Roasted chicken & cauliflower à la Polonaise:
Special Good Mother and Good Egg Edition.
Nearly a fortnight ago as the infallible doctor-mandated temporal due date expired, an expecting mother’s expectations had withered from frustration to desperation only to be reignited with traditional internet folklore. According to Cobb County, Georgia legend, the revered eggplant parmigiana at Scalini’s old-fashioned Italian restaurant had, for better or much worse, particularly labor inducing properties. The ingredients themselves seem benign and the adulteration of nutritionally worthless eggplant.
Eggplants are naturally high in nicotine and perhaps abundant levels of affection for kitschy guido bric-a-brac may help to explain why pregnant women’s bodies dislodged an abundant amount of cute-deficient babies after gorging themselves on really crappy Americanized Italian foodstuff. (insert shudder emoticon).
Whether or not the expedient natural birth was a symptom or relief from the dutiful father-to-be’s rendition of eggplant placatingiana, not more than 3 hours later the couple welcomed the adorable tiny fruit of their mutual affection and steadfast commitment.
A cook’s cook once said that anything worth doing was worth doing right and that the final product is a measure of effort, passion and dedication. If the newborn is any indication, her folks must have done it right, intensely, and probably twice just to make sure. In recognition of their compassionate endeavor, a soulful dinner to feed the soul was offered up. Roasted chicken -a centerpiece mainstay of homely nutrition, and as an allegory to the seasonal household addition -cauliflower à la Polonaise. As an extension of the fall harvest, a garnish of potatoes from the mother’s garden, glazed turnips and red pearl onions.
The bird was prepared and cooked in an orthodox manner (wishbone removed; drumsticks Frenched; stuffed with sliced lemon, garlic, thyme, dried chili and the last of summer’s savory; trussed) and left to roast on a bedding of standard vegetables and slices of another lemon. The resulting creature attained a golden lacquer which retained an abundant reservoir of succulent juices with prevailing poultry, fragrant traces of herbs and echoes of citrus. Paper booties were applied in lieu of a proper bowtie which was impossible to wear without a neck. Meat was moist and clean, though if given the opportunity to serve in two acts, the legs would have returned backstage and simmered in the juices until entirely free from the bone.
The pennant of Polonaise preparation involves garnishing with clarified butter, hard cooked eggs, bread crumbs and parlsey. Yellow cauliflower and romanesco were purchased for a song at the morning’s market. No parsley. No problem. Once manicured and whittled to florettes, the stalks were cooked down in stored poultry fat and made into a noble béchamel with the addition of flour, milk, nutmeg and piment d’espelette. Meanwhile, as eggs were brought up to barely a boil, bread crumbs toasted in a pan with mashed garlic and the zest of a lime. The earthy béchamel lined the bottom of a dish and blanched cauliflower was spread on top, interspersed with halved eggs. After a hot flash in the oven, rosemary scented poultry fat was drizzled for rizzle all over that shit (until chickens give milk, schmaltz will replace clarified butter) and a dusting of those bread crumbs provided that essential crun(k)ch. All involved parties seemed satisfied, particularly the baby who, despite a strict regimen of mother’s milk, apparently found no reason to protest.