A story about chicken breast

April 19, 2010

Pan Roasted Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Feta

I started writing a post about my eight year struggle with boneless skinless chicken breast, and then I got tired and bored. It’s only chicken, after all. So I’ll spare you and paraphrase. Up until about six months ago, I couldn’t figure chicken breast out. I’d marinate. I’d pound. And I’d rather have eaten the rubber sole of a shoe. It always left something to be desired. But I so wanted to be able to cook it, eat it and like it. Here I was, recommending boneless skinless chicken breast as a healthier alternative to red meat and fried chicken legs, trying to convince people that yes, it could be just as satisfying as, say, prime rib. But at the same time I was struggling to make a decent meal of this ornery cut of poultry. It was always the same old story. Dry. Dry and tough. Dry and tough and leathery. Again, pass the shoe. I thought I was a decent cook. This ongoing chicken battle made me wonder.

And then one day I happened upon this pan roasting method and, well, glorious. It all made sense. Sear both sides over high heat for a couple of minutes (to seal in the juices), transfer to a high heat oven to roast (and finish cooking), then allow to rest before serving (to allow the juices to redistribute). It only took me a humbling eight years to figure out. But that’s what this whole cooking thing is all about. Learn as you go, improve with practice. It’s experiences like this that make me appreciate and love the art of food that much more.

Ok, so I guess you did get a story about boneless skinless chicken breast.

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Chicken Baked with Lentils

February 13, 2010

Chicken Baked with Lentils

Oh, lentils. We adore them around here. And while they usually end up in soups, I love them in dishes like this one where they really have a presence. They aren’t pushed aside by chunks of carrots or stewed to a creamy, less defined consistency. No, here you know you’re eating lentils. And using green lentils ensures they maintain their shape and bite. They’ve cozied with the likes of some major flavor players, including pancetta, radicchio, cumin and fresh sage. Yet the end result is mild, and I don’t mean bland or nondescript. Just a perfect marriage of good things. I didn’t know what to expect from this combination of ingredients, though I thought one or the other might shine a little brighter, yell a little louder. But no, nobody tried to shout the loudest or outshine the others. All of the flavors played as one. A true team effort.
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A few simple steps

January 22, 2010

Chicken Sausage with White Beans and Sage

I agree that at first glance the looks of this dish are nothing to write home about. It’s so…so…blah looking. Blah looking and brown. Blah looking and beige. Couldn’t I have stuck a sprig of sage leaves in there somewhere? I admit I considered it. I also admit I considered doing away with this whole post. But then I came to my senses because this was good and I wanted to share it with you. It’s one of those recipes that surprises you after you’ve read the ingredient list and feared it lacked some wow or zing or oh la la la. But then it emerges from the oven smelling of sage and toasted breadcrumbs and tasting of home and you are grateful for have given it a chance.
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