Within the Universal Catholic Church worldwide, there are 10 Holy Days of Obligation to attend Mass in addition to Sunday worship. However; in 1991 the Bishops of the United States petitioned the Holy See, and were granted the removal of three of the Universal Holy Days of Obligation and to transfer the celebration of the Epiphany (January 6) to the nearest Sunday.
In so doing, American Catholics have reduced Holy Days of Obligation outside of Sundays to just 6 days. Moreover; when January 1 (Holy Mary, Mother of God), August 15 (the Assumption of Mary) or November 1 (All Saints) fall on a Saturday or Monday of any given year, attending Mass on Sunday fulfills this Obligation. I’m not really sure why these days were deemed less important and thereby moveable rather than remain fixed on appropriate dates. Nor do I understand completely removing other Holy Days of Obligation to attend mass from other feast days that once held that honor. I would hate to think it’s because Americans, for the most part, struggle more with a commitment to faith when that faith requires an obligation on our part. Sadly, I think that is true. In part because it’s easy to make excuses. And we (Americans) often put work first, God and family second. Some people say it’s an issue with organized religion. Maybe. But when you don’t belong to a structured religion, then faith, prayer and worship comes on your terms, revolving around your schedule. That is not to say organized religions are better. It’s a matter of commitment. There are people who find the time to pray every day without ever stepping into a church. I don’t believe God hears them any less.
In any case, today is the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. However; since it falls on a Monday, that obligation was fulfilled with Sunday’s attendance at mass.
What is the Assumption of Mary? Catholic tradition tells us that upon her death, Mary was taken up to heaven, body and soul, to be reunited with her son, Jesus Christ. While the Mass was celebrated yesterday, today is the actual Feast Day. Those of you who know me, know how important traditions of old are and now much I love to celebrate my Catholic Faith fully. Food is an important element in any celebration. Enjoy!
Herb Roasted Garlic Chicken Thighs
40 Garlic Cloves
2-1/2 teaspoons fresh Rosemary
2 teaspoons fresh Thyme
2 teaspoons fresh Tarragon
6 large bone-in Chicken Thighs
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
Sea Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
1/2 cup White Wine
1 Lemon, juiced
Parsley for garnish
3/4 teaspoon Cornstarch
1/3 cup Chicken Stock
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel garlic cloves, set aside. Strip Rosemary needles from stems. Mince needles, set aside. Mince thyme, set aside. Mince tarragon, set aside. Cut lemon in half, set aside until ready to juice.
Heat olive oil and butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to the pan and cook garlic, turning as needed until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove garlic from the pan, set aside leaving oil behind.
Trim excess skin from the chicken thighs. With paper towels, dry moisture from the chicken. Season thighs with salt and pepper. Increase heat under the skillet to medium-high. Add thighs, skin side down. Brown chicken for about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat
Season the meat side of the chicken with half of the minced herbs. Turn thighs over, skin side up. Season with remaining herbs. Scatter garlic cloves around chicken. Roast in the heated oven until skin is crispy, about 20 minutes. Add wine to the skillet, continue to roast another 5 minutes or so, until thighs are cooked through and reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
While the thighs roast, cut lemon in half. Set one half aside to juice later, slice remaining half into thin rounds as a garnish, set aside. Snip parsley for a garnish, set aside.
Transfer chicken and garlic to a serving platter. Tent to keep warm.
In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and chicken stock. Bring drippings in skillet to a simmer over medium heat. Add stock mixture to drippings, and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan sauce.
Spoon pan sauce onto individual plates. Plate thighs with garlic on the plates. Scatter parsley over the thighs, tuck a lemon round near the chicken. Serve with a simple salad and warm bread.