Behind the Lace Curtains-TTS#43/2020 Table Setting Challenge #3 and Bonus Pollo a la Chilindron Recipe!

I'll be playing "catch up" with my Table Setting Challenges for the next few entries. I've been very busy with the house, catching up on chores, and especially working 60 hours a week.

The next set of dinnerware I'm using for the 2020 Table Setting Challenge is Madrid by Federal Glass Company. Manufactured from 1932 to 1939, this Spanish-inspired design was produced in amber, green, pink, crystal (clear) and "Madonna" blue. The pattern had enjoyed immense popularity until 1976, when Indiana Glass Company purchased several molds from the defunct Federal Glass Company and started reproducing pieces, calling the pattern "Recollection". The problem came because it was made in the same amber color as it's Depression era ancestor, although for the Bicentennial, Indiana Glass placed a "76" on the pieces; however, this was removed and decimated the market for Madrid. Indiana pulled the same stunt with crystal and pink, and although the pink shade is lighter, it still harmed the market for the originals.

It does take a trained eye to discern originals from reproductions. Having this knowledge, I do have some pieces in Recollection and enjoy them, but these are clearly recorded in my entry books so as to not confuse the two patterns. All but one of my Madrid pieces is original Depression era glass; one of the candlestick holders is Recollection. The reason why it was purchased was because the color matched my original Depression candlestick holder, but I know the difference between the two. I recommend reading one of Gene Florence's Depression era glass books for more information on how to tell the difference between the two patterns.

This beautiful Spanish-inspired pattern was the cue I used for my third 2020 Table Setting Challenge, along with a recipe coming from the Basque region called Pollo a la Chilindron. On the table are Madrid dinner and bread and butter plates, with the platter at the ready for some homemade rye bread from Grateful Bread. The large Madrid centerpiece bowl is flanked by two candelabra made in Spain. (Madrid purchased at Missouri River Chronicles Antiques in Helena, Montana, now out of business; candelabra from a local thrift store.) Flatware is Grenoble by Oneida (estate sale). Stemware is Savannah by Artmark (Herberger's, now out of business), and at each setting is an individual salt and pepper shaker made by Mainstays (Walmart). The tablecloth is my "workhorse", the white linen-look hemstitched one I purchased from Walmart years ago, and some cloth napkins with yellow border (thrift store).

I had some friends over for dinner, and they enjoyed the table setting and the entrée. The recipe calls for a 2 1/2 to three pound chicken cut up, but there wasn't one to be found in the stores, so I used chicken quarters. On the menu was:

Pollo a la Chilindron
Couscous with Parmesan cheese
Chocolate pudding

Recipe for Pollo a la Chilindron is as follows, and comes from the Foods of Spain and Portugal edition of the Foods of the World series:

4 chicken quarters
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large onions, cut lengthwise in half, then into 1/4 inch wide strips
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
3 small sweet red or green peppers, seeded, deribbed and cut lengthwise into strips
1/2 cup finely chopped serrano ham or substitute other lean smoked ham (I used some pre-diced ham from Hormel; I tried to find a ham steak, but like the chicken, no such luck at the local stores)
6 medium sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
6 pitted black olives, cut in half
6 pitted green olives, cut in half (the ones I had were small, so I left them whole with the pimientos still inside)

Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and sprinkle them liberally with salt and a few grindings of pepper. In a hefty 10-to 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until a light haze forms above it. Brown the chicken a few pieces at a time, starting them skin side down and turning them with tongs. Regulate the heat so that the chicken colors quickly and evenly without burning. As the pieces become a rich brown, transfer them to a plate.

Add the onions, garlic, peppers and ham to the fat remaining in the skillet. Stirring frequently, cook for 8 to 10 minutes over moderate heat until the vegetables are soft but not brown. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat and cook briskly until most of the liquid in the pan evaporates and the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape lightly in a spoon. Return the chicken to the skillet, turning the pieces about with a spoon to coat them evenly with the sauce. Then cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender but not falling apart. Stir in the olives and taste for seasoning. Transfer the entire contents of the skillet to a heated serving bowl or deep platter and serve at once.

I prepared this dish in a cast iron casserole my parents bought me years ago, mostly to keep down the spatter from the chicken, and it worked great. Also, the casserole was big enough for those chicken quarters, as I do not have a skillet that is not cast iron big enough for them. This is an excellent dish, and proof that one does not have to use many ingredients to make a delicious meal-simple, fresh ingredients are oftentimes the best!


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