This is the sort of dish I can make over and over and still look forward to it. Asparagus is what makes it a spring dish. Olives and basil would evoke summer; rosemary and mushrooms, autumn. Nudging a familiar dish this way or that, according to what's available and one's whim is what cooking is all about. If you want to work ahead, cook through step 2. When you come back, start some rice and finish the dish. At that point, dinner's about 25 minutes away.
Serves 4 or 5
Large skillet with a lid
Tongs1 chicken, cut up in 8 pieces
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
1 rib celery, diced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
one 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (1-3/4 cup)
1/2 cup white wine
1 bunch asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces
1) While the skillet heats up, pat the chicken pieces dry, lay them on a sheet of wax paper and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper, then flour. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and use high heat to brown the chicken on all sides. As the chicken is browned, set it aside on a plate. (Use tongs to handle the chicken—they don't pierce the meat.
2) Add the onions (and another splurp of oil if necessary). Throw in the celery and carrot as they're ready. When the onions start to brown, add the garlic and thyme, then the bell pepper. Cook until the pepper softens.
3) Start a pot of rice: 2 cups is good for 4 or 5.
4) Add the tomatoes and wine to the pan. Stir and scrape up any stuck bits on the bottom of the pan. When the sauce comes to a simmer, put the chicken on top—along with any chicken juices from the plate—and cover. Adjust the heat so it stays at a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes.
5) Stir the asparagus into the sauce under the chicken, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes or so, just until the asparagus is cooked. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Both chef and musician, John Ryan wrote the Just Good Food blog from 1996 through 2001.
This archived page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007
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