Saturday, April 4, 2009

Coriander Crusted Chicken with Sauteed Mushrooms and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I made this up as an homage to one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Snack Taverna. Their coriander pork is lethally good. But while theirs has an accompanying Avgolemono sauce made out of egg yolks that I could bathe in if unchaperoned, my version is much lighter.

And yes - I realize I'm cooking with a lot of cumin seeds lately, but they're addictive little things. They have the scent of cumin, but are oddly mellower with a slight nuttiness about them. Go on - live a little and try cooking with them sometime.

Coriander Crusted Chicken with Sauteed Mushrooms and Oven Roasted Tomatoes

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your skillet) plus 1 teaspoon
1 chicken breast, bone-in and skin on, split (for 2 people)
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
10 oz baby bella mushrooms, washed and quartered
1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 ripe tomatoes, quartered and seeds/pulp removed
1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock, plus extra on standby in case your pan dries out while the chicken bakes
1 sprig fresh dill, plus a teaspoon of minced

Pick out a medium/large, rimmed skillet or Le Crueset type dish to make this in - it will need to go in the oven after being on the stove top so make sure it is suitable for this.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Season your chicken breasts on both sides liberally with salt and pepper, then the coriander and cumin seeds (the seeds will stick better on the skin side, so I usually just put them on that side only.) Add a heaping tablespoon of olive oil to your skillet and turn on to medium high heat, letting the oil get nice and hot before adding your chicken.

When the oil is HOT, add the chicken, skin-side down. Lower the heat if the chicken spits too much, and let cook for 4-5 minutes to get a nice, golden crust. Flip to the other side and cook another 4-5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the flame, and transfer the chicken to a plate or baking sheet. Using a paper towel, carefully remove any blackened seeds left in the pan (trying to leave in as much oil as possible.) Add any more oil, if necessary, to coat the bottom again, then put back onto a medium heat.

Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 5 minutes, until they've begun to wilt and cook down a little. Add the vermouth or white wine and lemon juice, bring to a simmer, and cook until liquid has reduced by half. Carefully stir in the quartered tomatoes, dill and 1/4 cup chicken stock. Make room for the chicken breasts, and return to the pan, skin side up, arranging the vegetables around them as necessary for them to all lie as evenly as possible.

Place in the middle of your 350 degree oven, and bake for 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (if you have particularly big breast pieces, this could take up to 55 minutes.)

Check midway through baking to see if you need to add more chicken stock to prevent the bottom of the pan from burning.

Serve with buttered orzo or rice, sprinkling over the extra dill, or in a pinch, some crusty French bread.


ROACH, Great taste in food and friends said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog! I think yours is great as well - big fan of cooking too. You should definitely check out Wilfie and Nell - although it does get crowded!

Haley said...

i would die for something like this right now! people are oh so sweet bringing cheesy casseroles, but i fear it may lead me to malnutrition or constipation... either is quite lethal.

thank you so much for the cookbook! i just got it in the mail today, and was so excited! you are so sweet for thinking of me during this time. i hope to be back in the kitchen soon, but until then i'll study up on my bread baking :) thanks a ton again!

ROACH, Great taste in food and friends said...

Also, I meant to tell you - I LOVE coriander and cumin - two of my weaknesses when cooking. cannot wait to try this dish.