Quick Chicken with Browned Butter-Balsamic Sauce

Chicken with Browned-Butter Balsamic Sauce
Garlicked Potatoes

After my original plans for fish and rice were abruptly canceled by a lack of appropriate fish at Whole Foods, I figured I had to make something with the chicken in our fridge. And I knew I had a bunch of Yukon Gold- like potatoes, from my mom by way of Costco (or should that be from Costco, by way of my mom?) along with a gallon bag of green beans, gifted by the neighbors. I was going to go with a basic chicken in bread crumbs with boiled potatoes and quick-sautéed green beans. Then I watched Rachel Ray while I awaited the proper time to start so that dinner would be ready about the time Chris got home from Southfield. And RR was making fish, dredged in seasoned flour then pan-fried, and a browned-butter sauce to top the fish. I only saw the last 10 minutes so I had to get on-line to find the actual recipe and FYI, the mobile version of Food TV’s website is a pain in the arse. I gave up and went to the laptop*.

What I Used

3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup balsamic vinegar (get the good stuff)
One shallot, diced small
1 cup reduced sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)
optional: 1 tablespoon butter combined with 1 tablespoon flour
½ cup flour
Seasonings for flour (I used salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and dried basil)
Olive oil
3-4 large Yukon Gold potatoes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thinly
Salt & Pepper
1 package chicken, pre-cut in ‘tender strips’ per the packaging

What I did:

Potatoes:

Garlicky Potatoes

Heat oven to 375.

Slice potatoes in to evenly sized shapes- I suggest half-moons. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Spread potatoes out in one layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle sliced garlic cloves over potatoes.

Bake in oven about 35-45 minutes, turning potatoes periodically, until potatoes become golden brown and the whole house smells like roasted garlic.

Chicken:

Heat large sauté pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Dredge chicken strips in flour mixture and sauté, turning once, until cooked through. I had to do two batches to avoid overcrowding. Add more oil if necessary. Remove chicken from pan and cover to keep warm.
In pan, reduce heat to medium and add 3 tablespoons of butter. “Toast” the butter until the foam begins to turn a light brown color and the butter smells nutty. Do not burn!

Add shallots, stirring to coat. Add balsalmic vinegar to pan and increase heat to medium-high, scpraing the bottom of the pan to get up any sticky bits. Once the initial bubbling subsides, add broth and continue to cook at low boil until sauce is reduced. Optionally, whisk in 1 tablespoon butter combined with 1 tablespoon flour to thicken.

Serve potatoes and chicken with browned butter-balsamic sauce drizzled over top. Try not to eat all the best most garlicky, golden-brown potatoes yourself. Unless you are alone. In fact, this might be a good dish to make when you are all by yourself so there is no pressure to share.

Chicken, Potatotes and Nutty Yummy Buttery Balsamic Sauce

*This experience is pushing me further towards really wanting to purchase a tablet type computer so I can use the internet for recipes in the kitchen without having to make counter space for my 17inch widescreen laptop or trying to scroll through a recipe on a 2 inch phone screen. Something like an iPad but maybe a wee bit less pricey.

I’m curious to try this butter-balsamic sauce on some other foods like say, mashed potatoes or roasted root veggies or just lick it up right from the pan. Be generous with the balsamic- a lot will “burn off” leaving behind the sweet sweet nectar that balances perfectly with the nutty, deep earthy butter.

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Double-Spiced Shrimp & Forbidden Rice

Ever since we at at Quince, way back in October 2008, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with Forbidden Rice. I think about it a lot and plan recipes to use it- I want to show off its purpley-black beauty and the nutty taste that is like brown rice but just a touch sweeter. I’ve made it once since then but not prepared as it was that night with a slightly sweet basil cream.  It was good but not quite there. While still not exactly the same, for the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about doing it up with coconut milk and serving that with a nice piece of snapper or mahi-mahi seasoned with a Chinese 5-spice-like flavor plus some heat.

After two failed attempts to get fresh fish suitable for this concept at Whole Foods, Chris ended up grabbing a pound of shrimp from Merindorf’s Meats in Williamston instead. Not being privy to the swirling half-formed ideas I had, he didn’t realize that I would have much preferred raw shrimp. I think with raw, higher-quality shrimp (i.e. something from the Gulf, oil-slick free of course), this dish would have been just about perfect. I wrote the recipe here with the idea that it would be with raw shrimp. For the actual dish, I did all the steps described but only heated up the shrimp, rather than cooking them through. The sauce was tasty but the rice was delicious.

What I used:

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on (optionally)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cloves garlic (or more), mashed or chopped fine
2 Thai bird chilies, seeds and membranes removed
2 teaspoons ginger
Juice of lime; zest for garnish optional
1 can coconut milk, divided
1 cup black rice (Forbidden Rice)
2 cloves garlic
salt
sriracha sauce or other hot chili paste
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
Canola or Peanut oil

What I did:

Canned coconut milk can be solid on opening th...
Canned coconut milk- Image via Wikipedia

Using rice cooker, prepare 1 cup Forbidden Rice with 1 cup coconut milk (about 1/2 a can- stirred well!), 2 teaspoons ginger and a bit more than a 1/2 cup water. This took a little longer than white rice and was right on the edge of being short on liquid but my rice cooker is cheap and doesn’t really do the “warming’ part well preferring to scorch the bottom of the pot so it may have been an equipment issue.

Marinate the shrimp with the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt mixed with about a cup of  water. Marinate for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes.

Drain water from shrimp, keeping garlic. Add finely chopped chilies and lime and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (for more heat, keep the membranes and the seeds from the chilies). Let sit for about 5-10 minutes.

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp (including marinating juices/garlic/chilies) and cook until just pinked through. Stir in 1/2 can of coconut milk and spicy chili paste (at least 2 tablespoons, more for more heat) plus some tomato paste. I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste and it was mostly to thicken the sauce a bit without going overboard on the heat.

Serve shrimp over rice with a generous ladle or two of sauce. Garnish with lime zest.


We’ll make this again, next time with raw shrimp to start.

Also, I’d probably amp up the heat a bit. With the shrimp already cooked, they didn’t absorb much of the Thai chilies which may have made a difference.

Garlic-Rosemary Chicken

Having barely posted over the last several weeks and now coming back post-honeymoon to a big project at work, I am struggling with the “swing of things.” I have many drafts, many posts circulating in my head but not yet drafted and, as of Wednesday, our wedding photos to edit and play with in Photoshop. I may have to schedule my blogging time in to my day like a job.

For now, I shall start simple. Saturday night, we decided to make some chicken but didn’t want buttermilk chicken as we had just done that a few days before. Chris found a recipe online for a garlic-rosemary rubbed pork loin which intrigued him but was rather time consuming with creating an oil infusion then letting it sit for several hours followed by cooking it in the oven.

I don’t know the source of the original recipe but basically, you mixed fresh rosemary and chopped garlic together with olive oil to infuse the oil, by letting it sit for several hours. Then this is mixed with salt to create a paste which is then rubbed on the meat. I knew that introducing heat to the equation would speed up the infusion process and I also knew we had some garlic olive oil from a store in Traverse City. Its a tasty oil but does not hold up to high heat cooking like a non-infused oil so we don’t use it a lot.

In a small saucepan or saute pan, mix 2-3 sprigs of rosemary leaves, finely chopped with 2 cloves fresh chopped garlic (okay, I used the stuff in the fridge) and 3-4 tablespoons of oil (use extra virgin if you don’t have flavored). Heat over medium-low until aromas fill your kitchen. Allow to cook at a medium-low or lower temperature about 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld without frying the garlic.

Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in enough salt to create a paste. I didn’t measure this but I’d estimate 3/4 to 1 tablespoon worked for me. Rub paste in to all sides of chicken breasts. Allow to sit about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken breasts and saute 5-7 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through. We used thin cut chicken breasts, as usual, so total cooking time was about 12 minutes.

Served with sweet potato fries: 2 sweet potatoes, cut in to similarly sized chunks, tossed with olive oil and seasonings, baked 30 minutes or so in a 425 degree oven (watch these- they will burn).

To accompany the sweet potato fries, I had some sweet garlic mustard from Vermont. Yummy!

The chicken was incredibly easy and very flavorful; I expect to see a return engagement to our kitchen in the near future. Not really having to measure anything makes it very nice indeed.

Turkey Day Prep: Smashed Potatoes

I believe in my previous post, I referred to these as mashed potatoes. Its a slight difference to me but technically, the recipe is titled Smashed Potatoes.


From Cook’s Illustrated Magazine Issue no. 71, December 2004:

Garlic-Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

Ingredients
2 pounds Red Bliss, unpeeled and scrubbed
1 bay leaf
3 medium garlic cloves, 1 minced, 2 whole
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup cream cheese (4 oz) at room temperature
salt and pepper

Directions

  • In large saucepan, cover potatoes with 1 inch cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 2 whole garlic cloves and bay leaf. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low and simmer gently about 35-45 minutes. They are ready when you can slip a knife tip all the way in with no resistance.
  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small skillet. Add rosemary and 1 minced garlic clove. Cook about 30 seconds, just until fragrant then set aside.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and garlic cloves then drain potatoes. Discard bay leaf. Return potatoes to pot and allow to dry, about 5 minutes.
  • Whisk butter/garlic mixture, whole garlic cloves and soft cream cheese in a medium bowl until fully incorporated. Add 1/4 cup of reserved cooking water, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • With a spatula or wooden spoon, smash potatoes just enough to break up skins.
  • Fold in butter/cream cheese until most of liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potatoes remain.
  • Add more cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time until potatoes are slightly looser than desired.

Potatoes will thicken slightly as they stand. Serve immediately.

Notes:
Serves 4-6, doubles easily. When doubling recipes, only multiply salt by 1.5. You can always add more at the table. More potatoes will require more cooking time, 4 pounds will probably take 45-50 minutes.

Try to get potatoes of all the same size, around 2 inches in diameter. Bigger potatoes take longer to cook.

You can use white-skinned potatoes but they won’t be as pretty. I’d avoid russets as they have a distinctly different texture and don’t hold up the same under smashing conditions.

These potatoes were meant to hold their own when gravy wasn’t available. We will have gravy on Thanksgiving but that just makes them even better.

FYI, Cook’s Illustrated has a very nice site, but its not free.

Delicioso Green Beans & Potatoes (and Baked Chicken)

A little late, but here’s the recipe for that Sneak Peek photo from a few days ago.

Baked Chicken with Potato-Green Bean Saute

Ingredients

Green Beans, about 2 handfuls fresh. Trimmed and cut in half
5-6 fingerling potatoes
1/2 red onion, frenched
Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts (from Kroger)
balsamic vinegar
1-2 cloves mashed garlic
1/2 tablespoon rosemary
butter & olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth

Directions

If you follow these directions in order and with the right timing, it all comes together exactly right. Not planned that way, I just got lucky.

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 and bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove.
  • When water boils, add potatoes and keep boiling, 7-10 minutes. The potatoes are done when you stick a knife in about 1/2 way.
  • Drain potatoes and return to pan to cool slightly.
  • Place onion wedges in a small baking pan, coated with non-stick spray or olive oil. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on the onions then lay chicken breasts over the top of the onions. Bake in oven, uncovered, about 15-20 minutes.
  • While chicken bakes, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add garlic, cook 30 seconds then add green beans and cook 3-5 minutes until beans are softened up. Remove beans to a bowl.
  • While beans and chicken are cooking, quarter potatoes and sprinkle with a little salt.
  • After 15 minutes in the oven, check chicken for doneness. Depending on the size of the breasts, 20 minutes may be all that is needed. Sometimes we get really big chicken pieces from Kroger. This time, they were normal sized, individual portions.
  • During last 5 minutes of baking for chicken, heat 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in pan (same one from green beans). Add dried rosemary and potatoes; saute about 5 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from oven and set aside, covered to keep warm. Add onions and reserved green beans to pan with potatoes. Cook 2-3 more minutes then add chicken broth to deglaze pan and glaze vegetables.

potato-green-bean

Notes:
As I mentioned, the timing on this worked out really well especially since I wasn’t really trying. The chicken came out of the oven right about the time I needed those onions for the potatoes.

We have come to like the Parmesan Chicken Breasts from Kroger’s meat department as they can easily be jazzed up. Garnish chicken breast with balsamic vinegar, if desired.

This dish is very similar to my Summertime Potato-Tomato Saute.

We really like balsamic vinegar, especially the pictured variety from Cherry Creek.  The bottle is almost gone.  Yikes!

1106 dinner