Friday, March 13, 2009

Little Miss Muffett

Dinner tonight was a near thing. Nearly not a dinner, I mean. I was planning to make tarragon cream chicken. In fact, I spent quite a lot of time dithering about what to have for dinner, and so when I decided I wanted tarragon chicken I REALLY wanted it. I went to the supermarket and bought the chicken, and also some veges. I bought some white wine. Then I went to the other supermarket where they have cream (the only one that does) ... and they didn't have any cream left. I stared at the empty shelf space and grumbled to myself a bit, and wondered what to do. I had all the other ingredients. I wanted tarragon chicken. I WANTED TARRAGON CHICKEN. I could almost taste it. But there was no cream.

I had a brainwave. (Not a very good one, it turned out.) They did have tiny bottles of Jersey milk, with a high fat content. Maybe that would do, I thought, if I used a lot of butter. I bought the milk.

At home I fried the chicken, added the water (not stock, because I forgot to get some AGAIN), and the milk and tarragon. I cooked it for a while, and tasted. Yum! But something was missing. I added the required dash of wine ... and watched in horror as my sauce curdled.

It was amazing. I've never actually seen something curdle before. I have seen the results, afterwards, but to actually watch it separate out like that was kind of magical, in a bad kind of magical way. It just parted. Clear(ish) liquid stayed underneath, and cottage-cheesy-like gunk floated to the top. I tasted the two bits. The white gunk tasted like cottage cheese, only more boring. The clear liquid was rather good.

I sieved out the gunk and kept the clear liquid. I added more wine, more tarragon, and put the chicken back in and cooked it for a while longer. 

The end result was pretty tasty (and a lot less fattening than I'd been planning), but might have worked better as a soup. I imagine that if I had chicken stock it would make a rather good soup, actually, and I might try it sometime. Chicken tarragon soup, flavoured with wine.

Curd, curdle ... if something curdles, I suppose the white stuff must be curds. I hadn't noticed that before. Nobody ever talks about curds unless they're reciting a nursery rhyme. Is cottage cheese actually curds? Was the first cottage cheese the result of someone else's cooking disaster?

I'll look it up in the morning.


kenju said...

I'll bet it was.....LOL I've had plenty of cooking disasters!

Would you believe that the word verification is


Anonymous said...

I love curds. I get cheese curds from the Amish market. They are fresh cheese that is somehow curdled out of the process. Or something. I don't really know.