Friday, May 26, 2017

Tornado Alley - Playing Chicken With Dinner

Before the storms hit, I had to make a dash to the local grocery for two things I'd forgotten. Partner in Grime was driving back from O'Hare where he was arriving after a week on the road and I wanted to make him a nice "not Subway" meal.  He looked at my purchases, lemon juice, and foil, raised an eyebrow and said: "so, making batteries for supper?"

Most of you have seen at least the lower front of his shirt over a dinner table. For those of you that haven't met him, Partner in Grime is my husband,  but also that fellow I share a last name with (trying to look all serious for me, vinegar and yes, he has blue eyes)
No batteries for dinner!  I was going to try and make supper out of just what was on hand (emergency rations not counting).   I had a few chicken breasts.  There was also some odds and end bits of frozen veggies, some leftover chicken stock, and the usual herbs, and vinegar.

Plus, with the tornado sirens going off to our south, I needed something that could get interrupted with no ill effect. Abby was NOT leaving the closet and showed no interest in what I was making.

Champagne Balsamic Chicken.  He'll eat plant based meals with me a lot of the time, but after he's pulled a very long day in the plant, (no pun intended) he'd prefer to have some chicken or salmon with his dinner.

 It's not the most photogenic dish in the world, but it was really good.  I made it with a champagne balsamic vinegar I picked up at Artisano's  the last time I was in Indianapolis and hadn't tried yet. For those that don't live in Indiana, they ship, and if you order something -  get a 1 or 2-ounce sample of the applewood smoked salt, ghost pepper salt (hot!) and espresso sugar.

It was pretty simple, cooked on the stovetop in my favorite Red French Oven (you can use any big, sturdy pot.

In the pot mix:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup champagne balsamic vinegar (or any good quality balsamic)
3/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons chicken stock (or canned broth)
3 generous teaspoons of jarred minced garlic
2 dashes of sea salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 heaping teaspoon mixed dried herbs (I used a mixture of chives, basil, tarragon, chervil and a tiny bit of dill, but just tarragon or basil would work).
a couple grinds from the pepper mill

Add 3-4 skinless chicken breasts and bring to and maintain, a low boil.  Cook for 15 minutes, flip chicken pieces over then reduce heat slightly and cook at a gentle simmer until internal temp is 165 F. on a meat thermometer, (around 30-40 minutes for the pieces I had), keeping lid OFF so that the liquid is reduced to better caramelize the chicken pieces, still leaving enough for you to drizzle on other things.

When the chicken is about 160 degrees F., remove the bay leaf, lower the heat slightly and put some bread in the oven.  What's good?  Popeovers, (Moosewood Kitchen recipe)  always good on a cold, blustery day.]

The popovers were 1/4 of the cost of packaged frozen rolls and much tastier. Between gust fronts, they went in, as those are a little more temperamental cooking wise, but they were worth it, tall, buttery custard-like texture inside, flaky layers on the outside.
Dinner was easy and good, the chicken staying really moist and the garlicky champagne balsamic sauce, absolutely wonderful drizzled over the sweet potatoes (there was also broccoli). Even better, we didn't have to hunker down in the basement when the sirens went off, watching the radar on the computer and seeing the cells with rotation potential going well south of here.

I hope all of you out there are safe, warm and happy and if you're going to play chicken, do it in the kitchen, not with the weather.

OK, I'll come out of the closet for a piece of chicken.


  1. If it was at our house it probably REALLY would have been batteries BOL!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  2. looks delicious. I really need to come eat at your house. Ha.
    Yah i was going crazy with the sirens going off. They always Happen when im home by myself. I took stuff to the basement so i was prepared. Lol



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