Monday, February 1, 2010

Chicken, Orzo, Carrots

Time to completion: 35 minutes, driven totally by orzo cooking time.
Work done ahead: pounded chicken, cut up carrots.
Work I should have done ahead: cut up onion/shallot, bought parsley.

For the chicken: pound some boneless/skinless chicken tenders until you have something pretty thin.  (I do this in big batches and freeze them in groups of 4 between sheets of plastic wrap.)  Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan (this is one of the few things I use a non-stick pan for b/c it never gets too, too hot).  As it is heating up dredge the chicken in flour.  Put the chicken in the hot frying pan.  Salt and pepper whatever side is up, don't worry about the othe side.  Cook a minute or two a side, until it's basically done.  Put on a plate or shallow dish, cover with foil, and put in a 200 degree oven.

Add whatever you're going to add to the frying pan to start making a sauce.  Usually I add a shallot and some capers.  Sometimes I skip the capers and add mushrooms.  Stir that around until it is cooked.  Add a third cup or so of wine.  (White if capers, red if mushrooms, usually.  Today I used vermouth.)  Cook until it is mostly evaporated. Turn the oven off or the chicken will overcook -- it will stay warm enough with the residual heat.  Add half a cup or so of chicken stock to your frying pan.  Cook away until it thickens slightly and is reduced by a third to a half.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Reduce the heat and stir in 1-2 T of unsalted butter.  Stir continuously until it's incorporated or you'll break the sauce.  Add some chopped up parsley (if you remembered to buy it).  Return the chicken and any juices to the pan to rewarm.

For the carrots: add sliced carrots and half a cup or so of water to a heavy pan with a lid.  Add a tablespoon or so of butter and some salt, a little ginger if you like, or maybe a little orange juice.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cover to cook until the carrots are almost done.  Remove the cover, raise the heat and cook the rest of the way.  Towards the end, stir the carrots around so they get glazed by the residual butter in the pan.

For the orzo: heat a little olive oil in a pan with a lid.  Add some diced onion or shallot.  Add about a cup of orzo and stir around.  Add 2-3 cups chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cover.  Cook 20 minutes or until orzo is done.  Stir in half to 1 cup Parmesan cheese.

Eaten: yes, definitely.  Liam loves everything about this meal and must have consumed half a cup or more of carrots.
Cleanup: not too bad, especially because I can usually get the nonstick frying pan washed and put away while Will and Liam are still gathering to the table.  Making the chicken sauce spatters, so that has to be cleaned up or avoided using something like this (which I always forget to use).

All these recipes owe reference to Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, which I refer to almost daily and routinely give as a present.  (Jeeze, I see there's an updated version; now I want that.)

Tomorrow: leftover chicken pot pie and broccoli.  And I promise to work on the food photos.  I hope tomorrow night to have time to coment on all your blogs (you know who you are); I've been reading and thinking of you all.


mekate said...

oh my gosh that looks good
sounds good
mmmm can almost taste it.
of course, it is nearing dinner time here which is not helping me.

thank you for sharing!


Mad Hatter said...

Thank you for sharing that delicious-looking recipe and the name of the cookbook - I will definitely check it out!