Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Apple Cider Chicken

I don't know what my problem is lately. I keep forgetting to break out the camera when I test out a new recipe. I think I keep getting distracted by a little thing called hunger.

Rachael Ray's apple cider chicken was a great dish to add to the fall meal rotation. I used 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts because that was what I had on hand. I don't think this dish lacked anything because the chicken didn't have bones or skin.

This dish tasted very sweet because of the honey, cider vinegar and all the sugars from the caramelized onions. I thought it was almost too sweet at first, but the flavor mellowed out as the dish cooled. This tasted even better as leftovers, although the caramelized onions wound up looking a bit like worms. That may be a pro for you as well if you have a 4 year old who is fascinated by worms. Blockette loved that it looked like we were eating worms.

I thought the chicken and onions would be tasty over a bed of rice. I picked up some jasmine rice a few weeks back and thought it would be the perfect time to give it a taste test. I could not shut up about this rice. Jasmine rice, where have you been all my life? Seriously, this was the best rice I've ever tasted. It was fragrant and had this sort of nutty undertone. I've gotta find more recipes that call for rice, just so I can make me some more jasmine rice! Go jasmine rice!

Rachael Ray's Apple Cider Chicken
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
2 whole chicken breasts, 4 halves, bone-in and skin on
Salt and pepper
3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, 7-8 sprigs, leaves stripped and chopped
3 tablespoons honey (eyeball it)
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup plus apple cider vinegar
2 cups chicken stock

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add a couple tablespoons of EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and add to the hot oil, skin side down. Brown chicken, about 5 minutes per side. Remove and reserve. Add another 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, the onions, thyme, honey and the garlic. Season the onions with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently for about 20-30 minutes or until the onions are really brown. Add cider vinegar, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock and bring up to a bubble.
Once at a simmer, return the chicken to the pot with the liquid and onions. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, flipping the chicken over in the sauce about halfway through. Remove lid, check to make sure the chicken is cooked through by cutting a small slit in the thickest part of the breast with a paring knife to have a look inside. If it is cooked through -- no pink meat -- remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Turn the heat up to high and simmer until the sauce thickens up slightly, about 4-5 minutes. You can serve the chicken right away topped with a big spoon full of sauce and the onions or you can return the chicken to the pot, turn the heat off and cover with the lid until you're ready to serve it. Once you are ready, add 1/2-3/4 cup additional chicken stock and turn the heat back on to heat everything back up.

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