Don’t look back….move forward. I can’t tell you how many times I have said that to others or myself. It is easy to look back and find mistakes. Looking back can sometimes make you lose focus on the now.
Past mistakes are learning experiences that can only excel us into a better future.
But then the other day I realized that my theory is good with the exception of some of my early recipes. I consider my early recipes good “starter” recipes for someone who was learning to cook.
The other day I started to revisit some of my favorites and realized that there were some really basic skills missing. Cooking skills that could only enhance the flavors and make the dish even better than the original.
One my most infamous recipes was Man Gittin’ Chicken. (Keep in mind I knew the way to man’s heart….but I also knew that there were a couple of routes to get there! Wink.Wink.)
Man Gittin’ Chicken was something I made in my mid-twenties when I was single. This recipe was like a love potion and if I made it for a date, I had better want to keep them around for a while. (I make it sound like men were knocking down my door…not the case…I was a late bloomer.)
I usually would make it when I was sure that I really liked the person. You know the guy who I would consider a “keeper.” It was like bait on a fishing line to me and I was trying to catch fish. I was going for the “big” one and will say there were a few that I tossed back in water. (Am I setting the women’s movement back?)
It was NOT the first dish I made for my husband. I just wasn’t sure yet when I first met him if he was going to get the bait. If you have never dated an engineer, they are an interesting species. They are kind of like a New York Times Crosswords puzzle. A bit easy going in the beginning but then some challenges pop out later. I had a choice to finish the puzzle or pitch it…and will say I am glad that I figured it out!
I did cook for him on one of our first dates…Greek Chicken….that was me just throwing out a line to see if he would bite! He liked it….and after many conversations and dates we really fell for each other. I knew it was time to give him my most precious gift….my favorite chicken recipe. (If you were thinking it was ANOTHER gift, I cannot confirm or deny any inferences you read into that sentence….and remember….my mom reads this!)
Man Gittin’ Chicken was simply a baked chicken with an oniony-herb sauce. It is very vibrant and is just delicious over some angel hair pasta. As I looked at the recipe again, I didn’t want to change up the flavors; I just thought I should try to brown the chicken first.
Browning the chicken will add a little depth to the flavor….and honestly…I think it looks pretty. (Every time I read about browning, there seems to be a debate if it seals in juices or if it just adds flavor….something for me to explore more in future posts!)
While I was looking back and remembering whom I made this dish for in the past, I felt like I learned a lot of lessons. I learned what I wanted in a person and more importantly what I didn’t want. I figured out that eating a homemade dinner with someone you care about is better than going out. And most importantly, if someone wants to lay a smooch on you after you cook them chicken topped with a ton of onions…odds are they really like you. (Or they may just be horny!)
With all that said, here is to looking forward and evolving from looking back!
Man Got Chicken 2017
3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pat dry, seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 TBSP EACH FRESH Oregano, thyme and tarragon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of white wine
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Oven at 400.
In a cast iron skillet (or oven safe pan) heated over medium high heat, add a swirl of olive oil.
Add chicken breasts and don’t touch them for about 3 minutes. You should hear a sizzle and they will start pulling away from the pan as they brown.
Flip them over and cook another 3 minutes.
Remove to a plate.
Lower heat to medium.
Add a little more olive oil and add the onions. Cook until onions are translucent.
Add herbs and garlic and cook another minute (or until garlic becomes frangrant.)
Add wine to deglaze the pan and reduce slightly. (It should be more like an au jus than a gravy.)
Add the chicken back to the pan (and any juices that accumulated on the plate.)
Flip it in the pan and couple of times. (If you did not use an oven safe skillet, this is a good time to pour it all in a casserole dish.)
Spoon some of the onions on top and give each breast a sprinkle of parmesan.
Sprinkle paprika generously over each piece.
Place in oven until chicken is cooked all the way. (My breasts were huge…I’ve always wanted to say that…so it took about 8 minutes.)
Serve over some angel hair.