Monday, September 13, 2010

Basil Chicken Hash

The morning of Rosh HaShanah, called my mom and said, "Mom, what are you making for dinner tonight?" She answered, "I'm making Chicken Hash. It's an Ina Garten recipe." After sprinting to the computer to look it up (within 15 seconds, I might add), I decided I'd make it too. You see, I am in a recipe rut, at the moment. I need some new material. My mom adores Ina Garten (she has a show on Food Network, and several cookbooks), and I love my mom's cooking, plus, the recipe looked pretty simple, so I ran with it. The only bone I have to pick with this recipe, is that, like many other Food Network recipes, it calls for an insane (in my opinion) amount of butter. 6 tablespoons for 4 servings, plus olive oil. Honestly, there is no part of me that can possibly use 6 tablespoons of butter in anything, unless it has at least 10 servings (i.e. a cake, cookies, etc.) Anyway, I decided to swap it, for 2 tablespoons of olive oil, which I stretched through the recipe. I'm sure, if I'd used the butter it would have been much more rich, moist,decadent and delicious. Instead, my version came out pretty tasty. It was a very simple array of well seasoned, sauteed veggies and chicken. I liked it, and would eat it again in a second, but it didn't blow me away. I felt it was a little dry, which was obviously my own fault, for skimping on the fat. I was wanting it to be stew-like, for some reason, but instead, it felt like it was missing something wet. Next time, I would use a rotisserie chicken, instead of making my own. I think that would make it more flavorful, and I might (don't faint) actually use a tablespoon of butter, just to see if it adds a depth of richness to the final product. Anyway, all in all, we liked this, and, actually, my family loved it. Maya ate it for lunch for several days after Rosh HaShanah, and Kevin feasted on the leftovers as well. Thanks, Mom (and Ina)!

Basil Chicken Hash
Courtesy of Ina Garten (Food Network)


* 2 whole (4 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
* 16 basil leaves
* Olive Oil
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
* 2 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled and large diced
* 2 red onions, chopped
* 2 red bell peppers, large diced
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 4 minced scallions, white and green parts
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh leaf parsley
* Sour cream, Cheddar and sliced lemons, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers, leaving one side attached. Place 4 basil leaves under the skin of each chicken breast. Pull the skin over as much of the meat as possible so the chicken won't dry out. With your hands, rub each piece with olive oil and sprinkle very generously with salt and pepper. Bake the chicken for 35 to 40 minutes, until the skin is lightly browned and the chicken is just cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones. Cut the chicken in large dice pieces and set aside.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saute pan. Add the potatoes and onions, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until evenly browned and cooked through.

In a separate saute pan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the red peppers, garlic, thyme, paprika, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the edges of the peppers are seared.

Add the chicken and the pepper mixture to the potatoes and heat through. Add the scallions and parsley, toss together and place on a serving platter.

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