Jenni L. Walsh Loves Ancient Rome & Crockpots

This week, in honor of Crystal’s soon-to-be-published novel FEAST OF SORROW, which gave me such a vivid and enticing glimpse into Ancient Rome, we are attempting to recreate meals inspired by the Apicius Cookbook (aka the man who created the first ever book of recipes). So far this week, Amy and Lynn have done a stellar job. And me… well, I’d like to apologize in advance to all the foodies and Ancient Rome enthusiasts out there as I “make” Parthian Chicken — in my slow cooker.

You see, I use a Crockpot, almost exclusively. If a meal didn’t come out of a pot, it wasn’t made by me. Set aside the fact that I’m simply not the best cook and, basically, I use my beloved slow cooker out of necessity. Most days, I get my daughter settled in front of a PBS show and my son locked (I mean, strapped) into his highchair and I quickly throw ingredients into the pot. I’m such a professional that I buy plastic liners in bulk. My go-to meals are Chicken Burrito Bowls, Sausage & Sweet Potatoes, SuperFood Soup, and Creamy Chipotle Chicken Taquitos. So good. So easy.

But today’s recipe is all about Parthian Chicken. So here it is (with my altercations…)

❧ 1 medium chicken

Two chicken breasts

❧ 1⁄2 tsp lovage (celery or ajwain seeds can substitute)

Celery seeds

❧ 1 tsp of caraway seed

Nailed it

❧ 1⁄2 to 3/4 tsp of asfoetida powder (or 8 finely minced garlic cloves)

Garlic powder (we use it on everything)

❧ 250 ml (1 cup) medium sweet white wine (Crystal uses the Greek Kourtaki Samos Muscat wine)

I forgot to ask my husband to pick this up, so I um used what we had on hand: Cabernet Sauvignon

❧ 1 tbsp olive oil

Yep!

❧ dash of pepper

Got it!

And the directions to bring it all together:

1. 3 tbsp fish sauce (look for Thai Nam Pla or Vietnamese Nuoc Nam Mhi which are the closest recipes to the ancient Roman garum, a fish sauce that was used in almost all ancient Roman dishes)

My husband and I both made a face at the mention of fish sauce. We’re not “fish people.” But I looked up a substitute and Worcestershire sauce was recommended. In it went.

2. Prepare chicken and place in an oven dish.

Or… in the slowcooker

3. Dry-roast seeds and asafoetida until they give off their aroma. Grind them to a powder with the pepper. (If using garlic instead of asafoetida, add it to the liquid mixture later).

Done.

4. Mix the spices, wine, olive oil and fish sauce. Pour over the chicken.

She’s all ready!

5. Put it in the oven and roast as normal until crispy and well done and the juices run clear. Baste the chicken often during cooking.

Who needs to baste when you’ve got a handy dandy Crockpot? I put it on low heat for five hours.

And… my frankensteined version was a-ok. I could taste the delicious wine and the caraway flavor really popped (sorta felt like I was eating rye bread in chicken form). Now, I’m sure the taste is much different from the actual recipe, especially since my slow-cooked version isn’t crispy, but it made for a great dinner. I really came at the Italian thing from all angles and microwaved a bag of the “Birds Eye Steamfresh Italian Style Protein Blend” to go on the side.

So there you have it: the Walsh Family way of doing Parthian Chicken (I’m so sorry Apicius).

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Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years ​chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia's countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni's passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet. BECOMING BONNIE (Tor Forge/Macmillan, 5/9/2017) is her debut novel that tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. SIDE BY SIDE, telling Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree story, will be released in the summer of 2018. Please learn more about Jenni's books at jennilwalsh.com.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. This really made me laugh. And your “altercations” made for such a fabulous malaprop that I wondered if it was intentional. I feel like there must be a lesson or two here for writers. Readers will always reinterpret your published works according to their own context? Beware of fellow workshop members who want to remake your fiction according to their own recipe? Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences.

    1. haha that typo is too funny. And I love this comment, Judy!

      I think one of the fun elements of the blog is that we all tackle the same topic from different directions. And I was clearly in a feisty mood about my alterations 😉

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