Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Twist on Oven Baked Chicken


I really had a problem figuring out what to make for dinner and changed the menu as I encountered obstacles. I had originally decided to make pizza but changed the plan when I realized there were some cooked pinto beans that had to be used. So I decided to use the beans to make bean tacos and make pizza another night. Typically Luis uses canned, refried beans so it was new for me to try this with freshly made beans.

The beans that have to be used are whole and in a lot of broth. I will have to mash them and re-cook them with a bit of oil - aka refried beans. Using a potato masher, I mash the beans in the container while I heated a bit of oil in a medium-sized skillet over a medium-high burner. However, as I am mashing the beans I realize that they are way too soupy for bean tacos. I probably should have drained some of the fluid prior to mashing. So again I decide to change the menu and just serve refried beans.

Now I have to change my original plan for the chicken. With bean tacos I would have used a simmered sauce recipe for chicken. However, changing my plan has given me less time to really achieve the right flavor for a simmer sauce. Plus I realize that I am too hungry now to take the time. I want dinner to be made quickly and decide to do oven-baked chicken but I am going to make it more spicy. I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prep a cookie sheet with a sheet of aluminum foil sprayed with olive oil.

I open a package of boneless chicken thighs (about six thighs) and rinse them in lukewarm water. I decide not to dip the thighs in eggs or milk (mostly due to laziness) so I set them aside while I prep the breadcrumbs. I use a bit over a cup of breadcrumbs, mix with 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 2 teaspoons of thyme, and a bit of salt and pepper. I roll the thighs around the breadcrumb mix, put each one on the cookie sheet and pop she sheet into the oven. (Usually the oven is still pre-heating when I pop the chicken in.)

As the beans are re-frying, they are thickening up but they are still not thick enough to make into bean tacos so I feel justified in changing this meal the way I did. I turn them off for now since the chicken is still cooking and I need to make a bit of sauce for the chicken.

I heat the comal over a high burner and roast two fresh tomatoes and two garlic cloves. When the skin of the tomatoes starts to blister, I take them off the comal, remove the skins and place in the blender with the roasted garlic. I puree the tomatoes and garlic then heat a bit of oil in a medium-sized saucepan and pour the puree into it. I add 1 teaspoon of oregano and a bit of salt and pepper for flavor. I let this cook until the sauce gets a bit darker.

I check the chicken and turn over the thighs. The side of the thighs that was on the cookie sheet is nicely browned and crisp so it is the perfect time to turn them over. I set up each plate with a quarter of an avocado, thinly sliced and wait for the chicken to finish cooking (total cooking time is 25 to 30 minutes).

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

I think this is a great blog. it really shows how you can just use what you have as long as you can use your commonsense and imagination.

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