This one-pan chicken and potato thyme meal is what you make to avoid a long-term prison sentence.
I’m on week 2 of being without an oven. Correction: Ovensssssssssssssss. Two weeks without both of my ovens. Fabulous how first world problems work, isn’t it? Don’t fret. The privilege my complaint exudes is not lost on me. I know that there are millions, if not billions, of people in the world who would be grateful to have an oven, and here I am complaining about my ovens not working. I know and appreciate that I’m in, like, the top 2% of the world’s population (or whatever bogus statistic exists for comparing such benign things). I, however, would be willing to wager a couple hundred dollars that those who aren’t as fortunate to have two ovens, yes, even they would be annoyed that their one oven -that they would appreciate having- is broken for 2 weeks. See, how that works? Even though you appreciate it, you still get miffed when it doesn’t work.
Which is the case with mine. I’ve surpassed being frustrated at having to deal with it for so long. I don’t think there’s a word in use that accurately describes the level of pissed-offedness I’m currently experiencing. I don’t know if I’m more upset with the lack of skilled tradesmen to repair the ovens or the customer service reps who’s lives have to be utterly abhorent. It’s the only way I can rationalize why they’re so rude and nasty. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the main reason why we have to deal with the frustration of shotty service is a direct result of no one caring about quality anymore. I mean think about it: our grandparents used to go out and buy cars that could drive through buildings and be left with only a scratch. Now, cars are as durable as their Tonka counterpart. I’m serious! Have you ever slammed your finger in the door of an old ’67 mustang? I did, in my Dad’s car, and it shut. All. The. Way. My thumb suffered horribly thanks to good ol’ American engineering. But that car was durable and it lasted. It lasted because it was made well, with quality parts, by people who were true tradesmen in their field. Now? We’re stuck with $40K go-carts.
This has been the saga that is my oven repair, or lack thereof. I, like most American homeowners, have a home warranty service. I have one, not because I need one, but because everyone else said we needed one. See, that old witch of a concept called “Peer Pressure” totally doesn’t go away because you’ve graduated from high school and have stretch marks from motherhood. No, it rears its ugly head by telling you need what the neighbors say you need. I just have to keep up with the Joneses’, or the Garcia’s, or the Lee’s. I thought I was better than that- turns out I’m not! Here I am stuck paying a monthly fee for a service that allows my oven to sit broken for two weeks awaiting a competent appliance repair company to sashay into my kitchen and fix the God-forsaken things.
I think it was 1 week and 4 days before it dawned on me and I declared, “Damn them! I’m leaving the company.” Now, why it took me almost going to prison for attempting to track down a rude customer service rep and strangle her with her own headset cable is beyond me, but hey! Thank God for revelations, right?!?! So, I called up “the helpful home repair insurance company” and cancelled my contract. I also called up the “appliance repair” company and let them know I was done with them too…but, my ovens are still broke. So, I am awaiting the arrival of a new (hopefully more competent) repair company.
Whilst I wait, I’m needing to be more creative in my meals.
Posting on social media has revealed to me the fact that I’m one of the very few amongst my followers who use their oven every single day. In my house, every day, at least one component of one of our three meals is prepared using in the oven. I kind of rely on the damned thing. I never knew how much until this mess started. If you could peek into my home and watch how meal planning and preparation went, I’m sure you’d get a huge kick out of it.
“Ma, what are we going to eat for dinner?”
“Well, we can’t have meatloaf because we need the oven. Can’t do lasagna either…what about pasta alfredo…no, we don’t have enough parmesan. Oh! Look here’s some frozen pizza dough I made last week, let’s have pizza.”
“Ma, we need an oven for that.”
“Damn it!!! Hot dogs! We’re having hot dogs!!”
You take for granted just turning the doggone things on and living your life.
In this way, my creativity has developed. Trying to come up with new recipes that would create something oven-like, without the oven.
This one-pan chicken and potato meal was the culmination of day where I posted scathing reviews on every internet search site I could google. Let’s just say, I used my best homeschool mom grammar, coupled with my fiercest NYC attitude. By the end of the day, I was exhausted- mentally, emotionally and physically. I had a whole chicken thawing in the fridge because I truly believed that my oven would be fixed when the repairman said it would. Silly, Marta. Don’t you know they just like watching your little heart being crushed into a 1,001 little pieces? My oven wasn’t fixed that day, so I pulled out my chicken, spatchcocked* it and seasoned it with my meat spice blend; I was stalling for time in trying to figure out what to do with it, is what I was really doing.
Finally, I decided to pull out the old cast iron skillet and reverse a braising process on it. Let’s see how this turns out. Well, turn out it did and now being without my oven, while it still sucks, doesn’t feel like a handicap. I’m still heated that I don’t have them…two weeks later…and right before Thanksgiving…with a company of Soldiers invited to come eat…but I’m optimistic. Either I’ll get my ovens fixed, or the Soldier will get so tired of me crying he’ll buy me new ones. We’ll see what happens first.
What do you think? Has customer service gone out of the window? What’s been your experience (good or bad) with customer service? Tell me below.
*spatchcock(ing) is removing the backbone of poultry to allow it to lie flat. This process is usually done in preparation for grilling, but as you’ll see here, it works great for this reverse braising technique.
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, separated
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced, separated
- 1 bunch (about 8 oz) baby kale
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 3-4lb roaster, backbone removed and laid flat
- 2 tbsp meat spice blend (link in post)
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup dry white wine (sauvignon or chardonnay)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 medium sized gold Yukon potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 sprig thyme, de-stemmed
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- On a large platter, season the chicken, on both sides, with the spice blend. Set aside while you precook the kale.
- In a large skillet (I prefer cast iron), heat 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on med-high. When the oil begins to ripple around the sides of the pan, add 1 clove of garlic and sauté for 2 mins.
- Add the kale leaves and cook for 7 minutes or until tender and wilted. Season with the crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and pepper and the lemon juice. Set aside and keep warm while you prepare the remainder of the meal.
- Wipe out the skillet and add the water. Bring to a boil and add the chicken skin side up. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. It's okay if the water evaporates, don't replenish it as, ultimately, we will need it to boil off.
- Once the chicken has cooked lift it, carefully, out of the pan and set it on a plate. Raise the temperature to med-high.
- Pour in 2 tbsp of olive oil. Heat the oil until it ripples and place the chicken into the pan, skin side down.
- Allow to sear for 6-7 minutes or until the skin is crisp and a nice brown.
- Turn over and allow to sear on the other side for an additional 6 minutes.
- Remove from the pan, tent a piece of aluminum foil over it to retain the heat, and allow to rest while you prepare the potatoes.
- First, deglaze the pan with the white wine, by pouring it into the pan and scraping up the yummy bits with a wooden spoon. Allow the wine to nearly evaporate. You want about a ¼ of a cup to remain.
- Add the butter and allow to melt. Stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to medium, and add the shallot and the remaining garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the sliced potatoes in a circular, overlapping pattern to the pan.
- Lower the heat, cover and allow the potatoes to steam in the demi-glace for 10 minutes.
- Add the reserved kale to the pan in a single, even layer. Cover and allow to reheat with the potatoes for 5 minutes.
- While the kale is reheating, cut the chicken into serving pieces and place on top of the kale.
- Remove from heat and serve directly from the pan.