Weeknight Chicken Delicata

Written By: Tipsy Table - Oct• 31•14

We at Tipsy Table were most likely the last folks to discover the adjunct to our PBS station “create.” Its programming is similar to the original PBS format—crafts, home improvement, cooking, and travel and, thankfully, with no commercial interruptions. Depending upon our location, around 9 pm each evening a slate of culinary shows begins, including America’s Test Kitchen, aka “The Guy with the Bow Tie.”

Chicken artRecently one ATK segment included a recipe for “Weeknight Roast Chicken.” Yes, we agree there are as many ways to roast chicken as there are to cook grits. But, surprisingly, the kitchen pros came upon this roasting revelation when they were unaware that the power to the oven went kablooey. The result was a perfectly roasted chicken, with an incredibly moist breast.

The technique: Preheat the oven with a 12” iron skillet placed inside.

The science:   The skillet, along with the oven, is hot and when the thigh hits the pan it has a head start on the breast, resulting in reduced cooking time.

Chicken with squashOur action plan:   Prepare the chicken for the oven and remove as much of the skin and fat as possible (your discretion), then baste with olive oil, salt, pepper and Costco’s organic non-salt seasoning.

Inside BreastWhen the oven temperature reaches 450°, place the chicken with the breast side up into the skillet and return the pan to the oven. After about 30 minutes, check the temperature, and when the breast registers 120° or thigh 140°, simply turn off the oven. That’s right—turn off the oven and continue roasting for approximately 30 minutes or until the breast temps at 160° and the thigh 175°.

Next, remove the chicken to a carving board and place under a foil tent for another 20 minutes to allow the juices to reintegrate. After that, carve and marvel at the perfect bird.

DelicataA stuffed delicata squash was our chosen pairing for this delectable chicken. If you have never tasted a delicata, get ready for a treat. Also known as a “sweet potato squash” it tastes like a marriage of the orange tuberous root and a butternut squash. This is one winter gourd that doesn’t need to be peeled making preparation a heck of a lot easier than all the others.  We cut the delicata in half lengthwise, basted with a wee bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, popped it into the toaster oven cut side down on parchment, and baked for 30 minutes at 350° or until a knife easily poked through the skin.

While the squash was roasting, we sautéed onion and celery, adding leftover sprouted rice and quinoa, toasted almonds, Zante currents, and seasoned to taste. Stuffing the squash with the mixture, and topping with Asiago cheese, the delicata was returned to the toaster oven for another 30 minutes then added the cheese for melting.  Of course, you can stuff with any of your favorite ingredients.

Plate 1A pomegranate balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette dressed our greens, and we scattered fresh pomegranate seeds over the plate for a wonderful and bright and tasty spritz with each bite.

Wow, just like the Cook’s Country chefs proclaimed, the breast was deliciously moist, and our ad-hoc pairings from the fridge sublime. Surely, this will be a go-to staple for Tipsy Table.

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