|A Belly Warming Braise for a Cold Night|
I may have over 300 cookbooks in my collection, but it often seems that I make the same rotation of dishes over and over again. Such is life, right?--we always seem to revert to our comfort zone whether in the kitchen or the world. I've been slowly working to change this by doing more than just reading all of those cookbooks and while I'm pleased to say that I've been successful in expanding my repertoire, I must admit that I can't follow a recipe to save my life. Is this the trait of any cook? I'd like to think that cooks, in general, are forever tinkering, adding, changing, and adapting recipes to suit their own tastes. Equal parts instinct and creativity, perhaps.
Anyhow, now that the nightly temperatures are starting to dance in the low 30's and my mid-century floor furnace is groaning and coming back to life, I don't seem to want to cook anything that isn't braised low and slow, saucy, fragrant and bone-warming. You know, the perfect supper to ladle into a big bowl, top with a handful of freshly chopped herbs and then savor while sitting on the sofa wrapped in a warm blanket with a glass of wine within easy reach.
I'm not sure how to categorize this recipe. I discovered it in one of my cookbooks, A Change of Appetite, by Diana Henry. The idea of braising meaty chicken thighs and chunks of pumpkin in a savory and complex sauce was compelling enough, but since I had just harvested the last pumpkin from my garden and had spent several days wondering when and how to cook it, coming across the recipe seemed a fortuitous coincidence that shouldn't be ignored. Besides, the recipe was an apt foundation for creative and delicious departure, a tantalizing proposition for any home cook.