Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cider Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Almond Rice

I was so excited to try this recipe, because it sounded terrific. I love chicken with a hint of sweetness, and browned butter and rice just sounded like a perfect addition. Plus, it was in the new issue of cooking Light, and I am a sucker for the recipes in any "new issue." So, this is an easy recipe. Truly, it takes under 30 minutes. I made it with roasted cauliflower, since I had some left over from the curry I had made the day before. Well, the finished product was really... beige. As you can see, there was little color on the plate, and you may have noticed that I am not a big fan of a colorless plate. Anyway, other issues included overcooked chicken, too little cider glaze, and boring, bland rice. So, here's the thing - all of these issues could be easily fixed, and I'd like to try it again, because I think this recipe has a ton of potential. Next time, I'll make it with thinner cut chicken breasts, like the super thin kind (I think Perdue) makes them. This will allow quick cooking, which should keep the inside moist, and the outside less "tough." Then, I will double the cider glaze. It definitely needed more. I felt like most of it ended up stuck to the bottom of my pan. This may be the fault of my 14-inch skillet, but I'm not sure. Last night I also made too much rice. The recipe called for "Boil-in-a-Bag Brown Rice," but I chose to use regular, and I clearly made too much. The browned butter and almond flavor just didn't shine through. Next time, I'll make much less. Lastly, though my cauliflower was the best part of the dish, I might make it with broccoli or roasted carrots next time, just to add some color to the plate. It makes the meal much more satisfying for me.

So, the moral of my story is...

Maybe you should try this.

I was thinking I might change my rating system to 3 options: "Try this," "Maybe you should try this," or "Don't try this." What do you think?

Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice
*Adapted from Cooking Light

Other Time: 20 minutes minutes (Yeah right - it takes 30. The Cooking Light people are machines.)
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet and about 1/2 cup rice)

1 (3.5-ounce) bag boil-in-bag brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's) (or make your own!)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound chicken breast cutlets (about 4 cutlets) (Use the thin kind - you won't be sorry)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup refrigerated apple cider (Double it. Seriously.)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Double it, again.)
1/4 cup chopped pecans (I used sliced almonds, because that's what I had.)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. While rice cooks, melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until syrupy. Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. Melt remaining 5 teaspoons butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Serve rice with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

CALORIES 333 ; FAT 13g (sat 4.4g,mono 4.9g,poly 2.2g); CHOLESTEROL 81mg; CALCIUM 23mg; CARBOHYDRATE 24.2g; SODIUM 601mg; PROTEIN 29.1g; FIBER 1.9g; IRON 1.5mg

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2010

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