With our weird schedule this semester, Tuesday night dinner pretty much falls on me unless we want to eat at 9 PM.  Since that’s past both Hazel’s and my bedtime, we do not.  I try to cook early so that we can all eat together in the few minutes between Amos arriving home after ending his class at 6 PM and me trying to leave to see Glee at my mama’s at 7.  Tonight, or rather this afternoon, I decided to try my hand at braising meat.  This is one of my favorite ways to eat meat; I mean, it just simmers and cooks and gets lovely in a delicious sauce.  I’ve never done it before, preferring to leave this method to Amos because he adores cooking meat this way, but tonight we had chicken that needed cooking and a mama who had to cook.  And thus I commenced the braisin’!

And it was easy!  Seriously, I was surprised at the tiny and easy amount of work involved in this method.  Using our cast iron Dutch oven, I first browned the chicken so that pulling off the skin would be easier.  A bonus to this tip is all the brown, crunchy bits the chicken leaves behind on the pan; in this house we call that flavor.  While that was happening I cut up onions, carrots, and celery for the sauce and twodelicata squash for our side dish.  While the chicken was cooling, I sauteed the veggies in some olive oil and salt in the Dutch oven, and as soon as they got kind of soft I added a jar of canned tomatoes from my grandma, basil, parsley, a little more salt, and pepper, and got that to boiling.  Once some of the water boils out, put the skinless chicken into the pan, cut the heat down to medium or med-low, and put the lid on.  From this point on it’s smooth sailing; I let this chicken cook about an hour, and if you feel like your sauce is too watery near the end, just take off the lid and cut the heat back up to boil some of it out.  EASY!

About half an hour before you expect your chicken to be done, you can brush the squash rings with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them for about 25-30 minutes.  You don’t even have to PEEL this cuties!  That is what I am talking about – low maintenance, delicious winter squashes.  I love ’em.

And that’s it!  It was really easy, with minimal clean-up and massively awesome results.

And I have to add in this picture, even though it has nothing to do with squash or braising chicken.  Mama bought Hazel some overalls this weekend that are regrettably too small, but she did look awfully cute when we tried them on early this morning 🙂


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