Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Broccoli and Chicken with Pesto Sauce

HOLY cow, this was good. I had a feeling it would be, but man it sure panned out to exceed expectations.
A broccoli floret was ready to harvest and we still have plenty of pesto in the freezer, so i planned to put those two together. On a trip into the market for frozen peas i noticed whole chickens were on sale. I bought one and chopped it apart and skinned it (ew). The breasts were chopped and placed in the fridge, legs, wings, and body de-fatted and skinned and placed separately in the fridge to become chicken soup / craftable bones later. Apologies for the not so artful photo of the final product, i was already sitting down and asked the husband to photo his bowl.

Makes a perfect two portions with a little leftover for lunch, if you can stand not having seconds.
  • 2 not huge chicken breasts cut into 1 inchish cubes
  • about 1 1/2 cup of spicy pesto/turkey broth plus 1 T whey
  • 2 hot chillies, i used habaneros from the garden
  • 1 onion, diced
  • pinch chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 broccoli floret with 3 leaves, chopped to even sizes including the stem
  • Mirin (rice wine) or sherry or white wine
Saute the onions, peppers and garlic with a splash of water, salt and pepper, over med/high heat and covered until getting soft.

Add the chopped chicken, season with salt and about 2 T of the pesto sauce, (my pesto and turkey stock were stored frozen in the freezer in ice cube shapes in ziplock bags. I simply tossed them into a cup and thawed them in the microwave for about 2 minutes) and a good splash of Mirin. Cover for a few minutes, stir, re-cover, turn heat to medium and simmer until cooked through. Contents of pan should be steamy and simmering.
Heat pasta water to boiling.

When chicken is cooked through, add the broccoli and stir in with chicken and onions, cover and cook over medium heat. Let the broccoli steam. Meanwhile cook your pasta - i used whole wheat with wheat germ spaghetti that cooked in 5 minutes.

Broccoli if fresh will cook in about 5 minutes, older tougher broccoli may take a bit longer.
When all is just about done, pour the pesto sauce evenly over the chicken and broccoli to warm, covered.

Ta Da! Drain the pasta, serve into bowls or plates ( i like bowls so that all the juices are contained, kept warm, and it's easy to stir without getting green splatter all over yourself ) and top with the pesto brocc/chx.

This was spicy and delicious! Didn't need cheese at ALL, but cheese is always good so feel free to top with some shredded mozz or parm. I really love the flavor habaneros lend to things, and my pesto had jalapenos in it which adds a different heat in itself.

This was easy to do, room for error or wandering about - just be sure that the pan stays covered and the interior is steamy and simmery - don't let the onions/garlic burn.  This method of cooking chicken keeps it SUPER moist. All that steamy goodness shoves itself into the chicken, imbibing it with flavor and retaining a succulent texture. And who doesn't love steamed broccoli or pesto! My pesto is very low in oil, FYI, so the sauce was very healthy and mixing it with the turkey stock made it go further but added a layer of richness. Stir it all up with your noodles to soak the sauce into them too. So Good!
( I got a high five for this one )

What are some of your favorite pesto recipes?

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