Tickling our fancy May 12, 2011Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, random stuff.
Did you ever cook something that was darn close to being a PERFECT dish? Something that’s just SO WONDERFUL that you want to enjoy it over and over?
Well, I think we’ve found it.
Remember a while back, when I told you about the fantastically simple and elegant “Cover My Nut” chicken?
That dish, my friends, has got to be about as close to perfect as you can get with a couple of chicken breasts.
I don’t just mean that it tastes good, although that’s certainly the most important thing.
But also – I’m talking something that tastes fantastic, it’s easy, it uses basic stuff you’ve already got lying around, and it’s easily adaptable to suit your mood or your pantry.
Or rather, I should say, it’s close to endlessly adaptable. It’s simply a matter of starting with your chicken – a boneless, skin-ON breast, about 5-6 ounces. (Of course, it’s important, if you’re cooking more than one, that they be close to the same size.)
And now the fun begins.
First you’re going to season the breasts, as simply or complexly as you’d like. It could be anything from a sprinkle of salt and pepper, to the addition of some citrus, to, well, a pile of spices.
In this instance, I looked to a decade-old Gourmet recipe – we combined:
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. coriander
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
And to that, we stirred in a tablespoon or so of canola oil.
That little bit of oil helps spread the couple of teaspoons of spice over three (or even four) chicken breasts, and helps it stick.
Just let the chicken rest in the fridge, rubbed, for a couple of hours, then preheat your oven (450°) and heat up your favorite cast iron skillet.
And now, we’re going to carry on like we did before – stick the breasts in the hot pan, skin-side down, and walk away.
Let them cook, maybe 5 minutes, until you’ve got a nice, crispy sear going on, then turn them and shove them, pan and all (obviously) into the oven for, oh, 15-20 minutes (160° if you’re checking), depending, of course, on how thick your breasts are.
Once the chicken is out of the oven, it’s time to look to the sauce. After all, a fonded-up cast iron pan would be a shame to waste, wouldn’t it?
Put the chicken on a plate and cover with foil – it will stay hot for a bit.
The easiest sauce is probably just a simple reduction – we went with about a cup of leftover vegetable stock – deglaze the pan, then let it simmer until it’s slightly thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup – it always takes me longer than I think it should, but I don’t think I boil it hard enough. (It should take about 5 minutes or so.)
Now you can also finish (“mount”) the sauce with butter – after all, butter is a sauce waiting to happen, right? You’ll just want to whisk a couple of tablespoons of cold butter right into the sauce – that’ll help thicken it and make it a little richer. We didn’t bother here – the meat was so nicely seasoned that I hated to distract from that.
What I love most about this is that it doesn’t have to be a recipe – once you’ve got the technique (sear the breasts, shove them in the oven, finish with sauce), you can do whatever tickles your fancy.
And we’re all about that around here, you know.