Chicken catch-a-tory

August 2021

By Christoper Birch

A recipe for when your crew and dog departed by car, and you’re left to advance the boat toward home waters by yourself. (The name conjures up an image of Ye Olde New England flair.)

Recipe preface:

Food is an essential component of all cooking projects. If a detailed inventory of the food locker aboard includes nothing more than a half bottle of rum, a half bottle of Tabasco and a half package of Nutter Butters, a provisioning excursion should be included in short-term route planning goals. Even if a grocery store is nowhere near any safe place where you might drop the anchor.

Looking for a good pairing? Try Nutter Butter cookies and rum. Photo by Christopher Birch

Ingredients:

2 plump skinless chicken breasts (free range and low chem preferred)
1 bag of frozen corn
1 package of pasta noodles
Tabasco – red (That green flavor is for people who golf.)
1 jar of pesto
1 bouquet of asparagus
Beer (as much as you are willing to carry)
Nutter Butter cookies (as much as you are willing to carry)

Directions:

Step 1: Half fill a pot with Pink Top water and bring to a boil above max heat. (We have three grades of water on the boat: “Clear Tops,” which are virgin Poland Spring and precious; “Tank Water,” which is not so great; and “Pink Tops,” which are Poland Spring jugs that have been refilled with hose water at a dock somewhere and then had their caps scribbled with pink sharpie to distinguish them from Clear Tops.)

Step 2: While the water warms, cube your 2 plump skinless chicken breasts. (It’s okay if your cubes look more like little pyramids or little coffins – that’ll happen.) Drop all shapes in a frying pan.

Step 3: Cut the asparagus into bite-size bits. (This vegetable can be found in the grocery store inexplicably and inconveniently standing in a shallow pan of water.) Add the green bits to the shapes in the pan.

Step 4: About now the water is probably boiling. Add noodles to boiling water.

Step 5: Back to the frying pan. Add a package of frozen corn to the chicken chunks and greens bits. Not only is frozen corn tasty, but it also helps to keep the chicken cool on the walk back from the grocery store, lessening your chances of salmonella poisoning. (An aside here:  It was more of a row/walk. A mile of upwind rowing brought me to a YMCA camp beach where I landed stealthily, hid my boat under a tree, and snuck through the campers and their counselors. Then a four-mile walk on what looked like a bike path on Google Earth to the grocery store followed. Turns out it’s a “soon-to-be bike path” now under construction and currently clearly marked as “closed.” There were some fences to hop and a pod of mean-spirited, rule-obsessed construction workers to avoid. This last bit involved much stealth bushwhacking in Crocs. After shopping, it’s the whole thing again in reverse, (except this time with groceries.)

Step 6: Back to the pot. It might be time to stop cooking the noodles. Taste test and decide. A fateful moment! (Beer helps manage the stress.)

Step 7: Remove pot from flame and drain water from pot somehow without burning self or dumping all the noodles into sink. Set aside. (Now is also a good time to stop scratching your ankles and go search for the first aid kit where hopefully you’ll find some sort of cream designed to alleviate poison ivy rash.)

Step 8: Place frying pan on heat. Add a splash of oil. Stir.

Step 9: Once cooked, add contents of frying pan to noodles in pot. (About now, you might happen to notice that one of your Crocs has somehow lost its heel strap during your outing to the market. You might as well remove and dispose of the heel strap from the matching shoe for the sake of symmetry. You don’t really need those heel straps anyhow.)

Step 10: Add the jar of pesto to all. (Swat first mosquito of the evening and then check depth under keel on the sounder to make sure you won’t be stuck like the Ever Given in this harbor for an extended stay.) Mix well.

Step 11: Season with Tabasco – red.

Service:

Serve hot the first time, and then at room temperature again later.

Feeds 1 for several days.

Pairs well with Nutter Butter cookies and rum.