Category: Vegetables

Chicken and spinach with white wine and lemon

 

Chicken and spinach
It’s farm share season, and in early summer, that means spinach! I often eat spinach raw in a salad, but it is a great addition to cooked dishes as long as you don’t overcook it into mush. So looking for something simple, I decided on a chicken recipe with spinach in a light white wine and lemon sauce.

I’m chicken recipe oriented for a number of reasons. It’s healthy. It’s relatively inexpensive. It takes on flavors easily, being somewhat neutral, so it is a natural for when you want other ingredients to shine. While in the case of this dish the lemon and white wine come to the front of the stage, by barely wilting the spinach, it will retain its flavor and the chicken will provide the texture and the protein (you could possibly use tofu in this dish, but I would miss the depth of flavor that the chicken offers as it cooks). I have made this with and without chicken broth and haven’t really noticed much difference, other than the sauce can be a bit this if you use the broth. The chicken should offer enough flavor to make the broth unnecessary.

This is very much a standard in my family as it is quickly prepared and cooked, and quite healthy too. I much prefer it to the many boring chicken dishes I am forced to make sometimes. Grilled chicken is nice, but a little wine and lemon juice go a long way to take a boring chicken breast to new levels. Chicken recipes are a dime a dozen, and this is not an uncommon one, but this is the simplest version of this recipe I make, and it is worth the minimal effort to make it.

thinly-sliced-chicken

Chicken, thinly sliced

Cooking garlic

Cooking garlic

Chopped spinach

Chopped spinach

Chicken and spinach with white wine and lemon
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This chicken dish is packed with flavor and a great way to use up a lot of spinach, the mix of textures is fantastic.
Ingredients
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 bunches Spinach
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup chicken broth (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Slice the chicken into thin strips for fast cooking and a very tender consistency.
  2. Rinse the spinach and chop roughly.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan and add add garlic.
  4. After a minute (before garlic browns) add the chicken and cook until just done.
  5. Add wine and lemon juice (and broth if you chose to, I often don't).
  6. Toss in the spinach, and cook for just enough time for the leaves to wilt, but not overcook.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Notes
If you find that the sauce is too thin, pour in a little corn starch dissolved in cold water and continue cooking for 30 seconds. You will find that the sauce thickens up nicely (this is the trick to all those thick sauces in Chinese restaurants, they often have corn starch dissolved in chicken broth ready for use, so you vegetarians our there may want to ask if they use broth or water for their corn starch thickener).
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 282g | Calories: 221 | Fat: 9.3g | Saturated fat: 2.0g | Unsaturated fat: 7.3g | Carbohydrates: 7.8g | Sugar: 1.1g | Fiber: 3.8g | Protein: 25.6g | Cholesterol: 62mg

 

Roasted Garlic – The Garlic Lovers Treat

roasted garlicRoasted garlic is one of the easiest things to make and is not only great when included into other recipes, but it is magnificent on its own, squeezed out onto a crust of bread. Garlic is a lucky little bulb; like all nubs in the Allium family, it has a high concentration of both flavor and sugar. When roasted, the Maillard reaction changes those sugars into a garlic caramel, which coincidentally are two of my favorite flavors.

Roasted garlic bulbs make for a simple snack to have around, and while it may take some time to roast, it’s pretty much fire and forget as you pop them into the oven for a while, wait, and they are ready to eat. Roast, let them cool a bit, snip off the top and squeeze onto a toasted baguette and you have license to ignore the kids.

One tip, though. Most recipes you find suggest you cut off the top of the bulbs with the head intact and then roast. That’s fine if your goal is to peel the bulbs, but I find it much easier to pull the bulbs apart without cutting them, roast, and squeeze the garlic out. Peeling roasted garlic is a hassle I’ll leave to the celebrity chefs who dump that work on their assistants.

Ingredients:
1 head of garlic

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Pull the garlic bulbs apart from the head and place in a sheet of aluminum foil.

3. Fold up the foil to create a pouch, leaving some air space.

4. Place foil pouch in the oven for 45 minutes.

5. Let the garlic cool a bit before attacking it. Just snip the top off a bulb and squeeze out the sweet, garlicky goodness.

Asparagus and Brie Soup

Asparagus and brie soup

Asparagus and brie soup

I love asparagus and I love brie. So why not combine the two? The mustiness if the brie combines very well with the vegetal nature of the asparagus and while this soup seems like it would be very rich… it is. But so worth it.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, cut into small pieces, lower portions removed
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup white wine
4 to 6 ounces Brie, rind removed and cubed
Dash salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Saute the asparagus in a saucepan with the butter until tender. Stir in the flour and mix until the flour absorbs the liquid. Cook the  flour for about 2 minutes or until golden brown, forming a roux. Add the broth slowly, then add cream and wine. Bring to a slow boil and reduce the heat, simmering for 10-15 minutes.

2. Blend the soup with a hand blender, or in small batches in a food processor. Return to soup the pan and add brie, stirring gently. Simmer at a low heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Classic Tomato Salsa

Salsa

Salsa

Per a request, this is my basic salsa recipe (enjoy this one, Tom). The great thing about salsa is that you can tweak it left and right to make the kind of salsa that suits your taste. Do you like cilantro, add an entire bunch (I do, it’s one of my favorite flavors). Hot or mild, play with the jalapeno to taste. Add a few chipotle peppers if you like it smokey. There are endless ways you can modify this recipe to make something incredible. I’m a huge fan of green salsa made with tomatillos, and I’ve even made salsa with spirits and odd spices. My point is that this is a great basic recipe and I challenge you to make it your own. Your taste buds will thank me.

Ingredients:
3 large tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon green jalapeno chilies
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
The easiest way to make this is to place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse slowly until all ingredients are chopped but not pureed. I like a thick salsa, so I often add the garlic, lime juice and salt first, pulse (to get the garlic chopped well) then add the remaining ingredients and roughly process.

If you don’t have a food processor, or prefer to not use one, just chop up all the ingredients and mix together in a bowl. It is that easy. Sprinkle with a little dried cilantro, or even thyme or Mexican oregano for garnish.

Kale and Purple Potatoes (with sage and garlic)

Kale and Purple Potato

Kale and Purple Potato

I love earthy greens, and kale has a hearty chew that makes me feel as though I’m really eating something substantial.  The kale was subject to a rigorous yet thick chiffonading (if that’s a word, if not, it is now) as that is not only my favorite cut, but it shows off the nook ‘n cranny-y (another new word) nature of this great leafy vegetable. Kale looks particularly nice as a chiffonade. This is a really textureful (I did it again) dish, and sage and potatoes go together like tall glasses and water, so this simple combination of vegetables makes a great meal or side dish.

Ingredients:
1 bunch kale
1 lb purple potatoes (or any waxy potato), chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 fresh sage leaves (or a teaspoon of dried, if fresh is not available)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Potato, Kale and Sage

Potato, Kale and Sage

Directions:
1. Wash, dry, and cut the kale into any size pieces that you prefer.

2. Heat a pan, add the oil and garlic and when the oil is hot, add the potatoes.

3. Add the potato and cook until soft, 10-2 minutes.

4. Add the kale and saute until soft. The kale will become softer the longer it is cooked. I prefer a little chewiness so I cook it about 8-10 minutes, but if you prefer a softer result, cook as long as you want.

5. Add the sage and mix into the kale and potato thoroughly and cook about 1 minute.

6. Plate and eat!