Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic and cream-braised Brussels Sprouts

Okay.  I made two things tonight, one that looked beautiful*, and one that turned,  unattractive (the more accurate description involves terms that would be inappropriate when discussing items to be eaten).  I was incredibly tempted to only post pictures of the element that  looked nice. But, in the spirit of honesty, I've decided to post both.  Also...while Mark enjoyed both, he did comment that I've made better sprouts and better chicken.  I liked both, but I can't really say I disagree.  I may try both again at some point, but for now?  On to other experiments.  

Click below for the recipes!

First, let's tackle the Brussels sprouts.  I posted a few days ago about a Brussels sprouts recipe and I still had a lot of extras (I always overestimate), so I tried to find a recipe a little different from the ones I usually make a.k.a. that didn't involve pork products.  I found one at Orangette.  Now, let me just say, these were very tasty, and any deficiencies stem from my own lack of attention.  Here is the list of ingredients:

1 ¼ lb. Brussels sprouts
3 Tbs unsalted butter
¼ tsp coarse sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

First, I trimmed and quartered the Brussels sprouts, a necessary step, as they've been sitting in my fridge for about 4 days.  Can I blame the sprouts for the lack of appeasingness?  No.  I'd like to, but I can't.  'Cause honestly, they looked pretty good until I overcooked them.

Next, I heated the butter in a pot, threw in the sprouts and salt and sauteed for about 5 minutes, until the sprouts had a little bit of color on them.  

Then I added the cream.  Mark noted that he thinks the dish would have fared a little better had I not added as much cream, as it turned out to be, in his words, a "Brussels sprouts stew."  Fair enough.  I'll add less cream (maybe 3/4 cup?) next time around.

I cooked the sprouts for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  I checked the sprouts at about 15 minutes (note that I was also cooking the chicken at this point); at 25 minutes, I checked again and yelled, "Oh, sh&t!"  I totally overcooked them.  The green was completely gone and they looked unappetizing.  They still tasted good, so I decided to continue.  I finished them off with the lemon juice and let them sit until I was done with the chicken.

Now I've been eying this chicken recipe for a very, very long time.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love me some garlic.  Also, I love smittenkitchen.  Here are the ingredients:

1 3- to 4-pounds of chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
About 40 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock or canned broth.

I used all dark meat chicken, because that is how I roll.  Specifically, sometimes I get distracted and dark meat cooks at a higher temperature, so it gives me a little bit of wiggle-room.  So I took about 3 pounds of  thighs and drumsticks, and liberally seasoned with salt and pepper. 

Next, I heated 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over high heat, and browned the chicken in batches, about 5 minutes on each side.

I reduced the heat, and added the garlic, making sure that the cloves were nestled underneath the chicken.  As per the directions, I cooked the garlic until it was light brown (about 10 minutes), shaking the pan (and using a spatula) to make sure the garlic didn't burn.  Nothing ruins a dish like burnt garlic. 

After the garlic was sufficiently browned, I added the wine (Chardonnay) and chicken stock, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all the good bits.  

I reduced the heat to super-low, covered the pan and walked away for about 20 minutes, then uncovered and served. 

Like I said at the beginning, I messed up.  This is not the most fantastic meal I've ever made.  It's not even in the top 25.  But, it was awfully tasty (especially the garlic), and in the hands of more talented cooks than myself, it might be an incredible meal.

*Much thanks to @sabine01 on twitter for tips on how to make my point-and-shoot camera take not-so-crappy pictures.  I have to say, the love I've gotten from the DC foodie community has made me feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy!


  1. I've had that brussels sprouts recipe bookmarked forever!(Uh... the recipe folder in my email says since December 2007!!!) I'm glad to know it can turn out yummy even if you overcook the sprouts.

    The Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts recipe from 101 Cookbooks is my fave. I've converted at least three people who swore they hate brussels sprouts with that recipe.