A lot of the food I cook at the moment is about convenience.
Not ‘convenience’ in the sense of ‘piercing the film on some ready meal and throwing it into a microwave’, but convenience in terms of getting the best results with the least effort.
That doesn’t mean that my food is becoming ‘bad’ – there’s a very real misconception out there about food that’s convenient not being good, but it does mean that I’m putting less effort into some meals than I might have done when I had, well, more time.
But again, there’s another misconception … ‘convenient’ doesn’t equal fast, either – far from it … many times, I spend a far greater amount of elapsed time cooking, it’s just that the active time spent at the stove is shorter, with longer gaps between interventions.
It’s lazy or smart cooking, depending on your perspective.
This is a classic example. It’s a chicken sofrito, a speciality of the city of Jerusalem, which arrived there via the Sephardi Jews millenia ago.
As with most dishes that stretch back that long, there’s good reason it’s endured – it’s simple, and absolutely delicious. The basic premise is that a butterflied chicken is lightly and slowly cooked in a big, shallow, covered pan in its own juices for a long time.
That’s just about it.
The chicken emerges tender and perfectly cooked, and there’s hardly anything to wash up.