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

While the chicken roasts, put the onions, mushrooms and garlic in a bowl, sprinkle with the remaining herbs, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Add the bacon and drizzle with enough bacon fat to lightly coat and toss again.

Put the mustard in a measuring cup or small bowl, whisking constantly slowly add the wine and broth.

Turn the chicken, add the wine and broth mixture and scatter the mushrooms, onions and garlic around the pan. Return the pan to the oven. Adding more wine and broth if necessary, continue roasting until the chicken is cooked through and golden and the vegetables are tender and caramelized, 30-45 minutes more.

Serve the chicken thighs with a spoonful of mushrooms, onion and garlic.

A great dish for a party, double or triple the recipe use a large roasting pan. This recipe is very forgiving. If dinner is delayed, add more broth and wine, reduce the oven temperature and let it bubble for an additional 30, even 45, minutes. It can also be made ahead and reheated.

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Two Years Ago – Sour Cream Cupcakes with White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting
Three Years Ago – White Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Coulis & Fresh Raspberries
Four Years Ago – Mixed Greens with Roasted Beets & Lentils
Five Years Ago – Chicken Niçoise
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Seven Years Ago – Triple Threat Brownies

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

How are you doing with your resolutions? Are you resolute or not? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2016

6 thoughts on “First in the Nation – Primary Day in New Hampshire & Oven Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Onions & Garlic

  1. Some of the grammar police would also object to “lots.” Ahem. But that chicken does look perfect for today, especially for us who had to dig snow before we could get out to vote. We’d likely use our own leeks, rather than onions, but that’s a personal quirk.
    In our household, though, today’s dinner will be scrod — Market Basket had a special we couldn’t pass up. Oh, yes, among those things we proudly enjoy is fresh seafood.
    I’m getting hungry already!


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