Monday, March 9, 2009

Date Night Chicken - 30 Minutes of Show Time

So I fell for the Face Book chain letter (Hey! Feel free to friend us... Heirloom LA),  25 Random Things About Myself, and got some action on #17. Something about how I was this strict vegetarian for an inordinate amount of time, but (my oh my) now I can show you real quick how to make a chicken dish that's got the power to knock out (in a good way) anyone who eats bird.

Well inquiring minds want to know so here goes:

First off, you want to buy good quality, organic chicken. I know it's more expensive, but the flavor it renders will reward you and the antibiotics and hormones it doesn't contain shall not be missed. Make sure the skin's on and the bones are in because again, more flavor.

Salt and pepper both sides of said chicken.

Turn your oven on 500F! Raise your fire to 


And get a pan holy smokin' hot, hot HOT!!!

Next, add olive oil.

No joke! Here lies the secret to this dish: a pan that is hotter than Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. You've gotta see smoke arising in a sweltering plume out of this baby.

Place chicken skin side down in the hot pan carefully as there is no place for injury while showing off. Toss in some flavoring for the oil: herbs, chopped onions, unpeeled garlic (so it turns to mash and doesn't burn), shallots, pepper flakes, whatever floats your yacht.

Drizzle with some more oil, dash in some sea salt, and let it sear. Get a nice caramel color going, and smell that garlic, oh yea! Survey says you're aiming to please at this point.

Next, if you want to do some veggies, chop up bite size a variety like bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, onions, herbs and mix them with some olive oil, salt and pepper.

If you've got tomatoes, hold onto them, same for broccoli or mushrooms or leafy greens. Place all other veggies on a (lined for less mess) sheet tray and chuck them in that 500F oven. 

Now attend to your chicken (and kiss your date 'cause you got it all under control, honey). Once you have a beautiful sear going on, throw the chicken in the oven too.

Not only does a proper sear make a lovely color, but it also serves to protect the meat from drying out in the oven.

Roughly chop those tomatoes and season with oil, s & p. Once your mixed veggies are soft, add the tomatoes to the medley and put it all back into the oven.

Tear up the brocolli if you have it, keeping it long, or for mushrooms, clean them of dirt and tear these apart also. Same for the leafy greens if using. Set aside.

Cut a couple lemons in half and get rid of any seeds you see.

Once the skin is crispy, take out your chicken from the oven and place the pan on the stove over high heat.  Remove the chicken from the pan and arrange the broccoli (or mushrooms or greens) in it's place, letting it get a little carmelized, then deglaze with some lemon juice.

Replace the chicken, skin side up, over the broccoli and drizzle with a couple lemon halves. The juice from the lemon will evaporate and leave a sweet and sour essence on your finished dish. Divine. Return to the oven.

The veggies should be pretty soft by now, so remove them and smash the tomatoes to release their juices. Now put these in your broiler so they can get a little char. Keep a good watch. Burned food is not sexy!

Take those veggies out, take the chicken out and plate it up real pretty because... We eat with our eyes first, folks.

What you've got left behind is little bits and juices that are money so put them back on the fire and reduce them down by half to make a rouse of a sauce.

Hey! Look what you did! Sooo much better than take out. 

P.S. It is Matt who prepared this dish for you here that I got to eat
 and hence it is he who has swooned me. 

Now you go get to swooning!!

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