Thursday, August 20, 2009

Double Recipe: Midwest Succotash and Julia's Garlic Chicken

Succotash, Midwest Version, for 4

I generally allot an ear of corn per person. When the number of people eating hits about 6, I include an additional ear for the pot (but increase the other ingredients only in proportion to the per person increase), and I find there is rarely leftover succotash.

1 onion, chopped

small pinch of hot pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, either minced or mashed to a paste with a little salt (I used to mince, but noted that David Tanis, who writes a great recipe, mashes, and it's a tasty variation)

4 ears corn

a mix of small-ish squash, totalling the weight of about 3 small zucchini

1 pound green beans (pre-topping and tailing), topped, tailed and very coarsely chopped

1/2 pint of less cherry tomatoes, halved

about a tablespoon of flat-leaf parsley

salt and pepper


olive oil

julienned basil, optional

1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan on medium, and add the onion and chili flakes, cooking until softened and starting to brown.

2. Add corn, zucchini/squash/whatever mix, garlic, green beans, salt and pepper. Stir it all in, and stir it for a couple of minutes. Add about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of water, cover the pan and cook for about 5-10 minutes (10 is going to give you squishier vegetables, but not necessarily in a bad way). When they seem about right, add a little more butter, the basil, parsley and tomatoes, and then salt and pepper the whole shebang to taste. Sometimes a teeny squeeze of lemon is a good thing, too, but the tomatoes usually provide just enough acid-y contrast, even when they're sweet, to make things just right.

Julia's Garlic Chicken

One of my sisters-in-law, Julia, is a terrific cook. She made this for us a couple of summers ago, and makes it better than I do, as she is more careful with things like taking the chicken out while she makes the sauce, and the extra care does pay off. This is more or less chicken's answer to sole meuniere.

skinless, boneless chicken breasts (Yes. The much-maligned, not super-duper flavorful skinless boneless. You could use leg, too, if you want a bit more flavor. Or turkey. Whatev-ah makes you happy. Anyhoo, I allot about one chicken breast per person), chopped up into about chicken McNugget size. And no, I just could not resist using chicken McNuggets as a size guideline.

several cloves of garlic, minced (use your own love or lack of it for garlic to guide you here, as the dish would still taste fine jam-packed with garlic or entirely without garlic)

all-purpose flour, on a plate, to dredge the chicken in. Maybe a cup or so.

about a tablespoon or two of chopped flat-leaf parsley per 3 chicken breasts

lemon juice, to taste


olive oil

salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil and some butter in the pan. When it gets hot, dredge chicken pieces in flour, shking off the excess, and add them to the pan. Do not overcrowd; if need be, you can either use two pans or do it in batches. If the first piece does not sizzle when it hits the pan, the pan is not hot enough; either turn the heat up and/or wait a little longer. Let the chicken pieces brown well on one side before turning them (I often use tongs rather than a spatula with so many little pieces), and then let them brown well on the other. If you need to do it in batches, transfer the first batch to a plate while you do the second. Or... you can do my way, which is to jam the first batch in a pile to the side of the pan while you do the second batch.

2. When all the chicken is browned, either put it on a plate or push it to the side of the pan. Add a knob of butter (it's the sauce, so err on the side of generous but not greasy. One tablespoon should be a minimum, but a stick may well verge on revolting), and when the butter is more or less melted, add the garlic. Let it sizzle a bit, but don't let it brown. Toss the chicken in this sauce, adding salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste, and the parsley. Toss again, and serve.


GarlicBOSS said...

sounds delicious

Meg said...

it's pretty killer. and has the benefit of looking like it's more work than it really is.

Maureen said...

Made it for my 4th time tonight. Absolutely fabulous! Thanks for the recipe!