June 27, 2013

Bear Essentials: Rhubarb
( + Lemon-Rhubarb Chicken )

Sometimes, when I'm working on a blog post, I'll start a mindless task and let my mind wander where it will, taking the recipe in question as a starting point.  More often than not, this leads me to a place where words rain down on the page without much effort.  Jogging used to be great for this, but since I've started working I've had to cut that out.  Now I do my meditation during my daily commute.

So this morning, while dodging cones and fuming at bumbling SUVs, I found myself musing over this recipe.  And try as I might to come up with a logical and informative topic, my brain kept circling around to the subject of bunnies.

Can you see it?  Do you understand the connection?  Because I've been at work all day.  And I am really trying to stay focused on loan origination fees here, but all I can think about is what exactly it might be about this recipe that reminds me of rabbits.  

I've never cooked with them, so it can't really be a culinary reference.

Is it the spring factor?  The lemon, and the rhubarb?  Are they so bright and spring-like that I'm inevitably reminded of Easter?  If so, sorry, Jesus.  You're a great guy, but clearly you don't top my list of Easter references.  At least it wasn't Cadbury Eggs that topped you.  That'd just be humiliating.

Regardless, the fact remains that this is sort of the perfect dish for spring.  You get the hearty goodness of a stuffed roast chicken, for those early days when the cold winds blow and you're questioning whether this might actually still be winter.  But then there's the tangy rhubarb-and-lemon stuffing and the sweet-sour sauce that scream that spring is here.

Remember this one for next year.

And, er, again: sorry, Jesus.

Lemon-Rhubarb Chicken
barely adapted from Bon Appetit

Olive Oil  [ 5 tablespoons ]
Shallots  [ chopped, 6 tablespoons ]
Rhubarb  [ diced, 4 1/2 cups ]
Lemon Juice  [ 1 tablespoon ]
Lemon Peel  [ finely grated, 1 teaspoon ]
Salt [ to taste ]
Ground Black Pepper  [ to taste ]

Butter  [ 1/4 cup ]
Fresh Ginger  [ unpeeled, sliced, 1/2 cup ]
Sugar  [ 3/4 cup ]
Brandy  [ 6 tablespoons ]
Chicken Broth  [ 4 cups ]
Star Anise  [ 1 whole ]
Bay Leaf  [ 1 ]

Bone-In Chicken Thighs with Skin  [ 6 ]

Make Stuffing:
1.   In a heavy, large pan over Medium-High heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the Olive Oil.
2.   Add 2 tablespoons of the Shallots and 2 cups of the Rhubarb.
3.   Saute mixture until Rhubarb and Shallots are soft [ about 5 minutes ].
4.   Add Lemon Juice and Lemon Peel.
5.   Season to taste with Salt and Pepper.
6.   Set aside to cool.

Make Sauce:
7.   In a heavy, large pot over Low heat, melt Butter.
8.   Add 2 1/2 cups of the Rhubarb, 1/4 cup of the Shallots, and Ginger.
9.   Saute until all ingredients are soft  [ about 10 minutes ]
10.   Raise heat to High.
11.   Add Sugar and Brandy; boil 1 minute.
12.   Add Broth, Star Anise, and Bay Leaf.
13.   Simmer Sauce until reduced to 2 cups [ about 1 hour ].
14.   Strain solids out of Sauce and discard.
15.   Stir 1/3 cup of the Rhubarb Stuffing into the Sauce.

Make Chicken:
16.   Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
17.   Carefully slip fingers between skin and meat of Chicken Thighs, creating a pocket.  Try not to tear
            skin from meat at the edges - just the center.
18.   Stuff each pocket with 2 tablespoons of the Rhubarb Stuffing.
19.   Season Chicken with Salt and Pepper to taste.
20.   In a large pan over Medium-High heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the Olive Oil.
21.   Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, add Chicken, skin side down, to the pan.  Cook until
            browned [ about 7 minutes ].
22.   Remove Chicken from pan and place, skin side down, in a roasting pan.
23.   When all Chicken has been added to roasting pan, place in oven.  Roast 10 minutes.
24.   Baste Chicken with juices in pan; return to oven.
25.   Roast until cooked through [ about 10 more minutes ].
26.   Transfer Chicken to serving platter or plates.
27.   Serve over a starch [ I used risotto ] with remaining Sauce.   

Serves 4-6.

This time last year on Being a Bear:
Sourwood Honey Salted Caramels

No comments:

Post a Comment