Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hunger Games Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots, and Leeks

So today I made the long drive back to Chicago. I get home and smile. I genuinely love going home. I'm greeted with hugs from siblings and two barking poodles and a sun-splashed backyard. Spring in St. Charles is beautiful. I'm so blessed to come home.

So I quickly grabbed the camera and set off with the dogs into the woods. Revelation hits. Apparently, the Hunger Games took place in my backyard. What an awesome place to grow up. My playground was a huge wood, currently full of wild flowers in full bloom, dense ponds, and spring-green grass. I love going back there. I hope wherever I end up there are woods. I belong out there. It was a stunning walk; we didn't see any deer, but plenty of busy birds, an eagle, and some ducks. The dogs had a blast running around chasing all the wildlife away (-yes even 14 year old Jazz got some goofy-dog-run in). 

After a wonderful walk I was greeted by a very aromatic kitchen and Mozart playing in the background. Mom was making a beautiful dinner, which I'm coining the Hunger Games dinner, maybe because of the walk or maybe because it uses fresh spring food. Either way, it's simple yet restaurant-worthy. Mom found the recipe in America's Test Kitchen, and it was awesome! Alsatian-Style Chicken refers to type of cuisine that blends French and German tradition. This was my introduction to it, and based on this dish, Alsatian is fantastic. Thank-you, Mom, for a great meal!

Quick Alsatian-Style Chicken Braise
Serves 4 -5
Cook time: an hour or so
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
Salt & pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1/1/2 pounds), cut in half
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick crosswise
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup créme fraîche (or heavy cream)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  1. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into 4 pieces and toss with potatoes in microwave-safe bowl. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and microwave until potatoes are tender, 8 - 10 minutes, tossing potatoes halfway through. 
  2. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt an additional 1 tablespoon butter in  a large skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. 
  3. Cook half of the chicken until lightly browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Repeat with the additional 1 tablespoon butter and remaining chicken.
  4. Add the leeks, carrots, and remaining butter to the empty skillet and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits, then add chicken and any accumulated juices. 
  5. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil.
  6. Reduce the liquid in skillet until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Then remove from heat and whisk in créme fraîche, lemon juice, and parsley. Season sauce with salt and pepper. 
  7. Arrange chicken and potatoes in serving dish, and pour the sauce on top. Serve hot, and thoroughly enjoy! Goes great with white wine!

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Hi guys! Let me know what you think of this post, if you've tried the recipe, or have a dish request. Thanks!