September 19, 2007
I am guilty of being a lazy cook this past week. By the end of the day, if I haven’t started something for dinner early, I am not in the mood to spend a lot of time fussing with new recipes. I have been tired because my dogs haven’t been cooperative during the night. One was sick and needed to go outside (’nuff said) every 15 minutes and the puppy has been ready to go out at 4:00 in the morning the past 3 days. Maybe that’s it.
Last night, I had some chicken breasts marinating in lemon juice and pepper and a little bit of olive oil. That was simple enough. I also had some medium-sized new potatoes that I rolled in kosher salt, pepper, and olive oil. I stripped the leaves of a small sprig of rosemary and mixed that with the potatoes. I preset the oven to roast the potatoes for 45 minutes at 400 degrees while I was gone for an hour or so in the early evening. When I returned, I cooked some green beans and grilled the chicken. It was quick enough but rather bad planning because I have some other chicken pieces that I must prepare tonight.
I guess chicken 2 nights in a row isn’t the worst thing that could happen. My sister Ellen could eat chicken every day in any way – boiled, roasted, fried, any way. I’m not the biggest chicken fan but it’s hard to pass up the great deals on whole chickens other special sales like “buy one, get one free.”
The recipe for tonight is one I found last weekend in the Wall Street Journal’s Weekend Edition. Each Saturday, the WSJ features a chef who provides a meal’s worth of recipes suitable for the relatively adventurous home cook. Sometimes the recipes require more adventurousness or $$$ than I have. Other times the list of ingredients can be daunting. Occasionally, they are straightforward and appealing and I usually save those to try when I get around to it. (I have a file of hundreds of recipes to “get around to.”)
This recipe combines chicken with tomatoes, garlic, and white wine with just a few other things. How could I not save it? Tomatoes and garlic always appeal to me. This one also has some vinegar for a little tang. The chef, David Waltuck, owner of Chanterelle in Tribeca, NYC, recommends as sides Fried Zucchini “Coins”, which I will also make tonight, and Sauteed Penne with Cauliflower and Chickpeas, which I will not.
The article in the paper suggested watching a video of the preparation of the chicken in the WSJ Online video offerings. It was not the most professional food video in the world. In fact, it was apparent that the chicken was barely cooked, certainly not to the degree required for safe eating, and more evidently, not browned enough to even be attractive. Chalk it up to inexperience on the WSJ’s behalf; it isn’t the Food Network, after all, and I wouldn’t expect the Food Network to give me a full and reliable report on the stock market. That being said, I still was interested in fixing the recipe and tonight’s the night.
I’ll share the recipe now and let you know how it was later.
BISTRO-STYLE CHICKEN WITH TOMATO AND TARRAGON
from Wall Street Journal, Sep. 15, 2007
Recipe provided by David Waltuck, owner and executive chef of Chanterelle restaurant
Yield: 4 servings
Active prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
3 T. olive oil
2 chicken breasts and 2 leg/thighs, oin the bone and with skin (or a 3 1/2-pound chcken, cut up)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, lightly crushed with your hands, juice reserved
1/4 c. tarragon or white wine vinegar
3 T. unsalted butter
2 t. roughly chopped fresh tarragon leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy, nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat. When it just begins to smoke, add only enough chicken pieces to fit into the skillet without touching and cook until well browned on all sides, about 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside while you saute the remaining pieces in batches, if necessary.
2. When all the chicken has been removed from the skillet, add the garlic to the drippings and saute over medium heat until fragrant but not browned, about 15 seconds.
3. Add the wine and chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping up the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the skillet along with any accumulated juices and boil the liquid until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes to the skillet along with about half the juice in the can, the vinegar, and the butter. Return to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through (it should register 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer) and the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes; turn the chicken pieces once or twice during the cooking time and break up the tomatoes with a spoon. The sauce should hold together but still be chunky. (If the breasts are very thick and are not cooked through after 30 minutes, remove the legs from the skillet, cover with a lid and continue to simmer until done.)
5. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fresh tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken in the skillet or transfer to a polatter, topping it with the sauce.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? I hope it is.
September 20, 2007
The chicken was good. It sure was messy, however. Splattered grease everywhere, even though I used a splatter-shield. The flavor was delicious. I made brown rice and the sauce was great with the rice. I did make the fried zucchini which was delicious, more splattered grease. \
The zucchini was a simple “dip zucchini in beaten egg then dredge in fine crumbs and saute in hot oil.” You know the drill. It only took about 3 minutes on a side for the zucchini to be done.