Metal Recipes: Sauteed Chicken and Kale with Parmesan
Bird. Fire. Death.
Image via The Kitchn.
Where were we last time? India? Britain? Wherever they serve butter chicken and apparently worry too much about postcolonial cultural appropriation. Anyway. Today, contrary to what the Bathory-themed title might imply, we are hitting that strange boot-shaped peninsula that too many Americans associate with The Olive Garden. Italian food might be as close as you come in world cuisine to a win-win situation: much of it is very easy, cheap owing to the prominence of peasant food, pretty healthy (y’know, the whole Mediterranean diet thing), obviously delicious, and partial to big-league (i.e. bigly) flavor coming from simple ingredients not gussied up with a bunch of shit.
So here’s the deal for today. Simple ingredients, big flavors, 30 minutes or less not counting marinating time. Especially good for weeknights when Taco Bell doesn’t sound appealing (does it ever? Commence bitching at will). Serve it next to or on top of pasta or rice; we’re doing the former here, because it’s pasta. Sides … you pick, but it’s hard to go wrong with simple steamed vegetables or a Caprese-style salad. See after the main recipe for another idea in that regard. And as for dessert, whatever. Fresh fruit and burrata is pretty bomb, though.
Giving credit where credit is due, this is adapted from a recipe found on The Kitchn, from which the final (and accurate) image was also sourced.
Sauteed Chicken and Kale with Parmesan
- ¾ lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1” chunks (about the size of a non-gargantuan thumb)
- 4 c chopped kale (not baby kale; you want the kale that’s obviously been hitting the gym)
- 6-8 oz pasta of choice (I really like farfalle, the bowtie-shaped stuff, for this)
- ¼ yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ c dry white wine
- 1 t salt
- ½ t black pepper
- ½ t dried basil
- ½ t dried rosemary
- Juice of ½ lemon, plus a bit more for serving
- ¾ c grated Parmesan
- ½ c Kalamata olives and/or sun dried tomatoes and/or capers and/or anchovies; whatever you like to tart up your pasta
- Olive oil
- 1-2 T red pepper flakes
In a bowl or Tupperware, combine the chicken, salt, black pepper, basil, rosemary, and lemon juice. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or up to all day if you like. Remove from fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Pat the chicken as dry as possible with paper towels. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat, give it a couple minutes to warm up, then add about 2 T oil, wait until it’s shimmering (not smoking), then add the chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 2-3 minutes (err on the side of caution). Use the following ditty as a timer:
Lower the heat to medium and give it a couple more minutes, until cooked through; add a bit more oil if the pan is getting too dry. Remove to a large serving bowl and cover with foil.
Pour in ¼ c of the wine. Deglaze the fuck out of the pan by scraping back and forth with a spatula, until you’ve got all the nice crispy chicken bits dislodged. The French call this stuff the fond, and aside from being delicious it’s one of the keys behind getting depth of flavor with anything involving meat. At this point we’ve taken care of the protein aspect, and since protein is conflated with strength in the popular mindset these days, that calls for songs ov strength and power and victory as we continue. Much to Senor Hefe el Rosa’s chagrin, that does not imply Manowar.
Add another tablespoon or so of oil, then add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and almost translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring more frequently now, 1 minute more or until the garlic is very fragrant.
Add the kale and the rest of the wine to the pan, stirring to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring once a minute or so. You’ll see the kale gradually wilt and cook down; once it’s tender (about 5 minutes), remove from pan and stir it in with the chicken.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente (still a little chewy).
Drain, saving about ¼ c of the pasta water, then remove to a bowl and stir in ½ c of the Parmesan and a bit of black pepper, adding splashes of the reserved pasta water as you do so. As the cheese melts and incorporates with the water, you’ll see a light sauce form. Stir in your olives, tomatoes, whatever you choose to use, then portion it out. Top with the kale and chicken, scatter the red pepper flakes, a bit of lemon juice, and the remaining Parmesan over the top, and you’re good to go.
Oh, and one more thing:
For an easy appetizer or side, take some zucchinis and slice them lengthwise into sticks about the diameter of your pinky; depending on the size of the zucchini this will mean cutting them into quarters or eighths. Toss them together with salt, pepper, oregano, basil or parsley, breadcrumbs, and a small amount of oil or egg white to bind it all together. Spread them out on a baking sheet, spread the leftover breadcrumb mixture (if any) over the top, and bake for 15 minutes or so at 375 Fahrenheit, until golden brown.
That’s all for now. Next time won’t be chicken because I’ve finally used up all the stuff in my freezer, thank the gods. I’m thinking pig.