Monday, December 29, 2008

Spiced Chicken with Sautéed Collards and Peppers

When I said yesterday that there would few, if any, newly-tried recipes posted here in the near future, I lied.

While I was grocery shopping today, I saw a 2 pound bag of collard greens on sale for $1.50. I have used kale before, and turnip greens, but collard greens would be a new adventure. I was thinking that, for dinner on New Years’ Day, I would locate a recipe for greens, black eyed peas, and (turkey) kielbasa.

A few hours later, I was stuck on what to make for our dinner this evening. I saw my November issue of Real Simple on the kitchen table (I’m a little behind in my magazine-reading) with a feature on “Quick, Any Occasion Dinners”. I flipped the magazine open and the very first recipe I saw was, amazingly, Spiced Chicken with Sautéed Collards and Peppers. Yep, it was fate!

The resulting dish was very good. We both love the flavor of cumin, and spicy foods are always enjoyed, so the chicken was delicious. I had thought that the accompanying vegetables might be bland, only being seasoned with salt and pepper, but the sautéed red peppers, onions, and collard greens were excellent, with a wonderful flavor to the collard greens. Who knew?!

I served the chicken and veggies with slices of whole wheat flatbread (which wasn’t planned to actually be a flatbread when I made it a couple of weeks ago, but I did not measure the yeast correctly; it has been in the freezer, since then, awaiting use).

The only change I made to the recipe was to alter the preparation a little. The instructions were to pan-fry the chicken breasts for 6-8 minutes then finish them in the oven. I really think that it is a waste to preheat an oven to 400F just to cook something for 6-7 minutes. I debated between using the toaster oven, or covering the pan with a lid to finish cooking the chicken (which would steam it rather than roast it, but how different could the result be?), and chose the toaster oven over dirtying another pan.

I do get a little annoyed when a recipe states the quantity of an ingredient to be something rather subjective, as in this recipe’s “1 large bunch collard greens”. Okay, so what exactly is large? So I looked on the package of greens which I bought and determined the quantity through serving size indicated in the nutritional information. In this case, it will be one pound of collard greens for 4 servings.

All told, a very, very good 25-minute dinner! And look at how Christmas-ey! :)

Spiced Chicken with Sautéed Collards and Peppers

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large bunch collard greens, thick stems removed

Heat oven to 400° F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the collard leaves crosswise. Add to the skillet along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with the chicken.

Substitution: If you can't find collard greens at the market, Swiss chard or spinach will work just as well.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


Kate Merker
Real Simple, NOVEMBER 2008