Thursday, January 25, 2007

Easy Home Cooking

If this chilly weather is making you long for a cozy, warm evening at home, with an easy yet delicious dinner, try these recipes. Even though the main is a chicken dish, with the bread it makes it semi-hearty. Add a nice fire and a tasty bottle of wine and all is right with the world.

Chicken with Roasted Lemons and Rosemary
5 large lemons
Kosher or sea salt
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 baguette (preferably whole wheat but sourdough is fine too)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 cups of low-sodium (if you can find it) chicken broth, reduced by half over medium heat
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the broiler. Cut the very end of each lemon off and then cut in half crosswise. Arrange the lemons, flesh side up, in an oven-safe, preferably glass baking dish, and season with salt. Broil 6 inches or more from the heat until browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Squeeze the lemon halves over a sieve or catch any seeds with your hands while you juice the lemons. Discard the lemon peels.
Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken, lower the heat to medium, and cook, turning once, until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate or baking sheet. Slice the baguette into 1/2 inch slices and arrange in on lightly greased (you can use butter, extra virgin olive oil or cooking spray) baking dish. Season the bread with a few pinches each of salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the baguette slices and place in the oven until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes once removed from the oven, and toss a bit so the pan juices are absorbed into the bread slices.
In a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat, add the garlic and rosemary, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of chicken broth and reserved lemon juice. Stir and scrape up all the browned bits that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan, and then add the remaining 1 cup broth. Bring to a simmer, stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and baguette slices and serve immediately, garnished with rosemary sprigs.
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts with Maple Bacon
1 pound of brussel sprouts
3 strips of maple-flavored bacon, roughly chopped
Kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Arrange the brussel sprouts in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high heat for 5 minutes. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add the chopped bacon. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the bacon is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the microwaved brussel sprouts and turn with the bacon to mix evenly. Add a generous pinch of both salt and pepper. Cook together for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with a nice Argentinian Malbec which can pick up the earthy elements in the chicken dish as well as the sweetness from the bacon in this one, and enjoy.

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