Monday, November 3, 2008

Chicken breast and beet green sautee with roasted onions and beets

My plan is as follows: Just after receiving a produce delivery, go through the handy included list and figure out what logical dishes spring forth from the cornucopoid bin. When beets turned out to be one of the items included, I found myself having nothing spring to mind whatsoever, a problem I thought I had better address shortly, since I anticipated further beets in boxes to come.

After some research I determined that the (somewhat scout-ish) method of cooking beets at high heat in the oven for 40 minutes in an aluminum foil packet seemed like a good way to go for a "beet beginner" such as myself. I removed the greens from the beets, and put the beets on a large square of foil, then drizzled them with olive oil. I also chopped an onion into the mix, particularly since the whole affair reminded me of grilling on the barbecue, which always requires an onion. I also included 3 diced garlic cloves (to add some aromatic flavor) and 3 undiced ones (to provide tasty bites of flavor on their own). I sealed the packet, slipped it into the oven at 425, and then prepped some chicken.

I slipped a chicken breast into a dish that was just the right size for marinating, and salted, peppered, thymed, and balsamic vinegared it, just a sprinkling of each. Then I poked holes in it until it was quite receptive to marinating, and then filled the dish with red wine to cover the breast. I used a Cabernet Sauvignon because that's what I had sitting by the stove, but it was sweeter than the ideal; next time I would probably use something drier.

With about 15 minutes left, I started some rice in the rice cooker, and addressed the beet greens. The tops of the beets are tasty and spinach-like, so if you like greens, you might want to hold onto them, as I did. I sauteed some more garlic, the beet greens, and a diced bunch of celery in a skillet while the rice cooked and the beets finished. Once the greens and garlic were mixed and starting to cook, I diced the chicken breast into the saute, and added the marinade to the pan as well for good measure. It sizzled as you might expect, and by this time there was also a quite prodigious sizzling noise coming from the oven. I cooked the beet greens quite well, making sure they were extra wilty, since that is how I prefer my greens... you are welcome not to cook yours to death, but my results were tasty nonetheless.

When the timer set for the beets went off, I removed the packet from the oven and spilled its contents into the saute pan with the heat reduced a bit. I tested the beets with a fork and found that two were quite yielding, while the others were a little tougher, so I took out the two that were finished and scraped off their peels with a fork. Once the others were a bit softer and had given a little flavor to the saute (and vice versa) I extracted them as well and gave them the same treatment. The rice finished and I added it to the saute as well, mixing it all up quickly and then taking it off the heat.

Unfortunately, I ate it so quickly that there are no pictures. If you make this, please do send your pics my way, so I can show people how tasty it looks.

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