Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Little Color to Beat the Blues

Spring has arrived! After much teasing from Mother Nature, we are starting to see a solid run of warm days. Along with the warmth, we are starting to see more color outside. The grey of the roadside trees is starting to be broken up with patches of faint green and reds of the buds, and ground is sporting patches of creams and yellows thanks to the daffodils.

Produce is also becoming more colorful as more fruits and veggies come into season. I celebrated this fact by using up some frozen veggies to make room for fresh. Inspired by a recipe from the Rachel Ray show, I made Beer and Honey glazed Chicken with a Spiced up Succotash and a basic Risotto. The beer and honey simmer down to form a glaze on the chicken and the succotash is quite colorful and full of flavor.

I didn't give specific amounts here because I didn't use any. This is certainly a technique you can adjust to suit your own needs. When I made the succotash, I used two different types of corn and the baby Limas. About half a bag of frozen vegetables went in per each vegetable.. That did result in a rather large batch of succotash.

Beer and Honey Glazed Chicken with Old Fashioned Succotash

1/2 Red Onion 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
Yellow Corn (frozen or fresh of the cob)
Baby Lima beans (Frozen, fresh if you are lucky)
1 can of diced tomatoes
Tabasco sauce, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast or Thighs
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 can or bottle of beer
Good squeeze of honey

Start the succotash first by sauteing the onion and garlic in olive oil, in a medium to large saute pan. After a few minutes add the corn. Allow the corn to brown up, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

In the meantime, start the chicken. If you cut it into bite size pieces it will take less time to cook. Season it well with salt and pepper. Heat up some olive oil in another medium pan and place the chicken in seasoned side down. Season other side and allow the chicken to brown up, stirring often if using bite sized pieces. If using whole parts, just check a few times to prevent sticking, and flip when the first side has a nice golden brown.

Once the corn has started to brown up, add in your Lima beans and give that pot a whirl. Allow them to saute a bit and then add in your tomatoes and hot sauce, always season to taste. If you like yours hotter, try adding a whole diced jalapeno to the tomato mixture (as was originally called for in Rachael's version). I like my food more mild so I added about 2 dashes of hot sauce, but made sure there was plenty of cracked black pepper. (In fact I managed to drop the pepper mill into the pot entirely.. )Let your veggie mix simmer together.

Meanwhile, back to the chicken. For whole pieces, remove them once both sides have been browned and the pieces are cooked through and hold them on the side. For smaller pieces you can leave them in the pan to absorb flavor. Pour in about half of your bottle of beer. (the rest is for you, you deserve a nice beer for all of your hard work) You will be essentially de-glazing the pan with the beer, so be sure to give it a good stir, picking up all the browned bits at the bottom. Squeeze in a good bit of honey, 2 or 3 turns around you pan, and stir to combine. Taste your seasonings and adjust if necessary. Allow the beer and honey to simmer down into a glaze, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Pour your glaze over the whole pieces or just spoon out some extra when you serve the bite size pieces.

The resulting dinner is quite simple and very flavorful :)

For the risotto, usually made with arborio rice, just follow the directions on the package. I use chicken stock when being served as a side with chicken, but vegetable stock works just as well. If you are good at multi-tasking you can make the risotto at the same time on another burner. (start it first, then succotash, then the chicken)

Any starch could be used as a base, and the rice could be cooked with other methods. My notes from the original recipe mention using a summer squash as a replacement for a starch, and would be quite good with this recipe.

No comments:

Post a Comment