there’s no denying it… the Fall season is in full swing- and the proof is all around us. ground surfaces are being overcome with leaves, the clocks have been wound back, the jack o’lanterns have found their way to the compost heap, and the air holds the perfect crispness- replicated by no other season. we’ve been as busy as bees, bringing wood closer to the house from outlying racks, stacking and sorting it, putting away patio furniture, stocking up on birdseed, and cleaning up the beds in preparation for the cold months ahead. -and although i am more than happy to assist with all of said tasks… my cold weather preparations lie in test driving new and exciting soup and stew and ‘ladle over a bowl of rice’ types of recipes. the air turns cold, we eat warm things. makes perfect sense, right?! nothing brings more pleasure, in my opinion, than a nice steaming bowl of savory stew to be enjoyed with some crusty buttery bread in a nice den with a fire. typing that sentence alone gives me a killer visual… one where i fall asleep with a book on my chest… empty bowl beside me on the table… not a care in the world, right? snap* snap* back to reality for most of us. there’s homework to be done, bathing children, DVR’d shows to watch… so is the life of most Americans my age today. (someday i will OWN that visual though… i suspect it will begin in my sixties, as i simultaneously OWN a grey bob haircut)
for now, i have tried this recipe twice… and it is a winner yo. winner winner chicken dinner. (sorry) it allowed me to use a spice i’ve been dying to try… garam masala. garam masala is a yummy blend of many spices, often used in Indian cooking. it’s very meaning is ‘hot mixture’ – and i’ve read about various combinations including some of the following: cloves, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, star anise and turmeric. i bought mine at the bulk spice section of whole foods, allowing me to buy just a couple of tablespoons for around 34 cents. (LOVE whole foods, but who doesn’t right?) anyway, the preparation on this is pretty easy… and it even forces you to open a bottle of white wine, of which you will use half. i used a bottle of gifted chardonnay that has been sitting on my wine rack for a year- as it is my least favorite type of white. this gave me the perfect excuse to use it up in a delicious way. please be careful at the point where you are adding the wine to the pan… (deglazing) if you are not used to doing this, i ask you to turn your flame off first, just to avoid any splashing and possibility of flames. as long as you add slowly, you should be fine. there is a time and a place for the culinary flames sent from deglazing… and an industrial kitchen is usually preferable.
one package of boneless skinless chicken breasts (either three or four in pack)
one cup of flour
salt and pepper
2 T butter
oil for the pan (i always use olive)
half a bottle of white wine (chardonnay, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, reisling, etc)
14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 bunch of green onions
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
so here’s what you do: cut your chicken into bite sized chunks, removing any skin or tendons. salt and pepper your chicken. uncork your wine, so you are ready at that step and not fumbling to open it as your pan scorches. add your cup of flour to a plate so that you are ready to dip your chicken in it. open your can of tomatoes. rinse and chop your green onions using all but the top inch or so of the greens. prepare your spices in a small dish- setting aside a half a tsp of the allotted 2t of garam masala- as you will add it at the end. ok, saddle up- here we go. choose your favorite large skillet with a lid… can be either non stick or stainless- either way. add a generous drizzle of oil to the pan, and add your butter. turn on the heat to md. high. working in batches, take a portion of your diced raw chicken, and set it in the flour. begin coating the chicken by flipping it around a bit in the flour. take the chicken in your hands and shake off the excess flour over the plate (as much as you can)- and add to now ready skillet. brown chicken slightly, flipping each piece over and being careful not to crowd your pan. work in batches, and remove chicken to a plate to rest once it’s been lightly browned. you may need to add more oil or butter to the pan at least once during this process. (note, you are not out to cook the chicken at this step, only to barely brown it so the flour adheres to the meat. end note.)
once all your chicken has been floured and browned, cut your flame and add a half a bottle of white wine… slowly. you will hear a searing sound once it hits the hot skillet. scrape up the lovely browned bits from bottom and sides of pan with a wooden spoon. (in case it’s your first time- you have just deglazed a pan!) celebrate with a glass of remaining wine. lol. add your onions, tomatoes, spices (again leaving a half t. of the garam masala behind to add later), and chicken. stir to combine. bring to a boil and then immediately cover and reduce heat to simmer. simmer like this for 35 minutes. this is the time when you should prepare your rice. cook enough rice for four servings, at least. at end of 35 mins, add your reserved 1/2 tsp of garam masala to the chicken dish- and stir to combine. remove from heat and allow to rest for five mins or so, uncovered. if serving for sit down dinner- carefully transfer to a nice serving bowl and serve with a big bowl of rice alongside. family style. this meal is sure to please, and i am certain you will enjoy. it’s exotic enough to break up your usual routine… without being overly exotic or fussy.
peace and love. enjoy!!