Thursday, June 28, 2007

Braised chicken with balsamic vinegar

I had to wait a little whle until the painful stupidity of what I did with this had faded a little bit.

I decided to make a braised chicken-and-potatoes dish. It was done entirely on the stovetop, which is nice during the summer when one doesn't want to turn on her oven more than is absolutely necessary.

It serves 4, and there's just one of me. I loaded up all of my leftovers to take with me to work for lunch for the week... and left the container sitting next to my front door. After 9 hours of it sitting out at room temperature, I wasn't taking any chances, so I only had one meal from this. Luckily, it was a very tasty meal.

Braised chicken

3 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1/4" strips
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (Vidalia, if you can find one)
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled, or 12-15 whole peeled garlic cloves
1 can (14.5 oz) low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 lb waxy potatoes, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2" wide half-moons (peeling not necessary)

Cook bacon in a deep 12-inch skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving the bacon fat in skillet.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken (in 2 batches if necessary) in bacon fat over moderately high heat, turning once, about 10 minutes. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from skillet.

Add the potatoes to the skillet and cook over medium heat until starting to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the sliced onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and slightly translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic cloves and chicken broth to the skillet, and bring to a boil for 1 minute.

Return chicken to skillet, nestling the chicken down into the sauce. Gently simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a serving dish. Add the balsamic vinegar to the sauce and boil, uncovered, mashing the garlic cloves with the back of a spoon, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Serve chicken and potatoes together, sprinkled with crumbled bacon.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Stout floats

I poke through the new recipes on pretty frequently, and came across one for Guinness-based ice cream floats a couple of weeks ago. I love Guinness, I love vanilla ice cream... sure, I'll give that a try. There's even a pretty picture accompanying the recipe to suck me in further.

There was a bad review... I wrote it off as someone who likes beer but maybe isn't used to drinking Guinness. I got a weird face from someone at work when I told her I was thinking about making this... still, I believed that this was going to be delightful.

Epicurious does me wrong SO VERY RARELY, and I want to make that clear. I love them. I urge all bacon lovers to try out their Sweet and Spicy Bacon recipe, which is like heaven on earth. It takes the basic idea behind dipping bacon in maple syrup and takes it to the next logical step. I can't keep a batch around for longer than 24 hours (which is part of why I try not to make it often, because I have this notion that eating a pound of bacon in a day isn't all that healthy).

The stout floats didn't come out so well. And here's the problem. Ice cream floats should be sweet. Guinness is very bitter, coming in between 45-60 on the IBU scale. Guinness works in something like a chocolate stout cake, where there's some flavor complexity to offset the bitterness. It does NOT work when the only sweetness in the dessert is coming from vanilla ice cream, even premium vanilla ice cream. You just end up with ice cream that tastes bitter. Bleh. Lesson learned.

However, now I'm wondering if a combo of a hefeweizen and lemon sorbet or ice cream would work...