Sunday, November 15, 2009

Four corners and layers of flavor

It's odd that I was in the mood for chicken. We eat little red meat and have chicken (or pork or seafood) for most meals. But chicken sounded perfect this weekend. Then there were the greens... Knowing that I have bags of fresh greens in the fridge led me to think about a variation on my fish + greens = goodness recipe in October.

I should confess that I also love crispy chicken skin, so cooking by steaming in a packet wasn't very appealing. Instead I decided to roast the chicken. How then to incorporate the greens? Certainly, they could be sauteed and stuffed in the bird, or perhaps laid underneath during cooking. I opted for the latter.

The Method (Marinade)
  1. Combine:

    • 1 TB dried rosemary
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp salt
    • juice from three oranges
    • juice from one lemon
    • 1/2 tsp mango powder

  2. Marinate chicken pieces for 2-3 hours.
The Method (Greens)
  1. Render chicken skin. (You should have 3-4 TBs of fat.)
  2. Add 5-6 white radishes (peeled), 1 large carrot (roughly chopped), 1 large onion (roughly chopped).
  3. Add 2 TBs garlic, minced
  4. Add 1 TB ginger, minced
  5. Sautee until vegetables begin to brown.
  6. Add 5-6 C greens, roughly chopped (I used mustard greens and bok choy).
  7. Cook until the greens are wilted and almost tender.
The Method (Chicken)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat oil in a deep skillet until smoking hot.
  3. Brown the chicken on all sides. (Don't crowd the pan. The pieces will brown faster. I split one chicken into two batches.)
  4. In a roasting pan, layer in order:
    • the wilted greens and veggies
    • a thick layer of cooked brown rice
    • the chicken pieces
  5. Drizzle the remaining marinade over the chicken.
  6. Looking ahead to dessert, I partially cored and placed an apple in each corner of the roasting pan. I set a pat of butter inside the top of each apple.
  7. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is done. (I use a convection oven, which shortens the cooking time a bit.)
The Results
Everything was incredibly moist. The greens, much to my surprise, did not dry out at all. A few grains of rice around the edge of the pan were crispy. Orange infused the entire dish...but was not overwhelming. Rosemary was the most pronounced scent and flavor, but - again- not distractingly so. The apples absorbed the mix of flavors - bit of cinnamon would have been fine.

image Next time, I would perhaps flip on the broiler for the last few minutes to crisp the chicken skin a bit more.  This would work well with fish (if it is firm fleshed and/or oily like salmon), beef, or pork. The addition of carrots was fine but not necessary, while the onions and radishes contributed to the overall flavor of the greens.

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Kudya Bwino Bwino (Eating Well) © 2009