Jul 25, 2010

Lemon-tomato chicken

Sometimes the best food comes out of a totally spontaneous list of ingredients and a deadline.

In this case, dinner for 4.  I have:
  • 3 chicken breasts, frozen
  • Pasta (settled on linguine)
  • Garlic
  • Dried oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
On sale at the store I found:
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1 grenade of lemon juice (you know, the lemon juice that you find in the produce section bottled like a lemon/grenade)
  • Cheap dry red wine
Lots of stuff you can do with a combination like that.  So why not make it complicated?

Chicken prep

Thaw, obviously, then place in a bowl (whole).  Cover in lemon juice and add oregano.  Toss thoroughly and let that sit for, oh, an hour.


In the meantime, start with the tomatoes.  To keep things summery, I didn't really want to cook them but I still wanted tomato flavor in with the chicken.  And given the choice of linguine, just chunking the tomatoes wouldn't work anyway.

Solution: quarter them, set up a colander over a bowl, and crush them by hand until they're just small bits.  Then salt them to sweat the juice, toss well, and set them aside to slowly drip.  Go ahead and press them by hand occasionally.

Then rough-chop most of the bunch of parsley and set that aside for now.

Then obviously the garlic.  I used lots.  In the same spirit as the tomatoes, I want some cooked and some raw, but you can just prep it all the same way.


In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and add half the garlic.

Remove the breasts from the marinade and cube into about 1/2 inch pieces, retaining the marinade for later use.

Once the garlic is just turning golden, add the cubed chicken and cook most of the way through, stirring often.  Then add the reserved marinade and your tomato drippings and take the mixture down to a simmer.

In the meantime, make pasta.  Use slightly less water than usual and make sure you salt it liberally.

When the pasta is done, drain and add about a cup and a half of the pasta water to your chicken mixture along with a decent splash of wine.

Let the chicken mixture come to a boil and then slowly reduce it until you get a thick enough sauce to slightly cover the chicken bits (the starch from the pasta water will help this along nicely and the sugar from the tomato will nearly carmelize).

Fresh toppings

Combine your tomatoes with the parsley and the rest of the garlic.  Add a spritz of lemon juice and toss together.

Serve, letting everyone choose how much of each component they'd like and finish with grated hard cheese.

Another very nice summer dish.

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