Mushroom Stuffed Hoisin Stout Glazed Chicken Thighs
It can be suffocating, really.
This urge that has had a hold of me for so many years to please the people. A strangling grip on my throat that kept any words of disappointment from slipping out. Why is this? Why is someone else happiness (especially strangers) prioritized so far above my own? And how do we pair the idea of standing up for ourselves with the idea that we are selfish?
I wondered this because it seems to be slipping away from me like the shedding of dead skin. Thank God. I’m still overly accommodating, I still can’t put my needs above others, but I’m more able to speak the words that I know will disappoint someone else.
Here’s my case in point. Food related, of course. I was recently at a Portland restaurant with a gorgeous companion enjoying what had been touted as the best steak in Oregon. The price was easily twice what I’d ever paid in the past. Which, I assumed was worth the cost. The dry-aged hunk of meat set before me with a huge smile from the server, she was almost gleeful that I’d ordered it.
And it was…fine. Definitely overcooked, the medium-rare that I wanted was closer to medium-well and it tasted under seasoned. When she came back to ask how my meal was and bask in the glow of my praise for the Best Steak Ever, I had a small urge to give her what she was looking for. This is my thing. I want to make people happy. And since I couldn’t make her a pizza and some cookies, I had the urge to just tell her what she wanted to hear.
“It was ok,” I said instead.
Her face fell as if she’d cooked it herself. “……oh. I’ve never heard that.”
“It was ok. It wasn’t bad, it was just a bit overcooked and definitely under seasoned. But I have a high bar, I eat a lot of really good steaks.” She stood for a second, frozen. She wasn’t sure how to respond.
I resisted the urge to make it better, cover it up. I just made myself sit in that moment, letting her be disappointed. I wanted to tell her how much I liked the other dishes, or compliment her shoes, or tell her that the beer was great. But I didn’t.
And I survived. And so did she.
Maybe it’s a small step. But us people pleasers have to start somewhere. And just sitting in the moment of disappointing someone and learning that we will all survive is a good place to begin.
And then I consoled myself with doughnuts. So maybe I still have some more work to do.
- 1 tablespoon (12g) olive oil
- ½ cup (80g) chopped sweet white onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 wt oz crimini mushrooms, chopped (3 ½ cups)
- 1 teaspoon (3g) salt
- 1 tsp (3g) black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (8g) flour
- ½ cup stout beer, plus 1 tablespoons, divided
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ¼ cup (78g) hoisin sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions, cooking until starting to brown. Stir in the garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are dark and softened, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour, stirring for about 30 seconds.
- Add ½ cup beer, cooking until the beer is gone, about 15 minutes.
- Lay the chicken thighs on a flat surface. Trim away any excess fat. Cover with plastic wrap, pound to an even thickness with a meat mallet, rolling pin or heavy skillet.
- Add one to two tablespoons of filling to the center of the chicken thighs, roll into a log.
- Gently transfer chicken to a baking dish, seam side down.
- In a small bowl stir together the hoisin sauce and remaining tablespoon beer.
- Brush the chicken with sauce, bake for 15 minutes, re-brush with sauce and continue to bake until chicken is cooked through, about 10 additional minutes.