Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So I pretty much love chicken.

I really do. Chicken is amazing. As much as people can try to persuade me to be a vegetarian, I don't want to do it for the "sake of the animals." And as much as they tell me about the health benefits.. well.. I just can't give up my meat. I am able to have meals without meat. I do know there is such a thing. But to completely get rid of it and never have it again? I can't do that.

What is this rambling about? Well. I've been wandering through Yahoo! Answers lately, helping with stuff in the "Food & Drink" section. Which is how I came upon this recipe. Someone was curious if this dish would go well with fettuccine alfredo. Alfredo is a cheesy cream sauce, whereas this dish is a salty tomato based sauce. I told her to go ahead. It sounded great. You can have tomato cream sauces, so why not have it separated in the same meal? The chicken recipe kept staring at me. It sounded so good. Especially with fettuccine alfredo. So that's what I made for dinner last night.

I didn't follow the recipe completely, though. Through my years (ha, I sound like I'm some wise old grandmother when I'm simply some random eighteen-year-old girl) of cooking, I've learned to not blindly follow a recipe. Well. You can, yes. And a lot of times it does turn out well. But if you're looking at a recipe and it does not seem right at all, or it has something you don't want to use, change it, then. This recipe called for a bit of salt. One and a half teaspoons. No, it isn't -that- much. But. When you add in the fact it calls for capers and prosciutto and canned tomatoes as well. Hmm. Something isn't quite right.

And on the topic of "things you don't want to use." It called for both wine and fresh red and yellow peppers. Any time something calls for wine, I instead use chicken broth. I could have used my nifty turkey stock I made after Thanksgiving, but I still had a carton of open chicken broth in the fridge, so I used that. As for the fresh bell peppers, I'd gladly use fresh. However, where I live, one single yellow bell pepper costs $1.79 and a red one costs $1.49. That's not per pound. That's each pepper. Or they have jars of roasted red and yellow peppers in the canned vegetable aisle that contains one red and one yellow bell pepper for $1.99. I'm cheap. So I went that route.

The recipe also didn't seem like it had enough garlic to me, so I increased that, and added in some chopped onions and sliced mushrooms. Well. The mushrooms were made off to the side because I'm the only one in my family who will eat them. And while the recipe calls for four bone-in, skinless chicken breasts and two skinless, bone-in thighs, I knew that would be way too much chicken for us. The original recipe could have been made with smaller breasts. I don't know. But where I live, chicken breasts come in a pack of three and all three feed five of us. But I couldn't find bone-in breasts, skinless or not. So I just grabbed the biggest package of boneless skinless.

I also didn't use fresh herbs; I used dried. Nor did I measure my dried herbs. I just used enough until it tasted good to me, and I added basil. The parsley and capers called for in the end are entirely optional. I left the parsley out completely, but I did add capers, only to my plate. Capers are an odd little thing, simply the pickled flower bud of [insert plant name here]. To me, they look like they're supposed to be crunchy, yet they're soft. They also have quite a salty, vinegary flavour, but more salty. I think if they had more of a vinegar flavour I wouldn't be so taken with them. I don't like vinegar at all.

As for the salt I mentioned, what, twenty minutes of writing ago? I only used enough salt to sprinkle on the chicken breasts. That's it. I felt no need to add anymore salt after that. But use your sense if you do decide to make this. Just because I changed it to suit my needs doesn't mean you have to, too. That's my lesson today, kids. Just because a recipe tells you to do something doesn't mean you have to do it. That zucchini bread tell you to put in half a teaspoon of cinnamon, yet it has no flavour? Add more. Change it. Go with what works for -you-. Recipes are created by -one- person with what works for -their- palate. Just because I feel this tastes good my way doesn't mean it doesn't taste good any other way.

Oh. And my fettuccine? Yeah. I made it myself. I was so giddy about it. But I never got a picture. It was dark. And then it was eaten. Mmm.

Roman-Style Chicken. (By Giada de Laurentiis.)

4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs (I used three big boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones (I omitted.)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon (I didn't measure; just sprinkled a little on each breast to season)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon (Again, didn't measure, but I did add some extra later, into the sauce.)
1/4 cup olive oil (Didn't measure, just coated the bottom of my pan in a thin layer.)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced (I used jarred, roasted red and yellow peppers that I chopped and added with the tomatoes)
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped (I used three, plus some garlic powder later on because I felt it needed more garlic.)
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used petite-diced tomatoes that I drained)
1/2 cup white wine (I used low-sodium chicken broth)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (I used dried.)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (I used dried.)
1/2 cup chicken stock (I used low-sodium broth.)
2 tablespoons capers (I just spooned some onto my portion)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (I omitted.)

Things I added: sauteed, sliced mushrooms half of a large onion, chopped


Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. (I didn't measure. Just sprinkled some on.) In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers (I added the chopped onions here, and if people would have eaten mushrooms, these would have gone in at this time, too.) and prosciutto and cook until the peppers (onions) have browned and the prosciutto is crisp (mine didn't crisp), about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine (broth), and herbs (and I added the chopped, roasted peppers at this point). Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock (broth), and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.

With my additions, I fancied this a lot. Without them.. I might have liked it, sure. But probably not as much.

1 comment:

Yarni Gras! said...

I make that recipe a lot and it is wonderful!

BTW, as for your question on my post about Ice Cream Cookies....they are called that because they were made to go WITH ice be crumbled up on top of them....back in the day.......