Saturday, November 2, 2013
Chicken Diablo and Skillet-Fried Mac and Cheese
Yet another home run from Michael Symon. On his 15th wedding anniversary too :-) I know I've said this before but I'm going to say it again. 5 in 5 is a winner. This cookbook has so many wonderful, quick, easy, flavorful recipes. I'd really recommend adding it to your collection.
Friday was supposed to be my day to get a lot done. It wasn't happening. We had an audit in the morning. That went well since I'm pretty detail oriented about making sure that everything's in good order. But, after that the wheels fell off. My back and my belly hurt. I just wanted to be at home in my chair - or better yet on my couch. Lunch didn't happen. Needless to say, we went home early. And, by that time I was finally hungry. Connie made us a cocktail that was fabulous. I'll let him tell you about that. I wanted mac and cheese. So, I pulled out the Mac and Cheese cookbook by Ellen Brown and started hunting. I found a perfect one that Alton Brown had deemed the best mac and cheese in America. When I opened the fridge to get the cheddar cheese, there I was, looking at the chicken thighs that were supposed to be dinner. Hmmm. Do I serve mac and cheese as a side along with chicken thighs cooked with loads of yummy veggies or do I just load up on the mac and cheese? Healthy won out. And, I am certainly glad it did since the chicken was the winner of the evening.
The only change I'd make would be to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Try as we might we couldn't find boneless, skin on thighs. So, I used bone in, skin on. And, they released a veritable torrent of fat. I had to drain the skillet! Ok, so actually, I used the full sauce recipe for two thighs. That meant a whole bite of veggies with each bite of chicken. If I ever make four or six thighs, I'll double the sauce recipe. It was that good.
When it came to the mac and cheese, I used an old, faithful skillet. The cheese stuck. Not just a little. It took Connie about 10 minutes to scrape it. He finally came up with the idea of deglazing it with some white wine. That worked perfectly. So, whatever you do, don't use a skillet that's infamous for sticking!
Overall, the chicken was a five and the mac and cheese a four. Both were fabulous. The chicken is a super easy weeknight dish that will be a regular around here. Well, as regular as any dish - probably twice a year :-)
1 T olive oil
2 - 4 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, sliced or minced
1 red or green bell pepper
1 jalapeno minced (the recipe called for rings but I'm a baby...)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
2 T capers, rinsed and drained
1/2 c roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil to shimmering in a large skillet. Brown the chicken on both sides. Add the bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno and sauté until they're softened.
Add the tomatoes, juice and capers.
Cover the pan and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the fresh parsley
adapted from 5 in 5 by Michael Symon
Skillet Fried Mac and Cheese
1/2 lb macaroni
2 T unsalted butter
3 T chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 T flour
3/4 c whole milk, warmed
2 T heavy cream, warmed
1/2 t Dijon mustard
8 oz, sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, reduce the heat and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse the macaroni.
While the macaroni is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the onions and bay leaf and sauté until the onions are softened.
Stir in the flour. Cook for a couple of minutes until the flour is just slightly beige. Remove the bay leaf. Gradually add the milk/cream mixture, while stirring constantly. Cook the sauce until it's thickened. Add the mustard.
Gradually add the shredded cheddar.
Once all of the cheese has melted into the sauce, combine the sauce and macaroni.
Now, while all of the above is going on, heat a large skillet with the tablespoon of olive oil in it. Once the sauce and macaroni have been combined, pour them into the skillet. Smooth out the mac and cheese so the entire bottom of the skillet is covered.
Allow it to cook for three minutes before scraping the mac and cheese and crust off the skillet. Continue to cook it this way until more than 15% of the mac and cheese has a crust.
adapted from Mac and Cheese