Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Buttermilk Poached Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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On Halloween night after very last minute scrambling for a vintage dress on Melrose to complete our Mad Men couple ensemble, we squeaked into a couple seats at Hatfield's bar to line our tummies with some grub.  I ordered simply, Buttermilk Steamed Chicken. My dish was served with a little sweet potato, some mashed and some in tiny cubes with a few Brussels sprouts. It was delicious and I was still thinking about it when grocery shopping yesterday afternoon.  Obviously not being a chef, I wanted to use some of the same ingredients to recreate flavor profiles even if I couldn't recreate the recipe. The meal was easy and it was delicious.

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Roasted fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts. When roasting veg together, try and keep the size uniform for even cooking. The neighborhood supermarket had baby Brussels sprouts and medium sized bags of fingerlings.

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First trim the sprouts and prep herbs and whatnot. Rosemary, pepper flakes, garlic, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

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Toss all ingredients by hand in an open baking dish. 450F for 40 minutes. Check regularly, smaller cuts of veg cook faster. I feel like I left this one in about 7 minutes too long, but the boys assured me it was yummy nevertheless.

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Organic sweet potatoes. I am not a whoreganic, but I buy organic when I can.

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Sweet potatoes can be used a gazillion different ways, including all those that are familiar uses for the lowly potato.  For mashed, peel first.

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Do not put potato peels (sweet or otherwise) down the drain. The disposal cannot handle the thick peels. I learned this little kitchen garbage trick from Jennifer of the Pink Sparrows.  I now keep a bowl handy in the sink or on counter to handle kitchen garbage instead of walking across my (microscopic) kitchen repeatedly to the garbage can. Makes the peeling really worry free. I mean, I am not staying up at night wondering how many errant peels made it down the drain....despite my current bout of insomnia.

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From the top: boil until the flesh gives nicely, mash with open weave hand masher, whisk in ancillary ingredients like sea salt and any dairy. I used about one tablespoon butter for all three potatoes and a quarter cup milk just for smoothness.

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One of my favorite salads in the world comes out of the kitchen at Hungry Cat. I think it is the grated hard boiled egg that I love the most, and this is easy to do at home. Boil your eggs, grate them like very soft cheese on the small grate of your cheese grater. Voila.

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Salad. Hatfield's salad was a gorgeous frisee tower stacked high with smoked trout and fingerling potatoes underneath. No frisee in the quickly gentrifying ghetto, folks. Arugula is ubiquitous, so.  Underneath the lettuce I lay fingerling potato slices, artichoke hearts (non-marinated) and sauteed crimini mushrooms. Next, arugula tossed in champagne vinaigrette. Top with bacon bits and grated egg.

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I couldn't find a recipe online for buttermilk steamed chicken, but this one for buttermilk poached chicken worked perfectly. Poaching the breasts in one quart of buttermilk helps the sometimes slightly dry breast meat retain a lot of moisture. I poured half into the pan with some sea salt and quite a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Four skinless breasts go next followed by the remainder of the buttermilk and a few more sprigs of thyme. Cook on medium heat until breasts are cooked through, no longer pink. I turned the breasts maybe three times.

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Pull the breasts out of the buttermilk/thyme bath and let rest for 5 minutes on a cutting board. Prep the plates with mashed sweet potato.

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Slice the breasts slightly diagonally and place atop potatoes. I also added the last of the leek confit to the bottom of the dish and the roast vegetables. Herbaceous, hearty, autumnal. We watched the Lakers win, argued about politics even though we're all on the same team and drank just the right amount of red wine.

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I am dedicating this dinner and post to Stella, maybe the world's best kitchen dog in a long history of dogs who love to hang out in the kitchen while their human cooks. From the time she was just a few weeks old, she loved to hold down the fort with me while I cooked. Back then she would lie on my feet, literally on, while I tried to stand still and cook. (Microscopic, my beautiful kitchen is). I have been missing her very much the last couple of weeks. RIP, beautiful girl.

11 comments:

Mariko said...

This looks awesome. I've been scouring blogs for brussel sprout recipes. I finally just bought some for the first time.

oddlyme said...

Ohhh. RIP Stella. How nice she had a good human and a good kitchen to lie in.

Disciplined Indulgence said...

Wait, what happened to Stella!?!?

Sarah said...

Foodshethought, I follow your blog religiously and love it, love it, love it. I am a fellow dog lover, and am saddened to see you lost your Stella?!?! My condolences. Dogs are amazing companions.

Kitten with a Whisk said...

Beautiful post

briarrose said...

Looks wonderful.

Food, she thought. said...

Mariko: Brussels sprouts are so delicious when done well. Roasting them is very easy. Also, cooking them in a little chicken broth on stove top until they slightly caramelize on the outside is a wonderful way to cook them. Be careful how much chicken broth you use, they are unpleasant when soggy.

Oddlyme: We had a wonderful time together while she was with us, thank you. &heats;

Sarah: Thank you for reading and thank you for your condolences. Our pets aren't meant to be lifetime companions, and it's hard every single time we lose one. We are lucky to have them for the time that we do.

Thank you, Kitten, my friend.

Briarose: The chicken was so succulent. Even days later as leftovers in my lunch. :-)

It's With A K said...

I don't know how I missed this post. Beautiful food, as always.

Stella boo will always be with you in your heart and memories. She was beautiful ♥

Lizzy said...

Awesome.. Brussel sprouts are in these days and I loved the crunch recipe

David said...

The post is great! The recipe is just fabulous

TheIronYou said...

I tried this recipe: delicious! So far one of the best for mashed sweet potatoes, thank you for posting it.
I recently wrote an article on the health benefits of sweet potatoes: check it out http://www.theironyou.com/2011/04/sweet-potato-hollywoods-stars-favorite.html
Peace
Mike @TheIronYou