Sunday, September 27, 2009
Baked Balsamic Chicken with Vegetables and Honey
So we have these old Fine Cooking magazines. We've had them for ten years now (scary thought), and we have been making this recipe for ten years now too. This is because this baked chicken concoction is incredibly easy, delicious, and attractive looking. And best of all? Smack yo' mama easy. Not that I am advocating the smacking of mama's. Anyway.
* 4 chicken breasts
* 1 medium red bell pepper, cored,seeded and cut into strips
* 1 medium yellow bell pepper, prepared as above
* 1/2 lb fresh mushroom, cleaned and cut into quarters
* 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, San Marzano's if you're not a heathen. I like a combination of diced and fresh if they are in season and do not taste like nightmares.
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (Thyme is good too)
* 1 teaspoon salt
* fresh ground black pepper
* 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
Heat the oven to 425 degrees, then dig out a fairly large, shallow baking pan. Mix together all the ingredients: chopped mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, olive oil, balsamic, fresh herbs, salt. The entire shebang.
Grab your voluptuous chicken breasts, thighs, or whatever bird party you prefer, then dredge them in the mixture. Get them in there good, and cover them with delicious juices. This will pay off nicely. Nestle the chicken in the vegetables, but for God's sake, don't bury them. The universe will explode immediately if you bury them. Don't even think about it.
Salt and pepper the casserole to the extent that you prefer. Then comes the fun part: drizzling on some delicious, golden honey. Put on as much or as little as you prefer, since you, my protege, are in the drivers seat. This will create a delightfully rich exterior to the vegetables and the meat.
Bake that sucker for about 50 to 60 minutes. I wouldn't advise stirring: you want some delicious crusty bits up top.
Serve with a nice seasonal vegetable dish. I made my beloved artichokes n' fresh shelled peas because you can't beat it in the summertime, but this chicken makes a fantastic winter dish as well. Make a salad with some balsamic, and get some crusty artisan bread if you're so inclined. I roasted some fresh figs in the oven to toss in the salad. Love me some roasted figs.
I love easy chicken casseroles. Recipes like this should render those faceless masses who claim Cooking Is Too Hard speechless and silent. Step away from the Hamburger Helper, America. Step away!