Two comfort food classics: chicken and mashed potatoes. Yes, the aforementioned is usually fried chicken, but I don’t deep fry. I’m not above eating things that are deep-fried, I am just scared to do it in my own home unsupervised. Sounds scary. However, this chicken and mashed potato duo doesn’t fall short of its deep-fried counterpart, promise!
I made this chicken recipe because of its ease of preparation and simple ingredient list. When contemplating the perfect side dish, my first thought was starch to soak up the lemony juices of the chicken. Then, I remembered that I had some buttermilk left from another recipe I had made (I mean really who keeps buttermilk on hand all the time?) and ran across Ina’s buttermilk mashed potatoes. Viola! Match made in heaven!
Quick anecdotal, self-depricating story about last night’s preparation of this meal. I was ravenous when I got home from the gym and wanted to get dinner in my belly ASAP! So, rather than planning out which part of the meal to start first so that things got done at the same time, I dove in peeling potatoes whilst drinking my usual dinner-making glass of wine. Well, I should have started the oven preheating and got the chicken in first. Consequently, a dinner that should have taken 45 minutes tops (and only one glass of wine) took more than an hour (and two glasses of wine… on an empty stomach). SOOOOOO, when I sat down to dinner, I was a little tipsy. After dinner, I decided to shower and shave since I had a massage appointment this morning. No one wants to rub down someone who is stinky and prickly. During the leg-shaving portion of the event I managed to cut off half of my ankle with the razor. I MEAN LITERALLY: cut off part of my ankle and watched it float down the drain! Needless to say, I had to perform some first-aid and evaluate the situation. Morals of the story: 1) Don’t attempt to shave after two glasses, ok, three glasses of wine and 2) Start the damn chicken first next time.
Lemon Chicken Breasts (courtesy of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?)
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
- 1 lemon
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don’t allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.
Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn’t browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes (courtesy of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home)
- Kosher salt
- 3 pounds of boiling potatoes
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn’t boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done.
As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place a food mill fitted with a small disc/blade over a heatproof bowl. Process the potatoes through the foodmill, turning the handle back and forth. As soon as the potatoes are mashed, stir in the hot milk-and-butter mixture with a whisk or rubber spatula. Add enough buttermilk to make the potatoes creamy. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper, to taste, and serve hot.
Now, I have to be honest here, one thing that annoys me about most of Ina’s recipes is that they usually serve 6 – 8 people. Being that I am currently cooking for uno, I am left eating leftovers for every meal for three days straight (ew!), being wasteful and throwing delicious food away (double ew!) or trying to cut recipes in half, if possible. The chicken recipe was easy to cut in half, but I made the entire mashed potato recipe…because you never get tired of mashed potatoes…I have clearly been carb deprived in the recent past.
Notes: 1) I could not find skin-on, boneless chicken breasts so I used skinless and boneless for faster cooking. Don’t worry about a lack of juiciness or flavor going sans skin, the lemony sauce takes care of that! 2) I do not own a foodmill, so I just mashed the potatoes with a good old-fashioned potato masher. 3) I did not have milk so I used half and half instead and I am pretty sure that made the mashed potatoes better…