Saturday, May 4, 2013

Spring Chicken with a Pile of Baby Vegetables

One of the problems I have with putting a meal together is finding sides that go with the main course. Everything on the plate should compliment each other somehow rather than be distracting or weird, and then there is the prep. I don't like when you need the oven set at three different temperatures all at the same time or when all of my biggest saucepans/pots need to be on the burners simultaneously. When I saw this recipe, an entire well-rounded meal done in a single skillet, I jumped on it.

Because I can never find a chicken that weighs less than 5 pounds, I didn't use a 3.5 pound chicken as specified in the recipe. I used chicken thighs and it worked out well.

Spring Chicken with a Pile of Baby Vegetables
from Cooking Club of America
click to print

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 tsp salt, divided
1/4 plus 1/8 tsp pepper, divided
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium sweet onion, halved, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges (1 1/4 cups)
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c white wine or lower-sodium chicken broth
8 thin carrots, 2 inches of tops attached (halved lengthwise if thick)
1 lb fingerling potatoes (1- to 1 1/2-inches), halved (quartered if large)
4 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, divided
8 oz. asparagus, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
4 oz. sugar snap peas, halved lengthwise (1 1/2 cups)

Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

Heat large deep skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil; heat until hot.

Cook chicken in batches, 6 to 8 minutes or until browned on all sides, turning occasionally; remove chicken.
I didn't need to do batches since my four thighs fit just fine. The splatter screen came in handy.

Add onion to skillet; cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally.

My fat/oil was pretty hot and maybe the heat was too high - my onions browned.

Add garlic; cook and stir 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add wine; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on bottom of skillet.

Return chicken and any accumulated juices to skillet.

Arrange carrots and potatoes over chicken; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the tarragon. Cover; simmer over medium-low heat 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender.

Add asparagus and peas; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the tarragon and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Cover; continue cooking 5 to 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center, carrots and potatoes are tender and asparagus and peas are crisp-tender. Remove chicken to platter; surround with vegetables.

Bring juices in skillet to a boil over high heat. Boil 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly thickened; pour over chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon.

This recipe is awesome! I followed the instructions exactly and the dish came out wonderfully. The chicken was cooked through, the vegetables were bright and perfectly tender, the flavors were very good, and the ratio of vegetables to meat was excellent. Had I tried using a whole chicken, there's no way all of this would've fit into my 12" skillet. No way. And I definitely wanted to use the cast iron to generate the tasty fond that is impossible to get in my cheap non-stick pans.

The only bummer about this is that the chicken skin, which starts out so crispy and beautiful gets soggy as it steams with the vegetables under the covered skillet. It might have been worth it to re-crisp them by running them under the broiler briefly.

  • bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs: $5.40
  • extra-virgin olive oil: $0.18
  • sweet onion: $0.28
  • garlic: $0.50
  • white wine: $1.50
  • carrots: $0.99
  • fingerling potatoes: $0.66
  • fresh tarragon: $0.65
  • asparagus: $1.50
  • sugar snap peas: $0.62
Total: $12.28 or about $3.07 for each of four servings.