Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spring Chicken and Vegetable Skillet

I realize now that the name of this recipe is sort of punny. It wasn't intentional, but I'm leaving it because I'm the type of person who loves food puns (and most other puns, for that matter).

It's finally spring! Going through the blog archives, we just skipped straight from the dead of winter to asparagus-laden tables at the farmers market. If only that's how it went in real life...

It was a rough semester (hence the lack of posts since January), but because of Michigan's weird schedule, I've been off for a few weeks now. I've got a lot of recipes to post! This is actually one I just made the other night. The farmers market has finally had asparagus the last two weeks, and I have been out-of-my-mind excited about it. Asparagus is one of those things I rarely bother buying out of season, because it's generally pretty sad, so its arrival at the farmers market is a big deal for me. I generally wake up early on Saturdays and head over to the market, but the first week of asparagus season I had just gotten back from California and could barely get out of bed until 9. I missed the asparagus and was very disappointed. But this week, no one was getting between me and the asparagus. I took the earliest bus over and was greeted with a thriving farmers market, the first such one in months. It was wonderful! So many seedlings - I had to control myself because I already have more plants than I was supposed to.

I did pick up some asparagus, though, and since I love it roasted, I threw it together with some little potatoes and chicken I had on hand. I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out! It made enough vegetables for two (I had to make sure the potatoes neatly covered the bottom of the skillet, of course), so I upped the number of chicken thighs in the recipe to correspond with that. You can easily double or halve this though - just change the size of the skillet, or use multiple skillets.



Spring Chicken and Vegetable Skillet
Yield: Two servings

Ingredients
Two bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Few pinches paprika
Two small pinches cardamom, optional (but encouraged!)
2 T olive oil, plus more for drizzling
3-4 smallish potatoes, any color (I used a mix of colors the size of medium red potatoes)
5-6 oz asparagus 1

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 2 T olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. While the oil heats, season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper, plus a couple of pinches of paprika and a small pinch of cardamom on each. Rub the seasoning under the skin as well.
  2. When the oil shimmers, place the chicken in the skillet skin side down, making sure not to crowd them (or else they won't get crispy). I'd recommend using a splatter screen here, because it tends to spit. Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes, until the skin is browned and crispy. Turn the heat down if the skin starts to burn or brown too quickly. Remove the chicken briefly to a plate and take the skillet off the heat.
  3. While the chicken cooks, slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick coins. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and slice the stalks on the bias into 1-inch lengths.
  4. Leave the fat in the skillet and line the bottom with potato slices (I used just enough to cover, but if you have more you could probably stack them on top of the bottom layer). Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (I also used some garlic salt). Put the chicken, skin side up, in the middle of the skillet on top of the potatoes.
  5. Sprinkle the asparagus on top of the potatoes around the chicken, drizzle with more oil, and season with salt and pepper. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are soft (but not falling apart). Enjoy!

Notes:
  1. For me, this was something in the neighborhood of 7-8 spears, but mine were kind of chubby. If you're using thinner asparagus, like the ones I usually see at the grocery store, you'll probably need 10-15. The amounts in this recipe are very forgiving, though.

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