Hi guys, long time no see. First off, a little business: I’m super stoked to announced that three of your favorite P&Q recipes are now featured in the latest collection in the Foodie.com iPhone/iPad app! Download the FREE app now to check out these (and 37 other!) Dinner for Two recipes, just in time for Valentine’s Day. There are plenty of other gorgeous recipe collections to browse featuring loads of other bloggers’ great ideas, too. Get it in the App Store today!
Ok, moving on: I love leeks. They’re kind of a pain in the ass to wash, yeah, but so what. The leeks will thank you for it, and I really believe that. (Can you imagine what it must feel like going through life with silty grit chillin’ under your skin? Like that moment when you first walk onto the beach and realize one step too late that you should have taken your shoes off from the start. You’re doing these guys a huge favor.)
If you’ve taken a gander at this Crispy Chicken & Root Veggies post from a couple of months ago, maybe you know that I also dig skillet meals pretty hard. One-dish wonders that look good on the table and feel good going down, that’s what they are. I feel like Ina Garten gives me a knowing little nod of approval every time I even look at a piece of enameled cast iron, and I like it. Ina is totally one of my pals that has yet to realize for herself the joy of my friendship. It’s maybe a bit of a one-way mirror, where from behind the glass I see our friendship laid out before us like an East Hampton picnic — and from where Ina’s standing, the mirror holds nothing more than her own reflection, a well-Photoshopped picture of us hanging out in her farmhouse and the words “How bad can that be?” smeared across everything in chocolate buttercream.
I think I set out thinking this wasn’t going to sound creepy, but I’m not sure it’s working.
Let’s get back back to the skillet.
This is a winner, you guys, particularly if you love white meat and are looking for something decidedly different from a cutlet-style preparation. Literally swimming in flavor, the chicken manages to stay super juicy despite its leanness, and the pan juices, of which there are plenty, are phenomenal spooned over quinoa, rice or cous cous. Drag some crusty bread through it. I’m not mad.
The most tedious part of the whole recipe, I promise, is washing those damn leeks — and really that’s just as simple as trimming off the thick green ends, halving them lengthwise and rinsing between the leaves while the root end is still intact. Then trim off the root, cut the halves crosswise into more manageable pieces and you’re done. See, not that hard at all, and as we mentioned at the start, the contented sighs from the leeks makes is totally worth it. (Also, dirt tastes like nasty.)
We enjoyed this as a quick weeknight supper with a side of the Bombest Quinoa Ever and a bottle of California zin (um, we drink zin with everything, because we’re super knowledgeable about wines like that) but I’m kind of tempted to pull it out again for an elegant, fuss-free Valentine’s dinner.
You should, too! 😉
25-Minute Skillet Chicken Roast w/ Carrots & Leeks (gluten-free)
By Emily Stoffel
Cook time: 25 mins | Serves 2-3
Note: Have you ever cooked with pickling spice? I know it seems a tad bizarre, but it’s actually packed with tons of those “simmered all day” flavors that you find in your favorite roasts and stews: cinnamon, allspice, mustard seed, coriander, bay leaves, ginger, chilies, cloves, black pepper, mace, cardamom — the whole enchilada. (Speaking of which, I also use it in my enchilada sauce.) Give it a blitz in your spice grinder — or some good muscle with a mortar and pestle — and it perks up chicken like whoa. Give it a shot.
- generous T coconut oil
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, patted dry and cut into about 3 pieces each
- 1 T pickling spice, ground, divided
- 1 T agave
- 1/2 T sea salt
- 3 leeks, trimmed, halved, rinsed thoroughly and halved again (leave the root end intact
- 4-5 carrots, halved lengthwise
- 1 cup stock (chicken, veggie or beef)
Preheat oven to 425F. Add coconut oil to large skillet and bring to med-high heat. Meanwhile, toss cut-up chicken with 1/2 T ground pickling spice, sea salt and agave. Add to skillet and brown on first side, about 3-5 minutes.
While chicken is browning, mix remaining 1/2 T pickling spice with 1 cup stock.
Flip chicken. Nestle carrots and leeks around chicken pieces as best as possible and pour over stock/pickling spice mixture.
Place skillet into preheated oven and braise for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and veggies are crisp-tender, basting with juices a time or two, if desired. Serve chicken and veggies with those rockstar juices over potatoes, quinoa or rice. Enjoy!
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