March 3rd, 2011

The Epicure

Cooking with a Butcher's Apprentice, Part IV - Rosa's Beautiful Breasts

I was at the door on my way out of the shop already laden with a bag of stuff for cooking when I heard Rosa (whose name has been changed for purposes of this story) calling after me. I turned around to find her handing me a bag containing a whole, bone-in chicken breast. Rosa is a lovely young woman who is a joy to have around, but she doesn't speak much more English than "thank you" and "for home." Needless to say, in spite of my protestation ("muy mucho," which, let's face it, is about the extent of my Spanish and likely incorrect to boot), I ended up bringing even more meat home.

Bone-in chicken breast is reasonably easy to work with, but it's not exactly the best mover because there seems to be logical disconnect between it and the boneless skinless breasts called for in every other Cooking Light recipe. There's also a degree of squeamishness around bones because they suggest a living animal in a way that a fillet under plastic on a bright yellow tray does not. And while I wouldn't recommend reaching the point of my mania, I'll encourage each and every one of you who hasn't crossed from omnivorous eating to work with bone-in chicken every now and again.

In any case, rants over. For this ample meal for two, you will need:

1 whole bone-in chicken breast from a humanely raised bird
Onions and garlic left over from flavoring the Trotter Red Sauce
Salt & Pepper
Thyme
Olive oil
Butter

This is about as simple as prepping a meal gets:
  • Pre-heat oven to 450F.
  • Heat some olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Prepare the chicken by splitting it in two with a sturdy knife and seasoning each side of the two pieces with salt and pepper.
  • Place the breasts in the skillet skin-side down and let brown for a few minutes without disturbing.
  • Line the bottom of a oven-safe dish just big enough to hold the breasts with the onions and garlic. When chicken has browned, place it on top of this layer skin side up, sprinkle on some thyme and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the breasts over and cook for roughly 15 minutes more.
  • Remove breasts from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Eat and be happy.