Thursday, November 11, 2010

RECIPE: Chicken with Leeks and Garlic (THE EASIEST chicken recipe ever)

This recipe would easily make my greatest hits recipe mix CD.

This versatile dish stands up to being served to guests or a constant on your weekday menu.  Serve along side a starch that can sop up the delicious sauce (pictured, wild rice, parsley, mushroom salad, recipe below as well).  Try this with thighs, breasts, legs...whatever you have in your fridge.  I recommended boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Chicken with Leeks and Garlic
Serves 3-4

2 tsp grapeseed or olive oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 leek, white and light green parts only.  Sliced lengthwise, sliced into 1 inch half moons
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 (or so) cups of white wine
1 small pat of cold butter (Let's say under a tablespoon, but no one's stopping you from adding more.)
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and white pepper, to taste

Prep the leeks:

If you don't know how to prep leeks for cooking, not to worry.  It's super easy.  First, cut off the root end and discard.  Next, cut right where the light green starts to turn to dark, tough green.  You don't want the tough, dark green part...rinse and save for stock.  Leeks grow in sand and are pretty dirty when you get them at the market.  So now you need to remove the sand.  Easy!  Cut down the white/light green stalk you've reserved lengthwise.  Next, cut crosswise, into 1 inch half moons.  Place your sliced leeks into a large bowl of cold water.  Agitate.  Let sit for a few minutes (15 or so).  The sand will sink to the bottom and your clean leek will float to the top!

Season your chicken with salt and pepper.  Preheat medium skillet (one that has a tight-fitting lid and is big enough to hold all of the chicken comfortably) on medium high heat.  Add oil.  When the oil is hot (shimmering, almost smoking), place your chicken in the pan.  After 2-3 minutes, turn.  Cook on the opposite side for another 203 minutes...until you get a nice brown sear.  Set aside.  Don't worry about cooking it all the way through, we'll finish them off later.

In the same pan add leeks, cook until soft, about 1 minute.  Add garlic, keep it all moving for another minute...until everything is nice and fragrant.  Add your chicken breast back on top of the leek mixture.  Pour wine in to just about cover the chicken, but not quite.  This will be your braising liquid.  Bring to a boil, then tune it down to a low simmer.  Put the lid on.  You should be on low heat now.  Walk away for 20 minutes  (less time if you are using breasts...those tend to get too tough when you over cook them).

Remove just the chicken on to a plate, tent with foil to keep warm.  Reduce the liquid by a third.  Remove the skillet from the heat.  Swirl in the cold butter.  Add the parsley.  Taste it!  Season it! Spoon over chicken.

RECIPE: Brown Rice/Wild Rice, Mushroom, Parsley Salad

I'm not sure what to call it, but I refuse to make up silly names for things that can't be categorized like Rachel Ray (Stewp?  Seriously?).

Great served room temperature or warm, I'll eat it any way I can get it.  I use a brown /wild rice mixture and cook it in my rice cooker, making this recipe even easier.  Cut down on the parsley if you don't like it as much...but in my opinion it is an underrated herb.   I like to let the parsley be the star in this "salad".  The batch I made below had too little parsley.

RECIPE: Brown Rice/Wild Rice, Mushroom, Parsley Salad
Serves 4

1 cup uncooked Brown Rice/Wild Rice
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb (one package) baby portabella mushrooms, washed, quartered,  and dried
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Juice from 1 lemon
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
salt and pepper

Cook rice according to directions.  1 cup uncooked should yield about 2 cups cooked.  In a preheated medium skillet, heat about 2 tsps of the olive oil.  In batches, saute the mushrooms, ensuring a nice brown sear.  I can't stress the batch sauteing...if you don't give mushrooms a little space to cook, the moisture in the pan will steam them or the oil temp will drop in the pan, and no brown sear for you.  And don't forget to season!

To make the dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil (try using a good extra virgin oil for the dressing) and lemon juice.  Add rice, mushrooms and parsley.  Combine.  Taste, season.  Garnish with cheese. Enjoy!