Sunday, December 19, 2010

Two Hour Chicken (or the perfect excuse to skip a holiday party)

With all the holiday hub-bub going on, you might just want a quiet dinner at home one night. I've got the perfect meal for you right here. A cinchy baked chicken, cozy mashed potatoes, a side dish so easy and tasty you are going to want to make it part of your regular repertoire, and two great cookie recipes that you can wow your friends with.

The chicken dish was created by the late writer, Laurie Colwin, however, I picked it up via The New York Cookbook by Molly O'Neill. It is simply called "baked chicken," but we lovingly refer to it as "two-hour chicken." The recipe calls for two broiling chickens (quartered), however, I always make it with bone-in breasts. A fragrant mixture of Dijon mustard, garlic, fresh thyme, and cinnamon is brushed on the breasts, topped with fresh seasoned breadcrumbs. Fresh breadcrumbs are definitely worth the little bit of extra effort for this recipe - it really makes a difference. Arrange the chicken in a baking dish, top with a few pats of butter, sprinkle with paprika and in it goes for 2-1/2 hours. What emerges on the other side of the clock is the most delicious, moist, flavorful breast of chicken I've come across in a long time. Crunchy outside, tender and juicy inside.

Perfect side dishes: the aforementioned mashed potatoes, which I'm sure you've got your own terrific recipe for, and one which you may not be as familiar with -- a mixture of cabbage and onions sauteed with butter and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. This is a hearty winter vegetable that fits well with the chicken but is also a great companion to any number of braised dishes, such as brisket, or a nice pot roast. A nice alternative to the these sides would be buttered orzo and sauteed spinach.

For dessert, two cookies from last week's excellent NY Times holiday cookie articleCardamom Crescents and Shortbread Jammers. The crescents are so light they are almost ethereal, and the cardamom essence is heady.  The jammers (love that name) are made with a delightful little shortbread cookie dough and topped with a preserve of your choice (I used raspberry). 

So there you have it! An easy meal for this hectic time of year when you need a night off from the holiday party circuit. 

Stay warm and eat well!

Print Chicken Recipe Here
Print Cabbage and Onions Recipe Here
Print Cardamom Crescents Recipe Here
Print Shortbread Jammers Recipe Here

1 comment:

  1. yum, it sounds like the perfect comfort food for these cold winter nights. I agree, fresh breadcrumbs are well worth the effort.


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