Sole Chicken by Frank Maier
We’re unschoolers or John Holt unschoolers or radical unschoolers or weltanschauung unschoolers, depending on your labeling preference. We’ve tried to have a lot of adventures as a significant part of our unschooling experience. Our adventure for 2005 was to buy a 34-foot sailboat and go for a tropical cruise. Unfortunately, we started from New Orleans in the Summer of 2005. Our cruise opened with Katrina, then added riding out Rita at anchor in a bayou near New Orleans, then crossing the Gulf of Mexico to be visited by Wilma in the Florida Keys. Still better than any day at work. Maybe.
This recipe is the kids’ favorite from our cruising days. Here’s the story and the recipe itself.
The name of the dish comes from the fact that the “floor” of a sailboat is called the “sole” and it makes a nice auditory play on soul vs. sole. The sole is made of teak and holly strips, thus the alternate name “teak-and-holly chicken.”
The dish is called that because midway through the cooking process when I went to check on it, I spilled the contents of the dish onto the sole. Being the frugal (CHEAP!) sailor/chef that I am, I just scooped it all back into the dish, confident that the continued cooking would kill any germs. According to the kids, this step is what adds that special flavor which is otherwise missing. You may consider this step optional!
Enjoy a rum punch in the cockpit while watching the sun set as the chicken cooks, then have another with dinner. Perfect!
aka Teak-and-Holly Chicken
Chicken breasts – 4 (I use boneless-skinless)
Onion – 1 chopped fine
Bell pepper – 1 chopped fine
Celery – a coupla ribs chopped fine
Garlic – a few toes chopped fine
Bay leaf – a couple
Rum – enough to get things wet (I use a cup… or so!)
Orange juice – 1/2 cup or so (when cruising, substitute a local juice: guava, etc.)
Cinnamon – about 1 tsp
Cayenne – to taste (that means use a LOT!)
Paprika – to taste
Salt and pepper – to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Pour half the rum and half the OJ into a 9X13 baking dish. Sprinkle half the veggies (all the bay leaves) into the dish. Place breasts on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the rest of the veggies over the chicken. Splash on the rest of the rum and OJ. Bake about an hour, depending on your oven. (Boat ovens are notoriously finicky.) Place breasts on plates and serve with rice. Remove the bay leaves and stir the veggies. Correct the seasonings then spoon ’em over the rice. Or put ’em on the side. Or not, depending on how much your kids like or dislike veggies.
Remember, to make truly authentic (original-style) sole/teak-and-holly chicken, after about half an hour of cooking, open the oven to check the chicken and spill it onto the sole (floor). Then scoop it all back into the pan. Like I said earlier, you could consider this step optional!
Cap’n Franko and the merry krewe of the Zombie Princess of New Orleans
Our “official” boat drink which is an interesting standalone but probably not so good with food.
The Zombie Princess cocktail
1 jigger Absinthe
1 jigger Southern Comfort
3 jiggers chilled simple syrup
Juice of ½ lime
Dash of Tabasco
Sugar (for rim)
Slice of lime
Tanna leaves (3 for life, 9 for movement)
Decorative parasol (umbrella)
Straw (preferably a wacky, twisty one)
Sugar the rim of a large absinthe glass (or substitute 8~12-oz. highball glass), Pour in 1 jigger of Absinthe. Slowly add 3 jiggers of chilled simple syrup, while stirring. Squeeze in the juice of ½ lime. Add 1 jigger of Southern Comfort. Stir. Dash of Tabasco. Garnish with a slice of lime and tanna leaves. [N.B. Tanna leaves are a fictional creation for the movie “The Mummy” (1932). You cannot actually buy them anywhere.] If you substitute mint leaves for tanna leaves, do NOT crush or bruise them; just use them for garnish. No mint flavor allowed. Add parasol (festive paper umbrella) and (zany) straw. Enjoy! But NEVER, under any circumstances, allow salt to come anywhere near a Zombie Princess! In Voodoo, salt is deadly to unnatural creatures.
Thanks, Frank. I don’t have teak floors in my kitchen so I think I’ll skip the optional step. Otherwise, it sounds wonderful.
Frank blogs as the spirit moves at Singularity.
*Note: Frank shared the delightful photos via Facebook but quality suffered in the translation. Sorry about that!