Chicken with Caramelized Shallots: In which I share my first installment…

Weeknight chicken vol. I

So I had this idea. As you may have figured out, my ideas often stop there, so I won’t make any promises, but I’m hoping to start some kind of regular (meaning weekly? I know! It would be unbelievable!) weeknight chicken posts around here. I eat A LOT of chicken, and I suspect a lot of other meat eaters do too. Chicken is popular, not fussy, easy to find, cheap compared to other animal proteins and so amenable to variation. I find, in theory, chicken bores me a little, probably for all of the aforementioned reasons, but in practice, I love it, probably for all the same aforementioned reasons…

I almost always have chicken in the freezer. I buy chicken legs or chicken leg quarters in bulk and freeze them in pairs so that I have them whenever I need something. Whole Foods has very convenient perforated packages of two, or if they are having a sale on bulk wrapped, I just bring them home and separate them. And I definitely prefer chicken legs and dark meat to breasts. They don’t dry out as easily and have way more flavor.

I am always on the look out for easy but delicious sounding post-work chicken options, the orange chicken is one, the chicken dopiaza qualifies too. I’ve mentioned chicken and leeks on here, and I will definitely blog about that one day, and I have a couple other recipes that I am excited to share with you that would fall into this catagory too. A couple caveats: easy weeknight chicken, in this case, doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to be on the table 15 minutes after you get home, but I would count it as easy weeknight chicken if it can be on the table (or coffee table, or tray table or lap) in an hour, and you are not chained to the stove for that entire hour. Recipes that you can easily consider making after work, that don’t require hours of free time on a Sunday to prep and then cook…a couple of them might require some quick prep the night before for marinating and what not, but it only counts if that is minimal too. Those are my guidelines…if your guidelines for weekday meals are different, take this with a grain of salt (or a take out menu or a box of pasta or whatever you have time for after work!)

This one came from David Lebovitz (of the ice cream fame and I just noticed when I went back to find that link that I totally spelled his name wrong…sorry David, I was a young naive (and apparently rude) blogger…my sincerest apologies!) If I wasn’t sold when “caramelized shallots” was right in the name of the recipe, the fact that the recipe included soy sauce, the holy grail of condiments, closed the deal. Also, that it looked so easy – one pan, not much to clean up – SOLD.

The recipe calls for a whole chicken in eight pieces. I used chicken legs and since it was just for one, I cut down on the other ingredients too – not by half, because I wanted lots of shallot-y goodness, but by about a third. It initially calls for four large shallots. I am not sure what they mean by large but we get some doozies around me. They are more like small onions than shallots, if you ask me. Big. I used three for this, and there were a lot of them.

Anyway, the shallots get minced and mixed in the bottom of a baking pan with oil, vinegar and soy sauce, and then the chicken gets tossed with that mixture.

extra shallot-y

At this point it goes into the oven for 20 minutes, after which the chicken gets flipped over and it cooks for another 20 minutes while the chicken cooks through and the shallots get very soft and delicious. And that’s it!

I served with pearl couscous that I cooked and then sauteed quickly in a little bit of brown butter, and miso-glazed carrots, which also couldn’t be easier, just carrots simmered until cooked through, then miso and butter gets added to the remaining cooking water and it reduces for another minute or two until carrots are glazed and tasty. Easy!

glazed

Leftovers are great, and I used two chicken leg quarters and a box of pearl couscous and got dinner and three lunches out of it. (I used four carrots and got two servings out of those…) I would say a whole chicken would easily serve four, though I suppose if there are some very hungry individuals in that group they might disagree with me.

weeknight dinner is served

1. So I have taken to drinking my gimlets out of mason jars.

sample in a jar

I don’t know if it’s cute in the manner of Coastal Living, or if it is so twee that I deserve a face smash. Please advise.

2. When is it going to get warm here? It’s mid May…I’m ready.

3. I made something RI-donculous this weekend. Leek and lobster bread pudding. Are. You. Kidding. Me. Add it to the list of things I need to tell you about…

4. There are days that I wish that the only thing I had to accomplish was reading my book. Today is one of those days. (My book right now is Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. It is a monster. I think I am loving it?) Related: I am having a hard time switching exclusively to Kindle, both because I really love books, and because of the number I books I have to read at home already that aren’t on my Kindle. It may be a long transition, though my New Yorker subscription is on it, so it gets some love every day too.

5. Music recommendation of the day: Neko Case. Anything she does is great. I love her voice. (Eek! She’s coming to Boston. Yay!)

Chicken with Caramelized Shallots (serves 4)

From David Lebovitz

3 tbls olive oil

3 tbls red wine vinegar

1 tbl soy sauce

4 large shallots, peeled and minced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

One whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or eight of your preferred chicken pieces)

A handful of coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220ºC).

In a baking dish that will hold all the chicken pieces in a single layer, mix the olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, shallots, and some salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the mixture, so they’re completely coated with the shallots. Turn the chicken pieces so they are all skin side up.

Roast the chicken for about twenty minutes, until it starts to brown on top. Turn the pieces of chicken over. Scrape any juices and shallots over the chicken that may be clinging to the pan, and bake for another twenty minutes, or until the pieces of chicken are cooked through and the shallots are well-caramelized. Remove from oven and toss in the chopped parsley, then serve.

Miso Glazed Carrots (serves 2)

(I got this idea from somewhere, couldn’t begin to tell you where…)

4 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal into half inch rounds

2 tbl butter

1 heaping tbl white miso

pepper to taste

Put the peeled carrots in a small saucepan with about 1 1/2 cups water, and simmer, over medium heat, until carrots are almost cooked through (the water will have reduced significantly, you still want some in the pan to make the sauce though, so if you need to add more, do.) Add the butter and the miso to the still simmering water, and stir until both are incorporated into a sauce. Continue cooking until carrots are cooked through and sauce is reduced slightly to a glaze. Add fresh pepper and serve.

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