Friday, February 03, 2006

Citrus Glazed Chicken Thighs with Roasted Vegetable Tian

Normally I focus my entries on the entree portion of my nightly menu, and while I plan to discuss the delicious chicken I made this evening, the side dish is really the star. I first read about a dish like this in Ina Garten's wonderful cookbook Barefoot In Paris, but I have since seen similar recipes in other collections of simple French country fare.

Sure, you could just chunk all of the vegetables and roast them as you normally would, and it probably wouldn't take as much prep work. But look at this lovely dish. These are vegetables you would be proud to serve, and that your guests (or family) would look forward to eating. While there is a case to be made for simplicity, sometimes making just a bit more of an effort brings mighty results.

I like these vegetables leftover, cold, and eaten right out of the container for breakfast the next morning. I'm weird like that.

Roasted Vegetable Tian
serves about 4

To get the best effect, choose vegetables that are close to the same diameter. I like to use Campari tomatoes and small red bliss or Yukon gold potatoes.

Also, this recipe is easily doubled. To do so, just use a larger baking dish so you still get the same visual impact.

olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, minced or grated
3-4 medium potatoes, peels on and cleaned
2 medium zucchini
5-6 small to medium tomatoes
sea salt
freshly ground pepper (I like white or green peppercorns best)
dried thyme (or fresh thyme, if you have it)
2 oz. Gruyere (any harder cheese will work--Parmesan is good)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Brush a square baking dish with olive oil. In a skillet, heat a couple of splashes of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat until translucent and just golden (6-8 minutes). Add garlic and cook another minute. Spread this mixture on the bottom of a dish.

Slice the rest of the vegetables into quarter inch slices. Layer them in the dish on top of the onions as shown in the picture, fitting them tightly in one layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme and drizzle evenly with one more Tbsp of oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, sprinkle the cheese evenly across the top, and bake for another 30 minutes, or until browned and wonderfully fragrant. Serve warm.

Citrus Glazed Chicken Thighs
serves 4-6

Chicken thighs are quickly becoming one of my favorite meats to cook with. With their skin on, you can make delicious oven fried chicken (divine recipe to come soon), and in their boneless, skinless state they are like boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but better. They make a nice blank canvas, like breasts, but they actually have flavor (I know!), and they are much more moist. Best of all, they are usually quite inexpensive, not too fatty, and 2 thighs make a perfect portion. I think they are pretty nice to look at, too.

1 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp minced or grated garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
.5 tsp grated lime rind
pinch cayenne pepper (to taste)
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt

Dump first 7 ingredients in a large ziploc bag; close the bag and give a few shakes to mix. Toss in your chicken thighs and marinate for at least a couple of hours (longer is fine, too, if you want to do this before work). Remove the chicken, reserving marinade. Preheat broiler.

Place chicken on a non-stick foil lined broiler pan and broil about 8 minutes per side, until golden and cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking (and making your mouth water), place reserved marinade in a small pot. Scoop out a couple of tablespoons of marinade into a small bowl and whisk in the flour and salt. Whisk flour mixture back into the pot of marinade. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, and then reduce heat. Cook over a low flame until chicken is finished (it should be somewhat thick). Serve the sauce spooned over the chicken thighs.

I am trying to not think about dessert tonight, seeing as I've been on a macaroon-only diet and there are coconut cupcakes in my future. Not to mention a birthday party and a Superbowl party on Sunday. So, I am just sipping my glass of wine like a good girl, but we'll see if I last the night. Cheers!

Mrs. C.


amy corinne said...

Those vegetables look so good. So so so so very good.

LE said...

I was so busy drooling over the cupcakes, I didn't even realize this recipe was here. It looks so delicious!