Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday Night Dinner

This was Sat night dinner. It looks messy, but it was good.

Tonight’s dinner is a “Flour and Water Crust Chicken” with “Braised Greens” and Mashed Potatoes.
The “Flour and Water Crust Chicken” is exactly what it sounds like. You make a flour and water dough and wrap it around the chicken. It’s messy as hell and if you could see the mess I made making the dough you’d understand why I said it’s messy as hell. 
The recipe calls for a lemon rind, sage, thyme and garlic marinade, which smelled fantastic as I was bashing the ingredients together in the mortar and pestle. The recipe says that this marinade works great for all kinds of meat. It is exactly what I said above, rind from 1 lemon, 2 handfuls of fresh sage, 1 handful of fresh thyme, and 8 gloves of garlic. I love garlic and once you start bashing it together, you will start to smell something wonderful.  When you are done, you add a whole bunch of olive oil and salt and pepper and rub the marinade all over the chicken. 

I’m still not entirely sure I should post the recipe from the book due to copyrights but if you own the book and have looked at the recipe and thought, “What the hell is that?”. Then, this is what the hell it is!
Anyway, I then rolled out the dough and wrapped it around the chicken. I baked it at 425deg F for well over an hour. Of course you need a meat thermometer to tell if it’s done. I don’t have a meat thermometer. I had to guess. Guessing isn’t fun sometimes. Especially if your meat is wrapped in dough and you can’t poke it. I should buy a meat thermometer. X-mas stocking stuffer, perhaps? :)
When I thought it was done, I let it sit for 5 minutes, and then cracked that dough shell and put it on the greens. The recipe says to use individual spring chickens. Well, I got to the farmer’s market too late this morning and didn’t get little individual spring chickens. Instead I picked up 1 good sized chicken for D and I to eat. However I could see how awesome this recipe would be with individual chickens for each person. Like a cornish hen perhaps, at a dinner party. Imagine you serve this cooked dough package to each person at a table? Don’t eat the crust! Just crack ‘er open and eat it. The chicken is basically steamed in the dough package. 
The chicken was incredibly moist. It has a wonderful lemony garlicky taste to it. Admittedly the dough thing was messy and annoying, but it cooked a great chicken. I will definitely add this to my recipe stash. 

The “Braised Greens” is a super simple dish that anyone and everyone can do. Swiss chard, spinach, garlic, salt and pepper and arugula with lemon juice. Easy, right?
Instead of spinach you could use anything, chicory, cabbage, mustard greens, beet sprouts, sprouting broccoli etc. 
Half fill a large pot with salted water, bring to a boil and add the Swiss Chard and spinach. Cook for only a few minutes until greens are tender, then drain. To the empty pan pour in olive oil and garlic, fry this up until lightly coloured and then throw in the spinach and chard. Season, stir around to coat and after 1 minute remove from the heat. Add the arugula and lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon. Now eat.
I’d never had swiss chard before I cooked this recipe. I did not like it. First of all, I think I over-cooked the garlic and it tasted slightly bitter and add to that the bitter taste of the chard..  the entire dish was.. bitter. I might try this recipe again to see if I can do it better, but it won’t be for a little while.
Mashed Potatoes. Personally, I think that this meal is complete with the chicken and braised greens. However, D believes that a meal isn’t complete without a starch. He’s a meat and potatoes kind of guy and would be just as happy without the veg. Whereas I’m ok without the starch. So we compromise. I make both veg and starch. He’s a very lucky man! The mashed potatoes are just simple mashed potatoes. I use skim milk and low calorie margarine and mash it together. Simple, easy and done like dinner.
After a very disappointing green side, the mashed potatoes were a god send. I think I may have gone hungry without them. 
All in all, it was fun creating this dinner. It took over an hour and half and we ate it in 15 minutes. It almost seems silly to put so much work into something and then it’s gone so quickly. But it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Right?? 

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