Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Balsamic Chicken

I am not a chicken eater. I guess I'm a flexi-pescetarian; I may be coining a new term, but I don't fall into any of the real categories.

I eat a vegetarian diet 90% of the time, and maybe 9% fish and seafood. The remaining 1% comes from a meat dish that creeps in on a rare occasion. I have no moral objection to it, but I neither crave it nor miss it in the slightest. And I'm very happy to make it for my carnivorous other half.

I used to eat chicken as a kid, and this is a recipe I made in college. I no longer follow a recipe, instead creating the marinade from memory. I still jimmy with it, trying to make it the best it can be and, as always, adjusting to what I have on hand.

When I made this for myself, I would buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts- and they would always come out a bit dry. I know use skin-on, bone-in meat because the meat stays very moist and full of flavor (cheaper too, because less labor goes into it). I know I know, there is fat in the skin, but I remove it before eating.

Carnivores can multiply the recipe to make a lot of chicken; it makes great leftovers in a salad, sandwich, or pasta (keep reading).

Balsamic Chicken

Balsamic Chicken

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 red wine vinegar
1/8 cup dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, minced
a few squeezes of honey
a few turns of olive oil
salt and pepper
2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts and ribs

Combine vinegars, mustard, garlic, honey, and salt and pepper in a baking dish. Whisk to combine, slowly adding the olive oil. Place the chicken in the dish, and turn to coat well with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for several hours and up to a day, basting occasionally with the marinade.

Balsamic Chicken with Foil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the chicken for about 40 minutes or until well cooked internally.


I served the chicken with these potato nuggets; I found them in Whole Foods' freezer and gave them a try with NH.

Potato Nuggets

I didn't notice but they are actually higher-end tater tots. Oops! He did say they were good, a better ratio of potato center to crunchy outside. They are made with Yukon Gold and Russet potatoes, with no trans fat.


With the remaining chicken, I de-skin and de-bone into a container in the fridge for a few days, to use as needed the rest of the week.

I recommend this combo: Pasta, balsamic chicken, some fresh basil pesto, peas, and parmesan cheese.

Parmesan Pasta with peas and balsamic chicken

Big thumbs-up from NH here; he liked it so much he wants the leftovers tonight. For him, eating the same thing two nights in a row is a big deal.



LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Glad NH loved it!!

Mmm, fresh basil pesto and peas ALWAYS make pasta taste brilliantly :0)

Anonymous said...

I'm not a vegetarian, but I very rarely eat poultry. Meat, lamb, seafood, oh yeah, but I typically don't go for the birds. I might have to give this a shot though... it sounds so good!

Sarah said...

Hi Jen,

Your comment really made me think.... I guess I really don't go for the birds either!

If there is a meat I miss occasionally it would be lamb. I'm Greek so we had it a lot growing up and I do enjoy it. Beef's ok, but I would probably be sad if I never had lamb again. Like everyone my eating habits are evolving, I may return to it again someday.

My favorite lamb preparation is a roasted leg with a mustard glaze. Which makes me think this marinade would be delicious with lamb too! So if you don't go for chicken give that a try.

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious!

I don't eat much meat, either- it just doesn't usually sound that appealing to me. However, my husband doesn't think a meal is a meal without meat. I love to cook meals for both of us and especially meal-time together, but sometimes we just don't want the same things. What do you and your husband do when he wants chicken/meat and you want something else?

Anonymous said...

Your marinade sounds tasty!

I definitely have a love-hate relationship with chicken. I couldn't stomach it at all when I was pregnant -- just the thought of handling raw chicken gave me the willies. Now I make it on occasion (it's so good on the grill), and I'll even buy a hormone-free chicken at the farmers' market during the summer. For $12, you get several meals' worth of meat, and that's a deal this frugal lady can't refuse. (I have no idea why I slipped into the 3rd person at the end there.)

Sarah said...

Hi Bridget,

That's a great question and I still struggle with it a lot. Basically we eat a lot of separate meals in my house :-). Sometimes I will make meat and a side dish, and the side dish will be more to my taste and what I'll have for dinner. If it's lacking in protein I'll add some beans, egg, or fish to balance that out.

In the past we've agreed to have one night a week where I make exactly what I'd like (healthy, vegetarian) and if he has to at least try it. If he doesn't like it, he can fix himself something else. For a short time we had a set day, now it's mostly random- because I'm the chef and I'm fickle and change my mind on dinner a lot. :-)
Sundays in our house are 'self-serve leftovers', because that's the way it was in my parents' home and it's nice to not worry about cooking the day before the workweek starts. And we tend to go out to eat once weekend night because we LOVE to.

My husband likes rotisserie chickens so I buy those often- they provide enough meat for a week of meals for him. Weeknights I do try to keep it simple, to save some time.

I wonder what it is with men and women and chicken :-) For one thing, I find it a little boring even when it's dressed up. But more than that, I actually have a mild allergy to it! I had an allergy panel done a few years ago and I'm actually more allergic to chicken than shellfish. So it also doesn't make me feel very good.