This happens occasionally. I cook something new that accommodates the tastes of my diners, decide I like it very much, and then, too lazy to come up with a fresh idea that caters to everybody’s extreme pickiness, I repeat the recipe until I feel like I am in the movie, Groundhog day and change is essential. I just completed such a cycle with Sunday Hash.
I was feeding the usual picky eaters, and decided to simply assemble a cluster of ingredients that I knew everyone liked—a very short list—and see what developed.
Since Tom was involved, it had to be chicken-based. White meat chicken. )His taste in food is like that of a ten-year-old boy’s—not to insult that cute demographic.
I got ground chicken, a risky change of format, sautéed it and mixed it with vegetables. Carrots and celery were acceptable, but I lied about the leeks as usual, pretending they are no relation to the onion family, but instead a distant cousin of bok choy. Thus I had the basis for something to which I could sneak in some shredded kale and some quinoa pasta.
The rest is history. The hash was a massive success and I have made it over and over again. I have to move on now, reassemble the tiny list of approved ingredients, and invent something else.
Uh, maybe I’ll do that next week. Meanwhile, you should try this. You may be joining me in the rut.
8 ounces quinoa spaghetti
1 zucchini, grated
Extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces ground chicken breast
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 leeks, rinsed and sliced, white part only
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup diced celery
1 big handful shredded lacinta kale (stems and ribs removed)
2 Tbls. chopped parsley
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup chicken broth
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
1. Break the spaghetti into two-inch pieces. Cook it according to the directions on the package and set it aside. Lightly salt the grated zucchini and place it in a colander to drain for about ten minutes.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the chicken, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and cook until all the pink is gone and chicken is cooked through. Set the chicken aside and wipe out the pan.
3. Heat another tablespoon or so of oil in the pan and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook another five minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the leeks translucent.
4. While the veggies cook, squeeze the zucchini with your hands to extract the moisture, and set it aside.
5. Add the zucchini, kale, parsley and thyme to the vegetable mixture and cook for a couple minutes, stirring. Add the broth and cover the pan to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
6. Add the chicken and the pasta to the pan and stir to combine and reheat the ingredients. Serve hot with cheese on the side if desired.