Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chicken with Apples and Blue Cheese

I've made this super easy dish twice in the last month because Brian and I find it so delicious. Apples, rosemary, and strong cheese just taste like fall. Plus, you know, I'm had all those apples (it's amazing how they kept in the refrigerator). I made it while my mother visited and even she approved and she's not one for mixing meat and fruit. She described it as "company food," and it is ideal company food because it tastes fancy, and it's not expensive or hard to prepare.


To give credit where credit is due, I found the original recipe on epicurious.com, which is my go-to online recipe source. Here's a tip: always read the recipe reviews on epicurious. If you don't have time to read them all, or there are hundreds upon hundreds, read the most recent ones first because they'll often refer back to previous comments and you'll get the main messages. For instance, if you read a snarky comment such as, "I followed the directions exactly as written and had no trouble with sticking," you can use your powers of deduction to infer that others did have trouble with sticking and you might as well grease your pan carefully to be on the safe side.

Moving on...

I read the recipe and thought the combination of ingredients sounded interesting, but the instructions to saute the ingredients and then move them to the oven to roast seemed like extra work and extra dishwashing for no good reason. The reviews bore out my hypothesis so I reconfigured the recipe as seen below. I've also tried to remain true to my Tim Gunn attitude in the kitchen--make it work with what you've got on hand.


Chicken with Apples and Blue Cheese

1 1/2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken (the original recipe called for breasts; I used thighs)
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
1 T. unsalted butter
2 unpeeled apples (the original recipe called for Honeycrisp or Fuji; I used Cameo), cored and sliced into 1/4 in. slices
1/2 a sweet onion cut into narrow wedges
2-4 T. (approx.) deglazing liquid such as wine, sherry, chicken broth, or water
2 oz. (about 1/3 c.) blue cheese, crumbled (the original recipe called for Stilton; I used Trader Joe's crumbled blue cheese; I think feta would be nice, too)

1. Season the raw chicken with the salt, pepper, and rosemary.

2. Melt the butter in a large skillet.

3. Brown the chicken on both sides, about three minutes per side. Remove the chicken and add the apples and onions. (The onions were my addition; the recipe can easily be made without them if they're not your taste.) Saute the apples and onions until slightly softened and a little brown, about four to five minutes.

4. Pour in your choice of deglazing liquid. The first time I made this I used chicken broth because I had a carton open; the second time, I used cooking sherry which definitely added a richness (not an alcohol taste) to the dish. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan and scooch the apples and onions out of the way so you can add the chicken back in to the bottom of the pan. Arrange the apples and onions around and on top of the chicken.

5. Continue to the cook the chicken on low heat, covered, until cooked through (about 10-15 more minutes). Add the cheese towards the end or sprinkle it on top when serving. I like this dish with rice or quinoa, but I think it would also be good with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

Happy eating!

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