Friday, April 16, 2010

Chicken breasts in creole mustard sauce, almond rice pilaf, and bacony kale

Bacon: making people like vegetables since the dawn of time. Well, since the dawn of pigs.

Dark leafy greens are a favorite in my house. Not only are they wonderfully flavorful, they're also ridiculously good for you and cook up in no time (not to mention extremely inexpensive). Unfortunately there isn't any kale in my garden at the moment because it's more of a winter plant, but I would definitely cook up some of my Swiss chard or beet greens the same way. A little bacon goes a long way here - don't destroy the wonderful thing you're doing for your body eating kale by smothering it in half a pound of bacon. It's almost as delectable when sauteed in just olive oil, salt and pepper. Almost.

I stumbled upon the mustard chicken recipe trolling through the weekly planners on, where they plan out a complete quick meal for every night of the week (a whole post on meal planning to come). It's a great resource when you have no idea what to cook but know you want it to be fairly quick. Overall, it was a nice easy meal for a weeknight using household staples.

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
palm full of slivered almonds
1/2 cup white rice
1 cup chicken stock

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 4 thighs)
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock (I just made a huge pot of it on Sunday, yay!)
1/4 cup Creole or whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp hot sauce (I used Tabasco)

1 bunch kale
1 slice bacon
splash of chicken stock

Rice first. Saute the garlic and onion in a little olive oil until softened. Add the almonds, rice, and chicken stock and bring to a simmer, add a pinch of kosher salt and cover. Cook according to the package directions, stirring occasionally.

Season your chicken breasts with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a heavy skillet set on medium-high heat and brown the chicken for a few minutes on each side. Add the orange juice and chicken stock and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Then add the Dijon, honey, and hot sauce, stir thoroughly and allow to reduce until thick, another 5 minutes.

While your chicken and rice are cooking, trim out and discard the tough center rib from each leaf of kale, stack the leaves, and chop them into rough strips. Dice a slice of bacon and saute in a large non-stick pan. When all the fat has rendered, add the kale along with a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper as well as a splash of chicken stock. Give it a few tosses with your tongs until it has cooked down somewhat and becomes bright green and tender-crisp, it should only take a minute or two.

Plate a mound of rice and arrange your chicken and sauce, then a big pile of greens. Eat!

Serves 2, takes only half an hour if you're organized!

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