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Chicken and Chorizo one-pot dish is really good! It’s full of flavor and not a lot of work. It’s perfect when you’re busy entertaining guests but you want a nice meal when you’re all hungry.
John’s sister is visiting with her grandson Sam and everyone is having the best time with the 1-year old, especially the dog.
Today we went to see John’s mother at the nursing home and if you’ve never experienced dementia or Alzheimer’s which is a form of dementia, here’s what it’s like.
Joan was a fiercely independent woman. She started teaching school in a one-room school when she was only 16 and worked hard all her life and raised 3 children. When Rob went to Paris on sabbatical, Joan decided she wanted to buy some land near the snow fields and build a house. 40 years ago, women belonged to their husbands and no bank would give her a loan to a married woman. “Come back with hubby, dear,” she got from her banker. She didn’t give up and she got her land and her house and was probably one of the first women in Melbourne to do so.
Fast forward many years and she’s in a nursing home suffering severe dementia. She still knows who we are, although sometimes I’m “that nice woman” and sometimes I’m her daughter but most of the time she knows it’s me. She doesn’t confuse me with her daughter but sometimes thinks I am another daughter. Lots of people are called Thingamy because names are long gone. Lots of conversations are done in charades. For instance, if she can’t remember the word comb she acts it out. Imagine the day she was shopping with me and tried to ask the sales clerk for some tights.
Sometimes she dances around the room with a twinkle in her eye.
As the months go by, there’s less and less of the mother John and his brother and sister grew up with. It’s sad but it is what it is and we do the best we can to make life easy for her. We don’t ask her any questions because it’s too stressful to find an answer to a question she’s forgotten already. We don’t ask what she had for breakfast because she’ll tell us she hasn’t eaten since she moved there a year ago. When we talk, we talk about the past. She remembers holidays from years ago that we spent together in Europe and the US so that’s always good to get her out of a bad mood.
She uses anger to push us away when things get overwhelming. If she’s angry, she has an excuse for being forgetful I guess.
Her favorite outing is to go to a park or the beach where she can watch children playing. She gets such joy out of that and she’ll talk to as many of them as she can. She must have been a wonderful teacher.
Recently I was scolded by someone for laughing at her antics but honestly, how could anyone cope without laughter? We could be sad at her deterioration or we can laugh at the silly things she does. Is it really funny? In one sense, no because she’s demonstrating that she can no longer do the things we all assume we can do for ourselves.
Cathy found her mother in her bathroom trying to put her pants on over her head with her arms through the leg holes and her head stuck in the crotch. Okay, I laughed. The old Joan would laugh too.
Today when I went in, one of her carers took me aside and said, “If you’re looking for the nail polish, it’s at the nurses station.” I knew by the twinkle in his eye that there was a story and he said, “She painted her nails last night.”
“Yes, she started at at one end of her fingers and went to her fingernails,” he said and he chuckled.
I roared and he said, “Oh wait, it doesn’t end there.”
I groaned because I thought she’d painted the wall or dropped it on the carpet or bedspread. Nothing that simple. She’d painted her hands with so many coats of nail polish that she’d stuck her fingers together.
Later she told me about it and showed me her nails – one hand with red nails and the other with tan. I grinned and said, “Did you get any on your fingers?”
She giggled and said, “I stuck my whole hand together!”
She remembered that!
Dementia is a nasty disease and it sucks but it’s not one you should fear if it happens to someone you love. We’re getting through one day at a time. I thought a long time about sharing Joan’s story but I felt it was important. Now enjoy some chicken!
I saw Nagi’s One Pan Spanish Chicken with Chorizo, tomato and Potatoes and I thought it looked so good, I’d try it myself. I didn’t want to copy hers so I read her post but didn’t print the recipe. I had some skinless chicken thighs and only one chorizo so already my recipe was different. The oldies can’t eat really hot food so I didn’t add anything spicier than the chorizo.
I started out by frying the chorizo to release some of its oil and then in the oil I sauteed the green and red bell peppers/capsicum, baby onions and then the mushrooms. I seared the chicken in the last bit of oil and put it all together with the remaining ingredients in a casserole. I listened to someone else and covered it for 30 minutes and that was not the thing to do. Cook it loud and proud with no cover. An hour later and we were all saying how good it was.
- 6 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 medium chorizo sausage, cut into chunks
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 8 baby pickling onions
- ½ red bell pepper / capsicum - cut into bite-sized pieces
- ½ green bell pepper / capsicum - cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1½ cups of button mushrooms roughly chopped
- ½ can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- optional = a few fresh oregano leaves to garnish (I didn't)
- In a dry skillet on medium heat, toss in the chorizo and cook until the oil has been released into the pan - stir often, then remove and set aside.
- In the pan next go the capsicum and onions and cook on medium for about 5-7 minutes stirring to ensure the mixture doesn't burn.
- Remove and set aside with the sausage and add the mushrooms to the pan. Turn up the heat a bit and stir fry the mushrooms until their liquid is released and then remove and set aside.
- Salt the chicken thighs.
- Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F
- Turn up the heat on the skillet to medium-high and add a splash of oil if needed, then brown the chicken on both sides.
- In a large casserole dish add the chicken, chorizo, potatoes, peppers/capsicum, onions mushrooms, canned diced tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and oregano. Mix well.
- Place in the oven, uncovered for an hour or until the dish is golden brown.