Crispy Chicken Paprika and the Kindness of Mountain Friends

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There is a mountain tradition, when you leave the mountains, you pass along left over food to who ever comes along and may need it. Our stash pass here at the ‘Bird is a bit more upscale than left over granola or packets of freeze dried cranberries. Friends of ours left this week and passed along the mother lode of goodies: fresh parsley, mint, cilantro, Maytag Blue cheese, steel cut grits, onion, garlic, frozen vegetables and prosciutto.

Mountain Pearl Cocktail There is a mountain tradition, when you leave the mountains, you pass along  left over food to who ever comes along and may need it.  Our stash pass here at the ‘Bird is a bit more upscale than left over granola or packets of freeze dried cranberries. 
Friends of ours left this week and passed along the mother lode of goodies: fresh parsley, mint, cilantro, Maytag Blue cheese, steel cut grits, onion, garlic, frozen vegetables and prosciutto.
Fresh food has immense value up here in the mountains; salad cravings have been known to cause grown men to tear up,  climb into their vans and drive down into the valley foraging for crunchy goodness.

And this particular stash pass came at a critical moment; we were down to nearly nothing!  It’s like playing mystery ingredient, what do you make with this bounty?

Well, we started with a Mountain Pearl Cocktail. Yet another riff on the famous French Pearl.
This time with lemon juice because we had fresh lemon and Pernod because that’s all we had in the Absinthe department.

Mountain Pearl
2 oz. gin
1/4 oz Pernod
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Simply Syrup
Muddled Fresh Mint

Shake, rest, Shake, serve.

Mike: “Oh, I don’t like gin but let me taste this. Oh, this tastes good. I’ll take one. In fact, I’ll take this one.”  It’s a good cocktail. Iceberg Lettuce Wedge

Iceberg lettuce. I confess I don’t often eat iceberg lettuce;  perhaps I’m a micro-green, arugula loving food snob?
Doesn’t matter, because when there is iceberg lettuce and good blue cheese around, there is nothing better than a juicy, crispy wedge of iceberg slathered with blue cheese dressing and crumbles of cheese. Maybe it’s a 1950’s steakhouse speciality, but I was born in the 50’s so it suits me just fine.

And now for the finale:
Crispy Chicken Paprika
2-3 medium russet potatoes
1 fresh white onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 T minced guanciale or pancetta or bacon

4 chicken legs (1 per person, with thigh)
Paprika (preferably the Smoked Spanish Paprika) Salt, Pepper
Sour Cream, Splash of Milk, Splash of olive oil

Thinly slice the potatoes, onions, garlic and place in a roasting pan. Add a few tablespoons of sour cream, a splash of milk and olive oil. Lightly salt. Heavily Pepper. Mix well.

Crispy Chicken Paprika In a small bowl, combine the paprika, lots of salt and some pepper. Rub the chicken legs with the paprika mix and lay on top of the potatoes. 
Roast at 400F until done, or when the cocktails are finished, whichever comes first.

I think we made fine use of our bounty, where we can always rely on the kindness of friends.

Thanks Bert & Jeanie! We all toasted your generosity and anytime you want to pass the stash, our refrigerator door is always open.

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