Friday, August 8, 2008

Memorial of St. Dominic, August 8

This is an adaptation of an earlier column from my blog.

August 8 marks the memorial of St. Dominic, priest, founder of the Order of Preachers. As this is a special family day that marks birthdays and anniversaries, I like to give a little recognition to this saint who has become part of our family feasts.

St. Dominic was born in Spain, but fought Albigensianism, a Christian heresy in western Europe. Father John Hardon has an excellent explanation of Albigensianism. The main reason so many people were being drawn into this heresy was plain ignorance. So his mission was preach the Truth of the Gospel.

For this saint's feastday, we're keeping it simple, since penitence was a focus in his preaching. I'm going to trace back to Dominic's Spanish roots and use a recipe from my favorite Spanish cookbook My Kitchen in Spain by Janet Mendel for the main dish. My tomatoes are ripening and this recipe is perfect for using some of those luscious fruits, Chicken Sautéed with Fresh Tomato. Accompanying this I will have brown rice, a simple green salad and fresh fruit salad for dessert.

The fresh tomatoes have a sweeter taste than most Italian tomato dishes. I realize the cooking time is lengthy, and I actually shortened the tomato cooking time without loss of flavor.

Chicken Sautéed with Fresh TomatoPollo con Tomate
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pounds chicken legs and/or thighs (or whole chicken cut-up)
4 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 8 large tomatoes)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch dried thyme
1/2 tsp. pimentón (see below)
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. brandy
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Heat the oil on medium high heat in a deep skillet, then add and brown the chicken pieces, about 10-15 minutes. Remove when browned all over, and drain extra fat except 2 tablespoons.
Blanch and peel the tomatoes. Seed the tomatoes and chop coarsely, making 5 1/2 to 6 cups.
Heat remaining oil in skillet on high, add all remaining ingredients except parsley. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken back to the pot. Lower heat to medium and simmer uncovered, about 45 to 75 minutes. Remove the chicken when done, but continue cooking the tomato sauce over medium heat until very thick and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Add chicken back to the pot to reheat. Remove bay leaves, serve garnished with fresh parsley.

Note about pimentón, or smoked paprika: Apparently, there really isn't a true substitute for the Spanish paprika. It's not the same as Hungarian paprika at all. Only one place suggested sweet paprika and then add cayenne for some heat. See Smoked paprika and European spices for further information. I made this last time, omitting the pimentón and the flavor was quite nice.

Another sidenote on St. Dominic. He's the patron of scientists, seamstresses, and astronomers. Star fruit would be in order to add to our fruit salad. I hope to eat out on the screened porch since the day is so beautiful (fall like). Perhaps we'll do some sky-watching. Although the Perseid's are also known as Tears of St. Lawrence, since they generally coincide with his feast day, the feast of this patron saint of astronomy has perfect timing!
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  1. Thanks - this is becoming a more and more important feast day for us, as well. Birthdays for an uncle and my first nephew (born today!) and the day I miscarried our first baby 7 years ago.

  2. Oranges should be a quintessential part to the celebration of St. Dominic's Day!

    When St. Dominic went to Rome (1220), he missed the oranges of his homeland so much, that he had an orange tree planted to provide the much-loved fruit. Today a descendant of that tree still grows in the courtyard of the Dominican Church, Santa Sabina, and Dominican Houses around the world have trees grown from the seeds of the fruit descended from Dominic's tree.

    You can read a little more here:

  3. A cute joke came to mind:

    A young man is thinking of becoming a Catholic priest, so he goes to talk to his pastor about the different religious orders. "What can you tell me about the Dominicans?" he asks.

    "Oh, they were formed in the Thirteenth Century to combat the Albigensian heresy," the priest replies.

    "And the Jesuits?"

    "They formed in the Sixteenth Century in response to the Protestant Reformation."

    The young man looks puzzled. "So what's the big difference between them?"

    "When was the last time you met an Albigensian?"

    1. I realize that you may have written this 10 years ago. However i just almost snorted tea up my nose reading it. Thanks for the giggle.

  4. One of my favorite feast days. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy your blog.

  5. Thanks so much! I appreciate the tip about the oranges!

    The joke is one of my favorites!