Welcome to the Second Sunday in Lent. Sundays fall during Lent, but they are not “of Lent” since every Sunday in considered a Mini-Easter. Catholics do not “attend” church, we Celebrate the Mass.
And yet we do not forget that this is the Lenten Season. In Catholic Churches throughout the world, the alter, many of the statues, and in some churches even the image of the Crucified Christ are draped in purple. This same symbolic draping can found in some Catholic homes. Mine is one of them.
Purple is the color to symbolic a deep sorrow for having sinned and offended God. To drape symbols of faith in purple serves as a reminded that, while Sunday is a mini-Easter, Christ needed to die for our sins before He could be resurrected. One of the biggest differences between Protestants and Catholics can be seen in the Cross.
Protestants display an empty cross. It does not mean they see the sacrifice made on the cross as empty, but that the cross itself is now empty, since Christ is the Risen Lord, seated at the Right Hand of the Father. Catholics also believe in this same the risen Lord. So why do Catholics depict Christ as the Crucified Lord? The Crucifix, be it over our alters; around our necks or displayed in our homes, is a constant reminder that we are sinners and that it was our sins that demanded such a costly ransom. It is also why the Mass is celebrated. We are so loved that God came down from heaven and paid a price for our salvation we could not.
Lord, let Your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in You
Sundays throughout the year are special. So often, when we celebrate, we do so with food. Sunday Supper, especially during Lent, should be special. Today’s supper is beyond special. It’s been a while since I’ve prepared a meal that was this multi-layered. Oh but so worth the extra effort! May I present Poulet aux Champignons au Vin Rouge; Pommes de Terre en Purée and Asperges Rôties au Thym.
Poulet aux Champignons au Vin Rouge
1 large Onion, divided
12 Garlic Cloves, divided
16 oz Red Wine
3 Chicken Quarters
4 slices Bacon
2-1/2 tablespoons Cognac
2 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
3/4 cup Chicken Stock
4 tablespoons soft Butter, divided
8 oz White Mushrooms
1 tablespoon Flour
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Cut onion in half from tip to root. Peel half the onion, roughly chop and set in a large mixing bowl. Set remaining half aside for later. Peel and bruise half of the garlic cloves, add to the bowl with the chopped onions. Reserve remaining half of the garlic for later. Add wine to the bowl, stir together and set aside.
Separate the chicken quarters at the joint into thighs and drumsticks. Place chicken in a gallon-size bag and place bag in a casserole dish. Pour wine mixture over the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Strain the wine marinade, discard the onions and garlic, reserve the wine.
Peel reserved half on the onion, cut into wedges, break apart and set aside. Peel remaining garlic, set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until golden, about 8 minutes or so, turning as needed. Remove the bacon from the skillet while retaining all the flavorful drippings.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken over medium heat in the bacon renderings. Once browned; remove the chicken fro the skillet, set aside.
Add the onion wedges and remaining garlic to the pan drippings. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Pour Cognac into the pan to deglaze, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to incorporate all the browned bits. Pour the strained wine marinade into the pan, bring to a simmer.
Add the bay leaves and thyme. Return the chicken to the skillet, tuck the bacon around the chicken. Add chicken stock; let simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour.
While the chicken simmers, make the Potato Puree.
Garlic Puree Potatoes
8 Garlic Cloves
6 Russet Potatoes
Kosher Salt to taste
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Peel garlic cloves, cut each clove in half and set aside.
Peel potatoes, cut into small clubes. Place cubed potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water; salt liberally, and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Boil potatoes for about 15 minutes, until very tender when pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes well in a colander; then return to the pot over low heat just long enough to remove any excess water. Remove potatoes to a bowl.
Return the now empty saucepan to low heat. Add garlic and cream. Heat slowly until the garlic is fragrant and the cream begins to simmer.
Puree the potatoes in a blender in batches, adding to the garlic cream. Blend together until smooth. Keep warm while the chicken is finished.
To Finish and Serve
Clean and slice mushrooms; set aside. Remove chicken from the sauce, place on a platter and hold in a warm oven. Remove sauce from the skillet; strain and retain both the wine and the onion mixture. Discard the bacon.
Wipe skillet clean; add 3 tablespoon of the soft butter to the pan over medium-low heat. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms. Season with a little salt and pepper; fry until golden. Remove mushrooms from the pan.
Heat the now empty skillet over medium-high heat. Add the strained wine sauce to the skillet; let boil until reduced. Mix remaining tablespoon of butter with the flour to create a “dough”. Whisk the flour dough into the wine sauce to thicken. Return the mushrooms and onion mixture to the wine sauce.
Spread warm garlic pureed potatoes out onto plates. Top with a piece or two of chicken; then ladle with the mushroom wine sauce. Serve with roasted asparagus and enjoy!
Roasted Thyme Asparagus
1 lb Asparagus
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon dried Thyme
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
Heat oven to 425-degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with heavy foil and set aside.
Rinse asparagus, snapping off the woody ends. Lay asparagus out in the prepared baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, toss to coat. Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper.
Bake, uncovered, in the heated oven for about 12 minutes or until crisp-tender. Transfer to a serving dish.