Friday, September 23, 2011

Chicken Monterey

Last summer, Chris and I had the pleasure of visiting Monterey, California. We ran along the gorgeous beach, reintroduced the burned calories by eating at some fine establishments, and had an all-around incredible time. It did seem to me that the colors along the Pacific Coast Highway were more pronounced than what I'd observed at home.  But that could have been because I was on my second honeymoon with my man.  And everything was better/prettier/tastier.

This appropriately-named entree represents a finely arranged marriage between the bright summer vegetables (still in production in many of your gardens) and the carrots, a proper harbinger of the approaching fall.  I've doubled the sauce/juices because the mixture of orange juice, tomatoes and chicken stock, although it may sound unpalatable, is exquisitely delicious.  I usually serve this dish with brown rice, and have always bemoaned the fact that there wasn't more sauce to swim around in.  I think I'll make this as a soup next time, mid-winter, right when I've got the January Blues and my soul is begging for a happy antidote. 

There is nothing at all difficult about this just takes some time to prepare.  Most of it the time involves simmering.  I bet it could be easily converted into a slow-cooker recipe. 

After I browned some chicken and then set it aside, I sauteed carrots, an onion, 
and 8 cloves of garlic in olive oil. 

 Then I added in the yummy liquids and returned the chicken to the pot.

Then I sauteed some beautiful vegetables in a separate skillet and mixed them with the chicken and simmering liquids.

And then I served it to a happy husband.  

Present with a green salad and brown rice, steamed new potatoes, or crusty French bread (to sop up all of those delicious juices.)

Here's the printable recipe.

Chicken Monterey
Serves 6-8

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
8 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup orange juice
1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed and cored, cut into strips (julienne)
1 medium orange bell pepper, stemmed and cored, cut into strips (julienne)
1 large zucchini and 1 large yellow squash, cleaned and sliced diagonally
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley (garnish)
grated zest of one orange (garnish)

1.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a dutch oven (or large stockpot). Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, season them with salt and pepper, and cook them over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Flip the chicken, season again, and cook for another 5 minutes.  (Don't attempt to brown the chicken, or you'll end up with overcooked toughness.)  Remove chicken from pot, place on plate, and refrigerate.  

2.  Add onions, carrots, and garlic to the oil remaining in the pot.  Cook, covered, over low heat until veggies are tender, about 25 minutes.

3.  Uncover pot.  Add stock, orange juice, tomatoes, and rosemary.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.  

4.  Return chicken pieces to the pot and simmer further, 20 to 25 minutes, until chicken is nearly done.  Stir and turn chicken frequently.  (If desired, complete the recipe to this point.  Refrigerate the chicken in the sauce and reheat gently before proceeding.)

5.  Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and saute the peppers and squashes for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

6.  Transfer vegetables to the pot with the chicken mixture.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and orange zest and serve.

Recipe tweaked from the original published in:  The Silver Palate Cookbook (Delicious Recipes, Menus, Tips, and Lore from Manhattan's Celebrated Gourmet Food Shop)