On June 29th the Church celebrates the Feast Day of Saints Peter and Paul. As early as the year 258, there is evidence supporting the celebration of the solemnities of both saints together. While the two knew of one another, you really couldn’t classify them as friends or even associates.
Paul met with Peter and other Pillars of the Church of Jerusalem only twice. The first time they met was in Antioch. It did not go well, and the two men had a falling out. The second time was in Rome, where they would both die as martyrs, although not on the same day, not even in the same year.
Two men could not have been further apart. Peter was not just a follower, he was one of the Twelve. Peter witnessed Jesus firsthand. Jesus called Peter the rock on which he would build His church. Paul, when he was known as Saul, was a devoted Jew and Pharisee. He persecuted Christians without mercy in early years of the faith. Yet we know that Saul met the risen Lord on the road to Damascus. Jesus called him Paul, and gave him the task to proclaim the good news of salvation to both the children of Israel and the Gentiles. Both these men were instrumental in the establishment of the Church and are forever linked. Many Catholic Churches bear their names.
I was baptized at Saint Peter’s Catholic Church, and made my First Communion at Saint Paul’s. It seems only fitting on this, their Feast Day, that I share a meal often present at our family table. My Dad was born in Oklahoma. He knew a thing or two about southern cooking and can make a gravy out of just about anything. My Mom was born in the Philippines. Rice was present at just about every meal from breakfast to supper. While my childhood friends had Fried Chicken with Pan Gravy and Mashed Potatoes, we had ours with Sticky Rice instead. I like to call this supper A Little Bit Okie, A Little Bit Asian, too. Like my parents, the rice and country gravy truly are great together.
Okie Fried Chicken and Asian Rice with Gravy
2 cups White Rice
3 cups Water
1 cup Chicken Stock
Pinch Kosher Salt
Place rice in a saucepan with water and chicken stock. Add a pinch of Kosher Salt.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Keep warm until ready to serve.
While the rice cooks, make the chicken.
Note: You will have a lot of rice. Perfect for making Fried Rice in the next day or two.
Okie Fried Chicken
2 large boneless Chicken Breasts
3/4 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Dried Thyme
3 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Chicken Stock, divided
Cut each breast in width-wise to create 4 smaller breasts. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, pepper and paprika.
Pour the thyme into the palm of your had. Use a finger to grind the thyme to a powder before adding to the flour. Whisk to blend. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture for the gravy.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Swirl the pan, add olive oil and let the mixture heat.
Press chicken, one breast at time into the seasoned flour. Coat both sides. Place chicken into the skillet, and cook for about 8 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of broth for a quick steam. Turn breasts over, cook for 10 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup of stock, cover and cook until cooked through, 3 or 4 minutes longer.
Remove chicken from the pan, keep warm. Make the gravy in the now empty skillet.
4 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Seasoned Flour
1/2 cup Milk
1 cup Chicken Stock
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Melt butter into the skillet that the chicken was cooked in. Swirl the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Add flour, cook over low heat for 5 minutes to create a deep roué.
Add milk and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, scraping bottom constantly with a spatula until gravy thickens.
Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat.
To serve, plate chicken on a serving platter. Mound the rice next to the chicken. Serve with gravy on the side to use as desired.
Buttery Canned Corn
1 can Corn
1/4 cup Butter
Salt to taste
Drain corn and rinse well.
Place butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add corn, salt to taste. Heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally.
Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy.