Summer Meal

Post Date: July 25th, 2018


When I retired five years ago, I wanted to live in harmony with the rhythms of the seasons.

But I recently wanted something different for a midweek dinner so I cooked a hot meal on a warm summer evening.

Slicing the potatoes was meditative. Stirring in spices was messy. Topping the potatoes with thick slices of raw chicken breasts was sticky. And squirting it all with a large lemon was just plain fun. Then deep into a hot oven it went.

While the concoction cooked, I got out the package of spiraled red beets from a local farm. They’re so easily and quickly prepared in a slather of butter in a cast-iron skillet than by roasting. The deep maroon spirals turned a vivid, brilliant red as they cooked, and they were ready for the table in 10 minutes.

The earthy flavor of the beets grounded the piquant casserole. The tang of lemon was a savory offset to the garlicky, paprika-laced potatoes and chicken. And the slurry created by the potato starch and chicken juices was lusciously flavorful.

It sounds like an autumn or winter dish, and it is. What kind of living in harmony with summer is it when the oven is heated to 400 degrees for an hour? Yet it was just what the doctor ordered for a late-July dinner for two.