Supermarket roast chicken, as I’ve mentioned before, can be a great time-saver. After a long day of work, I, for one, have no patience with any meal that will take me longer than 30 minutes from opening the fridge with the blank look on my face to sitting down to a steaming plate of lovely.
Earlier this week, I stripped a couple of roast chickens, diced up the meat, and put it in a nice zip-top freezer bag in the fridge. In my freezer, I had some diced green, yellow, and orange bell pepper, and some sweet peas. I peeled and sliced an onion into leaves (peel, cut in half across the rings, cut 1/4 inch slices into the onion at angles directed toward the center, then twiddle the wedges in-between your fingers to separate the onions into leaves). I put some A/P flour in a sautee pan and turned the heat up to high, grabbed a whisk and gave it a turn through the flour to keep it from burning up in the pan. The goal is to toast off the flour so its a nice light toasty beige. I then added an equal amount of butter. That, folks, is a roux. I had some vegetable stock left over from a previous recipe, so that got whisked into the mix along with some cayenne pepper and a little garlic powder. I then took a few handfuls of that precooked diced chicken and stirred it into the gravy.
While all of that was going on, the frozen peas, onion, and peppers were sautee-ing in a little olive oil and butter. Why both? Olive oil tastes delicious but gets weird at high heat. Butter will burn up at high heat. Put them both together and you can sautee in the combination without burning up either one. All of the veggies softened up very nicely, so they got seasoned with some dried basil, and dried thyme and some of that orange mystery dry Latino seasoning (Adobo, Relajo Molido, etc.). It goes by a bunch of different names, but it adds a nice flavor and color to chicken-based dishes. Once the veggies are soft and well sauteed, add them into the chicken and gravy mixture. You might need to thin out this mixture a bit, as that roux does thicken well, and will sometimes tighten-up a bit too far. You can either add some of that leftover veggie stock, or do as I did, which was while you were preparing garlic smashers https://gojohnego1.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/cuisine-a-plate-of-comfort-garlic-smashers-in-gravy/, dip a ladle into the potato water and whisk that gradually into the chicken and gravy until it thins up to where you want it to be. For this recipe, I didn’t want the garlic. Instead I added about 2 teaspoons of Hendricks Gin to the mashed potatoes. If you don’t have that, try the same measure of dry vermouth. You won’t really taste the Gin, but it does wonderful things to the depth of potato flavor.
Then take a teaspoon of room temperature butter and stir that in. That will make the gravy shine and the mouth feel round and delicious. Butter does that. Its butter’s job.