How to make dinner for three days

You need a chicken, half a pound of lamb mince (or beef if no lamb), raisins, two onions, a leek, a container of mushrooms, a handful of pancetta or lardons (or 3 slices of bacon if no pancetta or lardons), olive oil, apple juice, herbs, salt, pepper, honey, a small amount of dried porcini (or nothing if no porcini), flour, an egg, and lots of rice.

I’m assuming two people, but if you’re just one person it would make dinner for six days. If you are four people, get two chickens and a pound of mince and just double everything.

If you are a busy person who works and comes in wanting dinner, you could do all the work on Sunday.

First Dinner: Roast Chicken

3 hours before dinner: Take the chicken out of the fridge, make a cup of basmati saffron rice with a handful of raisins in the rice cooker. You make saffron rice by boiling a pint of water and adding a few shreds of saffron and a smidge of honey, and then pouring that over the rice and raisins in the rice cooker. (It’s fine to do this the day before and eat half of it then and use the rest cold.)

2.5 hours before dinner: Chop an onion and a third of a leek and saute them in olive oil until clear. Add half your lardons/pancetta/bacon. Then add the rice, stir, turn off heat, add two spoonfuls of Greek or Italian herbs, or whatever herbs you like, and a slosh of apple juice.

Pre-heat oven to 180 C.

Take the rice mix, which is now definted as “stuffing”, and open the chicken up and stuff it in, using a metal spoon and brute force. It won’t all fit, and that’s fine, pack it as tight as you can and let the rest sit in front of the chicken in the pan.

Pour a slosh of olive oil over the chicken. Pour a slosh of apple juice over the olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs (as above) and salt and pepper. Take a teaspoon of honey and drizzle it over the chicken. With an ordinary fork, stab the breast twice on each side and each leg once.

Put into the oven

Dinner time: take out, eat with any vegetables or salad you want. Scoop out all the rice stuffing. Carve so that you eat one breast and one leg and as many wings as you want. (I eat a leg, and E eats a breast, and I have the wings cold for breakfast, but that’s up to you. If you are one person, then half the rice stuffing and a leg or more are for another day’s dinner.)

After dinner: strip whatever is left off the chicken. There’ll be a whole breast, a leg, and some other bits of meat. Take all the meat off the leg, Put the meat in a tupperware in the fridge.

Take the carcase and the leg bones and whatever juice/jelly is left in the dish. Put it all into a saucepan, and add 2 pints of cold water and a big teaspoon of herbs salee. (If no herbs salee, then salt, pepper, herbs, a little bit of leek. But herbs salee is totally worth it). Bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for an hour. Cool, put in tupperware in the fridge.

Second Dinner: Meatballs!

Three hours before dinner, put about a teaspoon of porcini to soak in about a quarter of a pint of water. If you don’t have it, consider a trip to Italy to get some. You know it makes sense.

An hour and a half before dinner, chop half an onion and a third of a leek and saute them in olive oil until clear.

While they’re doing, finely chop the other half of the onion and the last third of the leek. Put them in a bowl.

Add the rest of the pancetta or lardons (or chopped bacon) to the saute pan.

In the bowl with the finely chopped stuff, add the ground lamb (or beef), 2 ounces of flour, herbs, salt, pepper, a slosh of apple juice, and an egg. If you have it, you can add a tablespoon of apple jelly.

Add some flour to the saute pan, stir. Add the porcini and liquid if you have it. (You could add a splash of soy sauce if not, maybe?) Add the tupperware of chicken stock from yesterday. Stir. Turn heat off. Put oven on to 180 C. (It’s 350 F, actually.)

Look at the minced meat and etc in the bowl. Get an oven dish the right size to hold 16 meatballs and put it on the counter nearby. Wash your hands thoroughly. Take a deep breath and put both hands into the stuff. There, that wasn’t as bad as you thought. Using all your fingers, mix it thoroughly, with a twisting motion that mixes it together. When it is all mixed, squidge it into sixteen equally sized meatballs, using techniques you remember learning in kindergarten. Put each meatball into the oven dish when done. When all sixteen are done, wash your hands again. (If you’re doing this on Sunday night, stop at this point and refrigerate everything until you’re ready to be 45 minutes before dinner.) Then pour all the liquid from the saute pan over the meatballs. You think there’s too much? There isn’t. (If it really won’t fit in the pan, save some in a tupperware.) Optionally, sprinkle them with pizza mozzarella or other cheese. Put the dish in the oven. Put some rice in the rice cooker. (This is also good with pasta, if you prefer.)

Eat dinner in 45 mins. Eat 6 meatballs each, with whatever salad or vegetables, this is really great with green beans or peas. Put the remaining meatballs and all the remaining liquid in a tupperware and in the fridge.

Third Dinner: Leftovers Supreme

Well, you’ve got to call things something. This is the whole point of the exercise.

30 minutes before dinner put rice in the rice cooker. Put the oven to heat 180 C. (I suspect you could also microwave this. I haven’t tried, as I don’t have a microwave, but it seems plausible that you could.)

Then cut up the leftover chicken and put it in an oven dish. Take the leftover meatballs and, with a spoon, break them up into the sauce. Then put them and the sauce over the chicken. Put them in the oven for 20 minutes.

Eat with rice and whatever vegetables or salad. You think now that it will be disgusting, but it is really so delicious. And you literally cannot have it except by doing this for days and making it from leftovers. The first time I did it as improvisation, and since then I have been doing it on purpose because it’s great.

(If you are one person, you’re going to have this for two days, and you’re going to have meatballs for two days. But if you want, you can do something else with the other day’s portion of chicken.)



Posted in Life as it blossoms out in a jar or a face, Whimsy