Monday, July 27, 2009

Island-Style Chicken

The picture doesn't do it justice. But it was late and we were tired, hot and hungry so the plated version, ever so carefully drizzled with citrus sauce, never made it to the digital realm. So you'll just have to trust me on this one.

Tristan's sister, Cecily, is in town partaking in all sorts of familial, outdoorsy adventures before heading off to Paris. The past 2 weeks have been wild and crazy for pretty much everyone, but especially at our household. Besides work, I've been making plans with my Swiss cousins for the big trip to Europe later this summer, not to mention that Tristan's entire life has been consumed with BAR exam preparation, which begins tomorrow. Lots of activity, lots of visitors and lots of heat in Seattle.

Which brings me to last night. We were all exhausted but knew that it was one of the few chances we'd have to sit around the table and enjoy a home-cooked meal together. I had such a hankering for cool, creamy guacamole, so the appetizer question was easily answered. I'm a big fan of keeping food themes consistent (a.k.a. not serving guacamole and chips, stuffed manicotti and green tea mochi at the same meal). Since I was already heading in a Mexicanish direction, I started thinking cumin. Then I remembered a chicken thigh dish that I made up on the fly. Cumin, cilantro, orange and lime juice... yeah!

It was well received. Tristan actually claimed that it tasted like duck! Quite a compliment coming from someone used to fancy duck dinner celebrations. This is a great dish that only requires a few ingredients and looks very nice when plated (again, you'll have to trust me on that one).

Island-Style Chicken
I like using thighs in this recipe - they're moist, rich and just the right size. But breasts can also be used if that's what's handy. Serves 3.

6 chicken thighs, skinless & boneless
Salt & Pepper
Oil or lard for the pan
3/4 cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
Chopped fresh cilantro

Pat chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Generously sprinkle cumin on all sides.

Heat oil/lard in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add chicken thighs and let cook until underside is nicely browned, about 8 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking until the other side is golden and juices run clear when chicken is pierced. Pour orange and limes juices over chicken. Cover and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Uncover and let juices reduce a bit. If sauce gets too thick, add a few more splashes of orange juice.

Sprinkle chopped, fresh cilantro over chicken before serving. Plate and drizzle with sauce.

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