Saturday, August 25, 2012
Easy Garlic Chicken
As you may already know, I cook chicken way more than I cook beef. Not only is it usually less expensive but it's a lot more versatile. Over the years I've learned what I like, what works, and how to optimize my chicken dish. I think the most important thing I've learned (and I learned it from Julia Child) is not to overcook your chicken. It really makes all the difference in the world. When you can cut your chicken with a fork....and it melts in your mouth almost like butter....you know you've cooked it to perfection.
Julia Child from Mastering the Art of French Cooking: 'The flesh of a perfectly cooked [chicken breast] is white with the faintest pinky blush, its juices run clear yellow and it is definitely juice.......Press the top of it with your finger; if it is still soft and yields slightly to the touch, it is not yet done. As soon as the flesh springs back with gently resilience, it is ready. If there is no springiness, it is overcooked.'
With that said, I bring you this recipe. I saw it on Piniterest and knew I was destined to make it some day. I mean....it was all about garlic....I couldn't pass that up. After reading the original instructions and the reviews (I highly, highly recommend that you always read the reviews whenever possible...even if the recipe is from a famous chef) I realized that a few changes were in order. The oven temperature was too high (not only would it overcook the chicken, but nothing ruins a dish like burnt, bitter, garlic), and even with all this garlic...."lacking something" was mentioned several times in the reviews. There was no way I was going to give up, though. I had a few tricks up my sleeve and I knew it would be a winner.
Easy Garlic Chicken (inspired by Easy Garlic Chicken)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp plus 1 TB olive oil, divided
4 TB brown sugar
1/4 cup Extra Dry Vermouth (can use white wine or chicken broth)
2 boneless skinless chicken breast, butterflied in half
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 375'
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, saute the garlic in 1 TB of olive oil, until tender but not brown. This should only take a minute. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar and vermouth. Return to heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until reduced, stirring frequently.
While that is going on, season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper
In an oven safe large skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat and brown the chicken on both sides, about 2 or 3 minutes per side. Keep an eye on it. Once it's lightly brown, turn it. The aim here is to brown, not cook.
Note: if you do not have an oven save skillet, after browning, place the chicken in a casserole dish.
Once the garlic sauce has reduced a bit, pour it over the chicken evenly...making sure that those bits of garlic get on each of your pieces of chicken. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 6 - 8 minutes.
When you serve it, don't forget to spoon the juices in the pan over the chicken.
Tonight I had it with mashed potatoes made from Yukon Gold potatoes and steamed escalloped squash just picked from my garden, garnished with fresh chives.
The chicken is great...and very garlicy. The vermouth cuts the sweetness a bit but it still has the benefit of the brown sugar apparent, which goes nicely with all that garlic. And it is incredibly tender. I chose the potatoes and squash and kept them simple, allowing the chicken to be the star of the show. It was kinda fun eating a "white" dinner. I didn't miss the splash of color. It almost felt...clean.
Hmm....with all the cleaning I've been doing today...I s'pose I carried that theme to my dinner in way.