One of the things that has prevented me from more actively attempting to revive this blog in recent months has been purely technical: My computer died pretty much as soon as I retrieved it from my friend’s house and as odd as it sounds, finding a single blank DVD to fix the problem and reinstall my OS has been a surprisingly daunting task.
I’m not a fan of crafting expansive text-work on a phone. I miss my keyboard and I miss the multi-functionality of the software environment on my Ubuntu box, even if it’s a Frankenfossil. One positive aspect, however, is that I have a much easier time taking and applying pictures without unnecessary steps.
Which means this particular installment is going to hurt your feelings.
It's okay, you can hate me
Because this is what we’re making today…
I’m sure this dish has some kind of technical culinary name, but I don’t have the faintest clue what it is. So I’m calling it Drunken Chicken. With garlic parmesan mashed potatoes.
Those of you who are familiar with the old Cook’s Couch segments may have already figured out I’m a fan of single-dish mixture meals; fried rices and pastas and such. Part of that is pure laziness or ease of process. This is a pretty distinct departure from that style of cooking.
The garlic on the plate is for the mashed potatoes
For this, you will need:
1 Big-Ass Pot (1gal+ stockpot)
1 Big-Ass Skillet (12″-14″)
1 Little Saucepan (1-2qt)
1 chicken breast
2 Tbsp.* Alcohol**
2 Tbsp.* soy sauce(low sodium)
2 small yellow onions
12-15 baby carrots
2 stalks celery
1/2 lb. mushrooms
5-7 spears asparagus
10-12 fresh green beans
4-5 Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 bulb garlic (3-5 Tbsp minced)*
Milk or heavy cream (maybe 1/2 cup)*
Butter (1/2 stick)*
*A note on measurements: I don’t really measure things. These measurements are used to give an idea of relative amounts. Maybe a shot of alcohol and an equal amount soy sauce, basically.
**For this dish, I strongly recommend Triple Sec. Tequila or Rum are both excellent for this, but Triple Sec adds the hint of citrus this dish needs without requiring the addition of fresh lime/orange juice and zest.
***I use a fairly consistent collection of ingredients to season almost all of my food.
-chinese five spice powder*
Chinese five spice is cinnamon, ginger, anise, fennel, clove, and licorice root. The important items are cinnamon and ginger.
Okay, so now we get into the process. One reason I like this dish is that the cooking of the different parts stagger easily with each other.
First, dice the carrots, celery, and onions. One onion goes with the celery and carrots, the other goes on a separate plate (we’ll come back to that)
Now, cut off the bottoms from the asparagus spears. Cut the asparagus into three evenly sized lengths. Cut the tips off the green beans and cut them about the same size as the asparagus. Trim the stalks off the broccoli and cut the crowns into smaller pieces (refer to picture above)
Cut the mushrooms (I prefer quartered to sliced but whatever.) Half the mushrooms go with the brocolli, the other half go with that lonely diced onion.
If you’re starting with fresh garlic, mince your garlic now. Set aside about a third of the garlic, you’ll use that for the mashed potatoes later. The rest of the garlic will get spread around. Take about half of your remaining garlic and split it between the carrots/celery/onion mixture (called mirepoix) and the sort of random mushroom/onion setup. Start heating up the water for the potatoes.
Now, dice the chicken (1-inch pieces are good) and put it in a plastic container. Add alcohol, soy sauce, and the leftover garlic with reasonable dashes of all the seasonings (EXCEPT the basil.) Mix together by hand and set aside. Wash off your knife and cutting board.
Cut the potatoes. These are skin-on mashed potatoes so don’t bother peeling them. Just cut them in half and cut the halves into 4-6 pieces. When your water is boiling, add the potatoes and stir.
Start heating up the skillet for the main dish. Once its hot, add a couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil (just enough for the bottom of the pan) and then add the mirepoix.
Mirepoix is a mixture of aromatic vegetables, typically carrots, celery, and onion.
Once the onions start to turn translucent, push everything to the sides of the skillet. Let the center heat up fir 20-30 seconds and add the chicken. You’ll need to pull the chicken from the container instead of dumping it, you’ll need the remaining liquid in the container in just a minute.
Let it cook like that for a minute or two then mix it all together.
Once most of the pink has cooked out of the chicken, add the green beans and asparagus and the liquid from the chicken container (shouldn’t be too much) and then mix it together. Add some basil and another round of light seasoning and let it cook for a few minutes, stirring it regularly so nothing sticks.
Once the beans and asparagus start to soften a little, put the mushrooms and brocolli on top of everything. Don’t mix it in yet, it’s about to get tricky. Grab a lid (it only NEEDS to be big enough to cover the mushrooms and brocolli but as close to the size of the skillet you can manage) and pour about two tablespoons of cold water right over the top and cover it with the lid.
Advanced cooking technique number 72: lid-steaming
This technique will steam the brocolli and mushrooms. Put the saucepan on the stove and turn it on medium or medium-low. Put about half your butter in the saucepan with the mushrooms/onion/garlic, add a little salt and black pepper, and stir. Once the butter is mostly melted, it’s time to return your attention to the skillet.
Remove the lid and stir. Add a splash of soy sauce and alcohol, keep stirring it, you may even want to turn the heat down to keep it from burning or sticking.
Check your potatoes now, they should be pretty close to if not done. Grab a big potato chunk with a fork. If it falls apart pretty easily, they’re done. Turn them off and transfer the potatoes into a strainer and then into a big bowl.
Turn off the heat under the skillet but stir it again and leave it on the stove. The mushrooms and onions probably aren’t QUITE done yet but don’t worry. Add garlic, milk, butter, salt, seasonings (no five spice, no curry powder) and parmesan to the potatoes and mash/stir until the desired consistency. Turn off the heat under the mushroom/onion saucepan. And bam.
This makes about 3-5 servings, but it’s super easy to just add another piece of chicken and stretch it to 4-6 or even 8 servings if you make small additions to each of the vegetables, or add a few extra ones in.
Now, it wouldn’t be the Cook’s Couch without an entertainment pairing. Unlike previous installments, however, I’m attempting to improve accessibility for you, the reader, by finding something on Netflix.
Since Netflix has recently added it, our selection will be taken from Season 5 of Bob’s Burgers. Tonight’s episode is “The Gayle Tales.”
This is one of the anthology episodes, where the kids are grounded and must write essays in order to win the opportunity for a night out at Yarnival (“It’s like Cirque du Soleil, but with cats…”) with Aunt Gayle, who has been stood up.
One catch, the essays must contain Scott Bakula.
So go. Eat, drink, and be meow-y.