Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pan Seared Chicken with Pecan-Scallion Gremolata

Last night we made pan seared chicken with pecan-scallion gremolata. It turned out...interesting. We really think the sauce needs to be cooked. The gremolata tasted like not-quite-right pesto. It had a very raw/green taste to it that was not exactly pleasant. Also, whole chicken doesn't always cook quite right on the pan. Maybe if it's beaten flat? But otherwise, we find that it it cooks for a really long time and the middle is never quite cooked all the way. Anyways, we ended up cutting the chicken into strips halfway through cooking so that it actually cooked all the way through. This resulted in slightly rubbery chicken, definitely not as good as if we had cut it up and cooked it in strips initially. Here is the original recipe for the pan seared chicken gremolata:
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/pan-seared-chicken-pecan-scallion-gremolata
We decided to make some white wine risotto as a side for it and it turned out really good.
http://www.marthastewart.com/333835/parmesan-risotto
Chicken with Gremolata and Risotto 

The Gremolata


Ingredients:

Chicken:
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 3/4-inch thickness
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 chopped green onions, green and light green parts only
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

Risotto:
2 cans chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 lb Risotto rice
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for grating or shaving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Chicken:
1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan; swirl. Add chicken; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a cutting board.
2. Combine pecans, juice, onions, remaining 1/4 tea­spoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a mini food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; pulse to combine. Transfer mixture to a bowl; stir in cheese.
3. Slice chicken across grain. Place on 4 plates; top with gremolata.

Risotto:
1. Heat stock in saucepan over medium heat; keep at a low simmer.
2. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onions to oil, and cook, stirring, until translucent. Add rice, and cook, stirring, until rice begins to make a clicking sound like glass beads, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add wine to rice mixture. Cook, stirring, until wine is absorbed by rice.
4. Using a ladle, add 3/4 cup hot stock to rice. Using a wooden spoon, stir rice constantly, at a moderate speed. Note: Stirring the rice too vigorously will make your risotto slightly gluey; stirring too little will make it watery. Rice should be only thinly veiled in liquid during the stirring process.
When rice mixture is just thick enough to leave a clear wake behind the spoon, add another 3/4 cup stock.
5. Continue adding stock 3/4 cup at a time and stirring constantly until rice is mostly translucent but still opaque in the center. Rice should be al dente but not crunchy. As rice nears doneness, watch carefully and add smaller amounts of liquid to make sure it does not overcook. The final mixture should be thick enough that grains of rice are suspended in liquid the consistency of heavy cream. It will thicken slightly when removed from heat.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, Parmesan cheese, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture among four shallow bowls, mounding risotto in the center, and grate or shave additional Parmesan over risotto. Serve immediately.

What we liked:

The risotto was excellent. The chicken was mediocre. We could have made better chicken with just a spice rub on it. 

What we didn't like:

The chicken. 

What Kaspian thought about it:

He wanted a "special Kaspian dinner" which consisted of dinosaur chicken nuggets. Who can argue with that? 

Next time:

I don't think we'll be making this chicken again.