May 28, 2006
This recipe was a New York Times recipe that I found through another blog, The Wednesday Chef. It looked so easy, and given my love of crème fraîche, I thought I would give it a go. It's one of those recipes that looks too easy to be good.
I'm a skeptic when it comes to recipes; I'll admit it. I learned it the hard way with those damn scotch eggs, not to mention many, many other recipes written with incorrect proportions or just complete lack of seasonings. Aren't we all a little skeptical, though? If you've been cooking for any reasonable amount of time, you've come across your share of bad recipes. The ones that every single reviewer says is "amazing and the BEST ever" only to look at the ingredients and feel strangely doubtful that the key is the "name brand" condensed soup. (I mean, don't even try it with the generic brand...total crap.) I suppose my skillz in the kitchen have more and more to do with how efficiently I can tackle or adjust a recipe to suit my tastes.
Then there are times when it's good to just try the recipe as written. Most often, the simpler the recipe, the harder this is for me. I don't often tamper with recipes with 20 ingredients, and if I do, I stick to logical substitutions or variations. It's when a recipe has 3 ingredients, like this Lemon Chicken, that I have qualms. doubts. uncertainties. little stomach churps that make me feel like I should know better than to fall for this. But, you know what? This time I could have relaxed because it was just delicious. Serve this chicken with some killer side dishes and you've got an impressive meal. I used chicken breasts only but next time I would use bone-in parts as the recipe suggests. I know, I know...
recipe from Amanda Hesser, posted in NY Times
4 bone-in chicken legs with thighs attached
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
coarse sea salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup crème fraîche
Heat the butter and olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken pieces until nicely browned on both sides. Place in a preheated 375 degree F/190 degree C oven and bake for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. (If using chicken breasts as I did, skip the oven and sauté them in the skillet until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per side.)
Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet and set aside. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp fat. Place the skillet back over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the juice from the lemon, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Let this simmer 1 minute. Stir in the crème fraîche until the sauce is smooth and warmed through. Add the chicken pieces back to the pan to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle lemon zest over each piece of chicken and serve. Yum!
Sorry, but I can't leave you without a note about the look of this dish. It's off-white with a dose of lemon. You might be like me and fighting the urge to add some herbs or something with color in there. It's sort of begging for it, no? So, not that I think it would be ruined with the addition of herbs, but there is something nice about being pale. After all, think of France's Blanquette de Veau with its white sauce, traditionally served with white rice. There is a little bit of rebellion in there and I like it.