Monday, January 25, 2010

Chicken x 3

It was late -- almost too late to start dinner, certainly too late to get to the store and still make dinner -- and I was tired, tired, tired. It was Wednesday. I don't like Wednesdays. People are always all: it's hump day, half way toward the weekend, but for me it's just another indication that another week of my life has whizzed by and what do I have to show for it.

And I was also thinking of Haiti. I couldn't stop looking at the pictures. And it reminded me of how I felt after 9/11 - that my small obsessions are so pathetic in the face of that kind of tragedy. Which just added to my Wednesday malaise, rather than snap me out of it.


OK. So I picked myself up and went to the store. I bought some chicken parts -- one half chicken breast and a pack of boneless thighs. And I made three full meals out of that little bit of chicken! Which made me feel a little better, a little less wasteful. It wasn't like I hadn't made versions of these three meals before, but it was nice to see that a little - much less than I usually buy - could really go a long way toward feeding my family. I had a Michael Pollen moment, which took me out of myself for a little bit. Made me feel like maybe I have done something with this week after all.

Chicken and Rice (Wednesday night's dinner)
Usually I got to the store and buy a whole already roasted chicken and tear it up and toss it with pasta and vegetables - but they were having a sale on parts and the parts were going to cost me less than a whole already roasted bird - so this is what I did instead:

2 TBSLP Olive oil (divided)
1/2 chicken breast
3 chicken thighs (from a pack of six)
1/4 cup of wine (optional, you can just use broth)
1 small onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3/4 cup of chicken stock or broth
1 bay leaf

1 anchovy
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1 leek, chopped, white part only
1 bunch of kale

White rice

First, I got my cast iron skillet very hot, and then swirled the olive oil over it. Seasoned the chicken with a little salt and pepper then pan seared it in batches, just so it browned a bit, but not so it was cooked through. Took the chicken out. Poured in the wine and 1/4 cup of stock to deglaze the pan -- added more oil, threw in the onion, celery, carrot when the oil was hot. Sauteed those a bit. Put the chicken back in the pan, settling it around the vegetables and poured in the rest of stock. Threw in the bay leaf and let it all simmer until the chicken was just cooked through and a lot of the broth was evaporated.

At this point I took the chicken out of the pan along with the broth and set it aside to let it cool.

Meanwhile, cooked the rice.

I reheated the same pan, once again, added a bit more oil threw in the anchovy, let it dissolve, thew in the leek and carrot, let them cook until they got softish, threw in the kale let it wilt. Shredded just some of the now cooled chicken (about 1/4 of what I'd cooked) - thew that in and got the whole thing warmed up while the chicken finished off cooking. Gave it a taste, and adjusted the seasoning. The anchovy adds the salt, and a nice layer of flavor without tasting at all fishy. You're just going to have to trust me on this. I think I added more pepper and a pinch of salt here, but that's all.

Plated it up over rice.

Reading this over, it seemed like a lot of work, but it really didn't feel like it at the time. It felt like fun.

My next post will be about what I did with "all" that leftover chicken...

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What are you having for dinner tonight?