Things were going too well. Everything has been tasting great, no major mishaps so it was likely that it couldn’t last forever. This is the tale of how 3.5 hours of work was ruined in 3.5 seconds.
I love cooking on Sundays the most. The joy of having a leisurely day and all the time in the world to spend in the kitchen makes me happy. This particular day, we were a bit busy but I knew I would be making Chicken Provençal for dinner and I was giddy with anticipation. This is a French dish that I had wanted to make for ages. It is classic, it is aromatic, it is comforting and it is a labor of love.
You begin by browning the chicken- thighs are typical, but I used drumsticks for this version. Listen for the sizzle. The browning was a breeze. The juices that come from that process collect in the pan and that’s the money right there.
The aroma that filled the house was incredible. From the bay leaves to the Herbs de Provence, the tomato sauce and the roast chicken – our mouths were watering each time I opened the oven. Taking the Dutch Oven and setting it on the stove, the chicken was perfect. Tender and juicy, this dish is a show-stopper if I ever saw one. I plated the first dish to photograph it, naturally, dishing out the fragrant tomato-based sauce, it was beautiful. All of our eyes were wide and our bellies chimed in telling us- Ahem, time to eat!
I decide, rather foolishly-getting caught up in the moment and all that-to add a pinch more salt. The shaker was empty so I reached for the large jar of sea salt. With one small shake, the lid and all the contents poured into the pot. DEVASTATION. “Noooooo!” I screamed! I grabbed the label and scooped out a fair amount of the salt that was still residing on top of the sauce. It was like watching a ship sink into the sea, the salt falling below the surface and transforming my beautiful stew into the Dead Sea. “Maybe it’ll be ok?” Shella offered sweetly. I gave her a very pessimistic glance and added a cup of water to it. “Let me try it!” she said, grabbing a spoon and taking a large bite. Her eyes twitched and her lips persed. “Well, ok it is very salty but only just initially.” Not good enough. I added another cup, I frantically googled how to fix “too much salt”. Add lemon juice? I had that. Sugar? More water? I did it all; trying in vain to salvage my dish. Fortunately, we all tasted what it was before the incident. The lone bowl sat on the island-untouched by the salt-alanche. “Wow, this is is so good.” Kris said, taking a bite. “I know. I know it is.” I sighed, as I glanced back at the pot of salt with a side of Chicken Provençal.
I laughed. I shrugged. “I can be mad but what could would that do?” I sat down and the three of us shared the dish-my saving grace. About thirty minutes later, we tried it again. Still salty, but slightly better. The chicken ended up being salvageable thank goodness.
Pros: I know how to make this dish now. I have learned to always use a salt shaker.