After weeks of fiddling around with game, organ meats and arguing in Spanish about whether or not the package contains gizzards and hearts, I felt like taking things back to basics. Roasted chicken with creamed spinach, cornbread, and macaroni and cheese, the sides coming from Fresh Market.
I used the "Stretch's Chicken" recipe from the latest issue of Saveur, which involves putting a hard cheese/herb paste on a cut-up chicken and browning the parts in a cast-iron skillet before roasting it all at high temperature in the oven. For simplicity and because it's my favorite for this kind of cooking, I just used a pack of leg/thigh quarters. Defat the pan and deglaze with red wine vinegar and you've got a tangy sauce to go with the chicken. It's ridiculously simple but really flavorful.
For the wine I took a gamble with the 2002 Botromagno Gravina from the bootheel of Italy in Puglia. $15, 12% abv, 60% Greco, 40% Malvasia. I'm not sure how long this wine was supposed to age, but it's become amazing over the years. There are rich aromas of dates and golden raisins as well as violets. Flavors of dried apricots with a foundation of lemony acidity round out the package, and it's got a beautiful amber hue to it.
Looking at this plate, you could easily find the ingredients in a TV dinner or cafeteria lunch menu. Just put a little love and attention in the preparation and find the right wine to make it special. And, of course, eat it at the table surrounded by friends.