Being away from the United States almost makes one forget about the crazy hubbub that is the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. With incessant Christmas songs playing on the radio and the decorations springing up on homes across America, these four weeks are bookended by huge family-oriented holidays that typically include feasting!
For a pretty white-bread family, mine has run the gamut on celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas. There was the time that we went to Quebec City with my grandmother and I had a shaved head from being in a play. Or that other time when we went to see Mission Impossible 4 in theaters on Christmas Day with my dad. Or that time we watched all three Scream movies back to back. At any rate, being in Georgia has distanced me from all of that. Instead, I have to make my own holidays!
A few weeks ago, I gathered some of the TLG staff at my apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving Day and Giorgoba in hybridized form. It was a great success! We had a pot-luck supper with everyone contributing something and I got to spend some time with some coworkers away from the office. A strong premise, right? Well traditional or no, what nostalgia-chasing Thanksgiving party would be complete without Turkey?
Sadly, my soviet oven is not large enough to hold an entire turkey, or so I tell myself. Truth be told, my cooking skills are not good enough to cook a turkey and I didn’t want to schlep out to a GoodWill somewhere to get a turkey. So with a little substitution here, and some white lies there, was born my brand new, modified recipe to spice up any holiday!
Instead of turkey, I decided to make chicken! But in order to make it seem festive (and to trick my guests) I called it “Baby Turkey”. With Thanksgiving behind us, let’s go ahead and call it “Baby Christmas Goose”.
Baby Christmas Goose Saperavi
Prep and Cooking time: 45 minutes
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (Baby geese), 6 to 7 ounces each
6 to 8 tablespoons butter (or as much as you think looks good)
1/2 cup all purpose flour, seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (about 1 1/2 pounds or one kilo)
1 cup dry marsala (or Saperavi, in this case! Just make sure it’s a red wine)
Foods that your friends bring to your pot-luck holiday.
1. Flatten each half breast between using the palm of your hand. Set aside. Pretend you’re in a tiny version of Rocky where you’re training for the big fight by punching some meat!
2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large, lidded pan over medium-high heat. This means the flame should be like 3/4 of an inch tall. If you’ve got the same stove as me anyway.
3. When foam subsides, lightly dredge 4 half breasts in flour and fry them quickly on both sides just until golden brown. Remove from pan and keep warm while you cook remaining pieces of floured chicken (add a little additional butter if necessary [Or because butter is awesome]). Remove from pan.
4. To same pan, add 3 tablespoons butter (Oh yeah, baby!). When it has melted, add mushrooms. Stir to coat evenly with butter and cook 2 minutes.
5. Return chicken to pan. Add wine. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook gently on top of stove or in oven until chicken is cooked through. (This takes from 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size of breasts and how far you cooked them initially.) Do make sure the chicken–I mean, baby goose–is cooked through. The last thing anyone wants is to get salmonella for Christmas!
6. Uncover pan, remove chicken, and keep warm. Raise heat and reduce liquid until it thickens to consistency of syrup. (A spoon will
leave a trail when drawn across bottom of pan.) Taste sauce and correct seasoning. Return chicken to sauce and coat each breast. Bring out the chi–baby geese on a plate, preferably several of the mismatched floral print plates that came with your apartment. Unveil them and place special emphasis on calling them “Baby Geese”. Enjoy!
Yield: 8 servings
The only real drawback to lying to your guests about what you’re feeding them is that some people might be allergic to chicken (is that a thing?) or might be very disappointed that they hadn’t actually been eating goose all along. You have been warned.
The dinner was a great success and everyone loved the food, the drink, the cakes, and the baby turkey! Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays!