Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lemony and Delicious

Good evening everyone! It's no secret that one of our all time favorite dishes to cook on the blog is some variation of breaded chicken. The simple elegance of breaded chicken makes it a champion in our book - it's often a simple or straightforward recipe, but the directions you can go and the complex flavors you can create seem to be limitless. When I received June's edition of Food Network Magazine, and saw that it featured a brand new breaded chicken recipe paired with a new way to create a side dish with a bad reputation - I knew I had to try it out.

The Recipe: Lemon Garlic Chicken With Creamed Corn
Original Recipe Found In: Food Network Magazine June 2012 Issue

What You'll Need:
(Serves 2 - add additional chicken pieces as necessary) 
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
4 Skin-On, Bone-In, Chicken Thighs 
3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
12 Cloves Garlic (Peeled) 
2 Lemons (Zest from one, juice from both) 
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Pound Frozen Corn (Thawed) 
3/4 Cup Whole Milk 
2 Tablespoons Chopped Chives 

Creamed corn is a side dish that has a bad reputation due mainly to its canned variant. Most of us, either via school lunches or old family dinners, have run across canned cream corn at one point or another. Canned creamed corn is usually loaded with sodium, visually unappealing and sort of texture-less and flavorless. When it's cooked into dishes it's a functional product - but on its own, canned cream corn (rightly) receives a great deal of scorn. I have never tried to cook up my own version of creamed corn, and seeing this "do-it-yourself" variant gave me the motivation to try it. Surely, if done properly and given the proper attention, this often overlooked side dish could shine.

Begin by preheating your oven to 450 degrees.

Add your oil to  a large (12 inch) oven safe skillet or Dutch oven, and place over medium high heat until the oil begins to lightly shimmer. While your oil is heating up, lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper and then coat the chicken in 2 tablespoons of flour to create a light breading.

This recipe is originally designed to create a crispy and flavorful skin on the outside of the chicken. We are not big fans of chicken skin for any reason - and when you factor in its poor nutritional values, we tend to avoid it all together. For tonight's recipe, I'm removing the skin prior to cooking the dish and simply breading the outside of the chicken. This is a little more risky as you are likely to remove some moisture from the meat - but from my perspective the nutritional boost gained from removing the skin is worth losing a little moisture.

Place the chicken into the skillet and allow it to cook for four minutes per side, or until the breading has turned a nice golden brown. Once browned, add the garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice to the skillet. Turn the chicken to coat. Cover and place the skillet in the oven for 20 minutes to allow the chicken thighs to reach 175 degrees. This should take about 20 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking you can turn your attention to the creamed corn. Add the butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt before adding the corn. Cook, stirring frequently, until the corn has softened. This should take about 5 minutes.

Next, stir in a sprinkle of salt and pepper and the remaining tablespoon of flour. Allow the mixture to simmer for a minute or two, making sure to stir in everything evenly. Once the flour is incorporated, add the milk to the pan and stir until everything is evenly incorporated. Allow this mixture to thicken and simmer for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chives right before serving.

Once the chicken has finished cooking, transfer the thighs to a serving plate and drizzle them with the cooking liquids from the skillet. Serve with the creamed corn and enjoy.

The Results:

As I said in the opening, breaded chicken is one of the wonders of the culinary world. Simple in premise, complex in flavor - this recipe was no exception. The lemon and garlic combine well to give the crispy chicken breading a nice pop of flavor. Surprisingly, I did not lose as much moisture as I originally thought I would by removing the skin - the thighs tend to be a heartier region of the chicken and maintain moisture even during intense cooking - I think had I tried to do this with breasts or even drumsticks the results may have been slightly different.

The creamed corn turned out splendidly as well. The flour and whole milk base created the creamy undertone of the dish - allowing the natural corn flavor to shine through, yet adding an element to the dish that truly boosted the overall flavor. The chives were a nice touch, adding a "change of pace" to the overall flavor. In the end, this creamed corn recipe may be the one that wins over your opinion on the beleaguered side dish.

That's all we have for you this week. We're back to cooking on Tuesday night next week with a new creation from Maggie. We're working on a theme week - so be sure to stop by to see what next week's recipes will center around. Until then,


1 comment:

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