Mid-January. Aside from the sinking-realization that you ate too much over the holidays, these are the days when it's all-too-clear you over-spent, too. Belts are loosened and budgets tightened. Butter suddenly seems expensive and that gorgeous cut of organic beef is downright out-of-range. But that doesn't mean you can't conjure up a decent meal.
Last night, after a boozy-toboggan with our friends Ash and Paul, we had delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. To off-set the high cost of goat gouda, aged cheddar and prosciutto, Ash served with good old fashioned Campbell's Tomato Soup (including a healthy crush of soda crackers). A study in spend and save. Not only is a can of condensed soup tasty on a cold night, it's a thorough reminder of childhood, those rare days when you'd eat lunch at home, a hot bowl of soup replacing a squashed PB&J sandwich.
It was a perfect meal, satisfying on every level, and didn't break the bank.
So, this afternoon while wandering the St. Lawrence Market, I had my eyes on the cheap stuff: pork or chicken, perhaps a simple sausage. No beautiful slabs of black cod, no gleaming veal or lamb. Not tonight. This deeply-frozen Saturday would be about a whole chicken. Stuffed with lemon; pats of butter delicately pressed beneath the skin. Salt and pepper. Its little legs twined tightly and nestled in a stock pot, surrounded by two cans of butter beans. The whole mess roasted in a 400° oven for 75 minutes, or so. The beans, soaked in the drippings and the butter, will become a mash of sorts, lovely and salty beneath the meat.
It's a pretty rustic (read: sloppy) meal, so forgive the lack of photographs. Sometimes it's best to just tuck-in and eat while listening to a moody mix of songs. Enjoy.
Songs for Hunkering Down
1. Godless Brother in Love - Iron & Wine
2. January Hymn - The Decemberists
3. Paris Blue - Lykke Li
4. Moments with Oliver - Rachael Yamagata
5. Tracy's Waters - Patrick Watson
6. The Darkest Side - The Middle East
7. Heavy Snow - Julie Doiron
8. The Greatest - Cat Power
9. Dinner at Eight - Rufus Wainwright
10. The Spirit Was Gone - Antony & the Johnsons
11. Tu es Malade - Julie Doiron
12. Godspeed - Jenny Lewis
13. Overnight - Gonzales
14. Magic View - Diane Birch
15. Video - Aimee Mann