December 15, 2008

cider chicken & sage sweet potatoes

I went over to B+D's place last night to visit and to admire their magnificent 11-foot christmahannukwanzaka shrub, and of course i hadn't had this visit planned 30 seconds before I suggested cooking dinner, only partly because I had chicken thighs in the fridge needing to be used.

anyway, it all worked out even better than usual, and we've got two new recipes you should try out.

Cider chicken is mine, and it's easy easy easy. Salt the chicken thighs well. Brown the chicken thigh in some olive oil. We used bone in skin on, which i think worked nicely. Take the golden brown chicken out and put it on a plate. Pull off and eat as much of the crispy skin as you can. Pour off most of the fat, then lower the heat and saute half a chopped onion. When it's soft, add some bourbon - somewhere between a splash and a shot. Let it bubble a minute then add a cup of cider and maybe half a cup or a cup of chicken broth. Boil that down for a while, maybe 10 mins, and then put the chicken back in and let it cook the rest of the way through. I semi-covered it, but not sure I needed to, and it did make the remaining skin go soggy. What you want to end up with is a sauce that's just about to become syrupy, so you can spoon it over the braised chicken and have it stick. Grind a little pepper over the top toward the end.

Sage sweet potatoes is B's, and it's a keeper. Peel your sweet potatoes -- we did 6, and had enough for 4 people. Grate them on the food processor or box grater. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a fairly deep pan, and add the sweet potatoes. You'll basically saute them until they're soft. Add some salt and pepper if you feel like it. In a small saucepan, melt half or most of a stick of salted butter, then add a big handful of chopped fresh sage. The butter will go green, but keep cooking it and the butter will brown. Once you've got a panful of browned butter and crispy sage leaves, fish out some of the sage (if you like -- it IS tasty crispy sagy goodness) and pour it into the now-soft sweet potato mash. Mix it all up, eat, and swoon.

This sage/sweet potato combo is the ideal sweet-savory approach for this often-mistreated vegetable. And it seems to me that this dish would be just as happy on a plate with a steak, or a thanksgiving turkey, or a fish fillet as it was with my cider chicken. Simple, rich, nutritious and versatile. I'm sold.

Posted by foodnerd at December 15, 2008 10:20 AM
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