For the last few days, my allergies have been slapping me around. The winters in this part of Canada are long, with an extended period of snow cover. This allows whatever was buried beneath to go stagnant in a way. And with the odd freeze/thaw cycles we had throughout this past winter, it also gave opportunity for the proliferation of snow mould. Essentially, this is when the dessicated matter like leaves and dead grass grow mould. If it was covered by snow and extremely cold for the bulk of the winter, this wouldn’t be an issue, but with this year’s weather, it made a “bumper crop” of snow mould…..And I’m a scratchy-throated, drippy-nosed mess.
….Throw in the Daylight Savings thing and I need to take extreme measures to feel better.
I had the typical tea and honey to soothe the throat. A nice little tea shoppe not far from where I live takes care of me that way….
The next step I take seems counter-intuitive. I make a sore throat burn with spicy food. Part of the reasoning is based in organic chemistry. To put it simply, the active compound in chillis, act to break apart mucus of any kind. And if your immune system is a little low and susceptible to other infections (colds, flus), then it will also make your throat an inhospitable environment for anything new to grow.
…..Enough dork-speak, time for Volcano Gravy!!!
Herbed Roast Chicken Thighs with Volcano Gravy
For the Herbed Roast Chicken Thighs:
4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone-in (because it has more flavour and maintains moisture better)
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped (this is where I use those interior stalks from the head of celery with the gnarly leaves and odd shaped stalks)
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp dried thyme (or 1/4 cup fresh)
2 Tbsp dried sage (or 1/4 cup fresh)
1/4 cup softened butter
1 cup water
2 or 3 red finger chillis, roughly chopped (for the gravy)
Prepared rustic skin-on mashed potatoes, to serve (if you want, the gravy is fine as a dip for the roast chicken if you wanna eat it caveman style)
Preheat oven to 190C/375F.
In a 20cm/9″ square roasting pan/cake pan, scatter the onions, celery, carrots and parsnips along the bottom.
Lay the chicken thighs, bone-side down over the vegetables. Smear the tops with softened butter and sprinkle the dried herbs over the top of the chicken and amongst the vegetables. Add the water to just cover the bottom of the pan and place in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes (chicken thighs are pretty forgiving, a few extra minutes won’t hurt. Especially good for people that aren’t feeling well and bending over into a hot oven haha!)
Once roasted, remove the chicken from the pan and keep in a warm place (if you’re making mashed potatoes, turn on the pot at this point while you prepare the gravy. If not, just dunk the chicken in the gravy. You’re an adult, go nuts!!). Transfer the roasting vegetables and juices from the pan to a blender and purée until smooth. At this point it would be a perfectly fine, regular gravy (or add 1/2 cup chicken stock and reduce with 1 Tbsp butter + 1 Tbsp flour stirred into a paste to make a larger amount of gravy), but because I wanted to add more spice, I added 2 fresh red chillis to the blender.
Once smooth, I transferred it to a small pan and heated it back up as I mashed potatoes. Proceed with caution, this doesn’t mess around. Serves 4 brave souls (or portion out 1/4 of the vegetable purée, add the chillis and serve everyone else regular gravy. It’s okay to be accommodating of others, even when you’re not feeling 100%.