Sunday, February 18, 2007

Just like chicken pot pie--without the pie.

Yesterday I decided that the chicken thighs in the freezer were lonely. Not coincidentally, Jenny's in Michigan (she's vegetarian) and I had Lauren coming over for dinner before we went to the big CCE Hall of Fame ceili out in Long Island.

So, what to do with those suckers? I thought of coq au vin first, but we didn't have any wine in the house, and my primary constraint was that I didn't want to have to go shopping, so that was out. The fridge was (and still is) fairly empty at this stage--last week I forgot to put a bunch of stuff on Fresh Direct order--but I did have a few staples. (Mmmmm, stapled chicken!) I had the makings of roasted vegetables (sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, a parsnip, and garlic, with rosemary on top--just your average tray of roasted veg), so I fecked that into the oven first.

While that was cooking, I sauteed a leek, carrots, and celery with garlic, oregano, and thyme, and browned the chicken in a combination of butter and olive oil. Took the chicken out, made a roux, and then tossed in the sauteed vegetables and the chicken, plus some vegetable stock (from a cube, alas--no time yet to make new stock). At some point I discovered some mushrooms and put them in as well. I let that cook down into a gravy, and there was dinner! Lauren and I decided that it was just like the innards of chicken pot pie, but without the crust--and that the crust would have made it even better. Thinking about it today, the other thing it was missing was peas (were peas?).

In the meantime, Lauren made a nice salad with Boston lettuce and endive, with a balsamic/oil/grapefruit dressing. Fennel was supposed to go in too, but the shop didn't have it.

Now I wish I had leftovers of the chicken...which means--you guessed it--I might be making this again tomorrow!

The Hall of Fame ceremony was nice. Don Meade spoke about Dermot and Mary Coogan talked about her father Jim. I was particularly amazed by how well-spoken Mary was, and her father only these two months dead. They showed session footage of both Dermot and Jim--we missed the clips of Dermot, having arrived late--but it was a nice remembrance of both of them. Though, as several folks pointed out, it's a shame they weren't inducted into the Hall of Fame while they were still alive. Of course, Joanie Madden accepted her award herself, and I believe she's the first woman to receive the award while she's still alive. Her speech was short and sweet--a good thing, as everyone was getting antsy by then--especially the dancers.

A sizeable crowd, a newly-renovated hall (the Irish-American hall in Mineola), and some fun chats with people, including Rose Flanagan, Jimmy Kelly, Paul Keating, and plenty more I'm just not thinking of at the moment. At some point, we discovered Mike Rafferty, Willie Kelly, Felix Dolan, Donna Long, and Laura Byrne upstairs having a quiet tune. Tim Collins was around as well, but wasn't in the session at that moment. I didn't take the fiddle (yes, I know--it's probably a first, me not taking the fiddle, but I knew I wasn't in for the long haul), so no tunes for me, but I was very glad for some lovely subtle mellow music to balance the high-energy ceili band stuff downstairs.

The Book I'm Not Reading (but will very soon): Don Kulick's Language Shift and Cultural Reproduction: Socialization, Self, and Syncretism in a Papua New Guinean Village.

1 comment:

An Briosca Mor said...

Tes, I remember well that night when you got introduced to Jim Coogan. Given all the hype beforehand - "Big CCE session guy coming to town!" Thank you, Trish Callahan - I think we were all pretty disappointed. (I also remember that night because it was the first time I'd been invited to the annual Doc winter session. Because of the Coogan thing, got there late and had to sit around the corner from most of the crowd. It was only after being there for an hour or so that I realized Billy was there.) Although I never did warm to Jim's round-robin session approach (as I recall we were subjected to it once or twice at Nanny's as well) he was a nice guy and I always enjoyed seeing him at East Durham or at Gaelic Roots when he came there. He had a lot of tunes in him that no one else really plays much any more, because they're not jigs or reels.

Mary Coogan I've known since long before I ever met Jim, because CTL used to play the Glen Echo/Wolf Trap/Fairgrounds festival every year. I've always really liked her. She's kind of quiet, but underneath you can tell there's a really strong woman there. (Maybe being around outsized personalities like her father and Joanie Madden so much she finds it hard to get a word in edgewise?)

I never got to meet Dermot Grogan or hear him live, but I associate him with some very sweet tunes. There's a hornpipe he played on the Wooden Flute Obsession CD that I've picked up, and several years ago Joe DeZarn had a couple of very nice reels that he had picked up from Linda Hickman that had no name other than Dermot Grogan's. I'm pretty sure Linda picked them up from the man himself. I learned them from Joe, and in the course of playing them and hearing other CDs they turned out to be unique settings of a couple of very standard tunes, The Dawn and The Navvy on the Line. I should resurrect those settings and start playing them again...

Now, a short and sweet speech from Joanie Madden. When has that ever happened before?