Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Husband, the Chef

It's not often that I feature one of Bill's (rare) dinners on LoVBites, but this week he made an amazingly delicious meal and I felt obligated to document the occasion. He's been watching quite a bit of Food Network lately, and because he's home during the day he actually catches the cooking shows (you know, where someone relays a recipe instead of racing against the clock in a competition). Well, every once in a while, one of those shows inspires him.

This week, Bill caught Ina Garten's "Barefoot Contessa" and she was making chicken piccata with roasted onions and buttermilk mashed potatoes. Sounds yummy, right? Bill certainly thought so, so he recorded the episode, printed the recipes from the website, and made me a gourmet meal on Friday night!

It seems the trick to Bill's most successful dishes is that he needs to watch them be prepared before setting out on his own in the kitchen. Ina sure was a good instructor, because this meal was probably the best Bill's ever made! The chicken was perfectly done, tender and completely moist. The onions were amazing, sweet and just a bit tangy from the lemon dressing. And the potatoes (which required a little bit of improvisation because our buttermilk was expired), were the creamiest and smoothest I've EVER had!

Bill tossed his printed recipes in the trash after dinner and I had a mini meltdown. "What are you doing!?" I squealed. He looked at me and said, "What?" "Don't throw the recipes away! I want you to make this again," I said. Mr. Over-confident said, "I will, and I don't need the recipes."

Well then.

Chicken Piccata with Roasted Onions and Mashed Potatoes
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon halves reserved
1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.

Mix flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place bread crumbs on a third plate. Dip each chicken breast first in flour, shake off excess, then dip in egg and then bread crumb mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add chicken and cook 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place chicken on sheet pan and bake 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.

For sauce, wipe out saute pan with a dry paper towel. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter and  add lemon juice, wine, reserved lemon halves, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and swirl to combine. Discard lemon halves and serve chicken breasted with sauce spooned over.

Herb-Roasted Onions
2 red onions
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel each onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut in wedges through the root. Place wedges in a bowl.

Combine lemon juice, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Pour mixture over onions and toss well.

With a slotted spoon, transfer onions to a baking sheet, reserving dressing that remains in bowl. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned, tossing once during cooking. Remove from oven, and drizzle with reserved dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

(Sort of) Ina's Mashed Potatoes
3 Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large pot, bring 2 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Peel potatoes and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Add potatoes to boiling water and bring water back to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes, until potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn't boil. Set aside until potatoes are done.

When potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place in a large bowl and mash with potato masher. Stir in hot milk mixture with a whisk. If necessary, add more milk to make potatoes creamy. Season with salt and pepper, and serve hot. To keep potatoes warm while finishing the meal, place bowl over a pan of simmering water for up to 30 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this reminds me of one of my favorite dinners as a kid. Divine! Do I sense impending competition in the kitchen? Well.. competitive spirit never led anywhere bad, so I'm very interested in seeing how this continues ;)