Monday, December 12, 2011

Eat Mor Chik'n

Don't you get sick of chicken?  I don't know when it happened that the only acceptable protein is chicken.  Is it because they aren't cute?  Beef has a bad rap because it's all fatty and clogs your heart.  Ditto bacon.  Leaner pork is ok, but everyone is always afraid it's going to cause parasites or something.  Fish is expensive.  People don't shoot squirrels or possum for themselves; and if I tried to serve rabbit I think my children would disown me.  Actually, they might try to have me arrested.  Bunnies are cute.  Cows and pigs are cute, fish is expensive (plus: mercury).   Chickens, well, they are loud, smelly, and peck your feet.

Ok, I don't actually know that for sure because I haven't truly spent a lot of time with chickens.  When my mom was growing up in Kentucky, there were chickens running all over my grandfather's gentleman's farm.  And when my grandfather was growing up in West Virginia - a lot of what his family ate came straight from the yard - what they grew and what they raised.  I think it's a little sad that I am most intimate with chickens when they are already sliced into a cutlet and wrapped in plastic.  But what can you do.  I don't live in the country.  The farmers I know, I know because they are standing under a tent in the parking lot of the GSB building once a week.  Selling stuff from a truck.

I'm going off on a rant here - and it's doing this post no good whatsoever because the meal I made last night was indeed chicken, pre-sliced into a cutlet and dressed with ingredients that are either slightly exotic or out of season, or both.  So much for my holier-than-thou-I-only-shop-at-farmer's-markets attitude.  Because the reality is, my kids ate it and asked for more - Which means that this recipe is a keeper and I'm going to make it again.

I took a Martha Stewart recipe and bumped it up a bit.  The original is in the December issue of Martha Stewart Magazine.  If you have time, marinate it longer - I really only had time to throw the ingredients on it and let it sit out on the counter for an hour while I cooked up some rice.

I do not like this picture, it's too shiny.  Food shouldn't be this shiny.

Lime & Basil Chicken

2 limes - juice one and a half for about a 1/4 of lime juice.  Slice the last half for garnish
1/4 cup of grape seed oil
2 tblsp of lower sodium soy sauce
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tbslp of brown sugar
1 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp salt
some grindings of pepper
8 thinly sliced chicken cutlets (or you can take 4 boneless chicken breasts and with a very sharp knife, slice them in half length wise)
1/4 cup of white wine (something slightly sweeter - but not too sweet)
1/4 cup of chicken stock
1/4 cup of fresh basil - (which I didn't have - however I did have the cool frozen basil from Trader Joe's - which comes frozen in these great little cubes - I used about four of those) plus a bit extra for garnish.

Mix the first 8 ingredients (limes through pepper) in a shallow dish - and then place the chicken in the dish flipping and swishing them until they are covered in marinade.  Let them sit at least an hour, or, if you're more organized than I am, mix it all up in the morning before you head out for your day so they are all nice and marinady when you get home.

Then, heat your saute pan until it is very hot.  Drop 3 or 4 cutlets in the pan (don't over crowd the pan, it's ok to do all this in sections).  Turn the heat to medium and sear the cutlets on one side for about 4 minutes.  Then flip them and sear for another 4 minutes.  Repeat with remaining cutlets.  Let the chicken rest in a bowl where all their chickeny juices can collect.

When all the chicken is cooked and relaxing in the bowl, pour the wine and chicken broth into the pan along with the marinade.  Don't worry, you are going to cook the marinade - in fact start scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Let the marinade come to a boil, stirring all the while.  Reduce it down so that it is about half the amount, add the basil, and then return the chicken to the pan, cooking to heat it through over a lower heat.  Serve the whole thing over a nice steaming bowl of rice.  You can sprinkle some of the lovely basil over all, which I didn't do because I didn't have any.  I did, however, lovingly place a sliced lime right on top of your cutlets.  Very pretty.  And it keeps the cows happy...

1 comment:

  1. Having been on more than one commercial food shoot, I can vouch that food is indeed not that shiny. Somebody with a cup of oil and a paintbrush has had their way with it.


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