I don’t really like cooking chicken. I don’t like the way it smells and I don’t like that I have to wash my hands more cooking chicken than I do degreasing my car’s engine. I don’t like the fact that the “Next Food Network Star” candidate Shane, recently ousted, did NOT wash his hands on the Rachel Ray show after having handled raw chicken. I don’t like that unless you want to spend more per-pound on chicken than you pay per-gallon on gas (currently $4.259 for regular unleaded), you get chickens raised inhumanely, resulting in a flavorless, bland bird.
That said, I like chicken. I like how versatile it is. I like buffalo chicken. That, in itself, outweighs a lot of the other stuff… I also like how many ways I can change its flavor, taking potentially bland birds and transforming them into luxurious dishes that awaken the taste buds and sooth the soul. Or something like that…let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
So, I’ve started watching the Food Network, again, after only previously watched at my folks’ place, and it’s an interesting feeling. I’ve shed a portion of my culinary ambitions in favor of my photography ambitions. Well, I seem to be striking a balance between the two while going to school for photography, entrepreneurship and CIS. So, with that out of the way – what prompted the chicken?
I’m making chicken for dinner. Yay, right? Everyone has chicken for dinner, right? Pretty much, yeah. Mine’s different, tonight. I pretty much just emptied out the spice cabinet with thoughts of making a curry dish. So, I did. I used ribs-in chicken breasts, skin-on – basically everything I could do to get as much flavor out of the chicken as possible. So, I guess you’re wondering what I did for spicing, eh? Well, first off, peel the skin up off the breasts so you can stuff things under it, like bay leaves, for example. Once you’ve put the bay leaf down on the exposed breast – suppose the internet filters are going to explode? – sprinkle the spice mixture over and then place four raisins along the middle; fold the skin back over, rub with sage and sprinkle a little safflower oil over top. Pop in the oven at 350-F for roughly 40 minutes to an hour, depending how thawed the chicken you’re working with are… Oh, wait – you like how I just glossed over the spices with that “spice mixture” didn’t you? No? Rats.
I’m not sure I can remember to make everything all alphabetical, and I surely can’t remember proportions, but I can list out for you the spices involved.
- Mediterranean Oregano
- Crushed Ancho pepper
- Bay Leaves
- Raisins – are they a spice? OK, so, it’s a 15 ¾ spice chicken…that just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so well.
On to the sauce: it’s simple: sauté your raisins in a bit of butter until they’re puffy and soft, with some carmelization of sugars in the remaining butter…not that there should be all that much butter left. At any rate, at the point, pour in about ½ cup of milk, 1 tbl curry powder, some cinnamon, some ancho, some salt and some pepper. Cook this a bit. It’s just time to cool down a little, now, though, once you’ve attained some simmering. Once it’s cooled a bit and started to thicken, it’s going to look like it needs something. That’s where you plop two tablespoons of sour cream. Warm it up a bit, if needs be – you shouldn’t need to, since it’s still probably pretty warm – and stir it all together.
I served it over rice with some of that wonderful sauce poured over the top of it all. As for veggies, you’re on your own – curry braised broccoli sounds good to me – use more raisins and walnuts for that and you’re set!
So, there you go. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid of over-spicing – as long as you’re just adding pinches here and there, it will all come out amazingly. Enjoy and be sure to tell anyone who asks you about it, “Phil just made it up.”