Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Guest Kitchen: Pan Seared Pollo with Pancetta, Potatoes and Parsley (and Mustard Sauce)

So last night's Guest Kitchen guest who shall remain anonymous is a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. He doesn't love a lot of greens (sorry to my favorites: fennel and arugula). So what do I cook? Meat and potatoes - literally - I aim to please. But, because this is Gour-Maybe, and my goal is gourmet everyday, they had to be special.  I am on a roll with the Fried Chicken & Champagne cookbook, and this was a good excuse to break it out again for a full meal by adapting their Roasted Chicken and German Butterball Smashed Potatoes recipe. I did a few things differently, because that is my way, and I forgot chicken stock. So here goes. This meal is so easy - including the chicken, don't let the skin-on "split" chicken-on-a-bone intimidate you, cooking it on the bone makes it moist and delicious.  Pancetta and herbs make the potatoes out of this world. The full recipe and more pics can be found after the jump. This is a perfect recipe for 2.

scarborough fair, without the rosemary
split whole chicken, pan-seared - this whole thing goes in the oven, so get the mitts ready
Pan-Seared Pollo with Pancetta, Parsley and Potatoes and Mustard Sauce (Serves 2) 
You will need:
  • 1 whole chicken skin-on (split) appx 3-4 lbs.
  • 3 T vegetable/canola oil 
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1/2 C dry white wine
  • 1/4 C water (or chicken stock - I used water)
  • 2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lb small (1 inch diameter) potatoes. If you use larger potatoes, cut them in 1/2
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves (I used 15)
  • 3 oz Pancetta, chopped into inch long pieces (the pre-packaged slices at CM are great) 
  • 1 T chopped sage
  • 1 T thyme leaves

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. I started the potatoes first, because they ended up taking longer than my chicken. Toss potatoes with olive oil and about 2 tsp kosher salt and black pepper, garlic cloves and any other seasoning you like - I can see rosemary in a fall version of this. Put on a baking sheet and into the oven until tender about 35-40 minutes.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan (see pic) on high heat. Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper and if you'd like to go big time - some cayenne - no more than 1/2 tsp total on the cayenne. When the oil is HOT, carefully with tongs place both sides of the chicken SKIN DOWN first. Don't touch them for about 6-8 minutes, but keep an eye out - you are looking for a deep golden brown color. Flip them over, add the butter, wine, water and parsley. NOTE: when you add the wine, it's going to steam and sizzle. Don't worry - it's all good. Using a spoon or a baster, spoon the pan's liquids over the tops of both chicken breasts generously. Transfer to the oven. This will take appx 30 minutes. Remember the digital thermometer - poultry should be 165 degrees internally.

Your potatoes and chicken will both be cooking at the same time. Have a beer, some wine, relax. When the potatoes are very tender, remove them from the oven, and "smash" each with a fork until the skin breaks. Remove all the garlic which should be roasted and tender. When the chicken is done, transfer to a serving platter. Add the pancetta, sage, thyme, garlic and potatoes back into the saute pan that the chicken was cooked in, and cook until pancetta is just done. Gour-Maybe tip: Remember to use oven mitts. I can't say this enough. This pan has just come from a hot oven, and if you grab the handle you will be so mad at yourself.

Plate 1/2 chicken and potatoes on each plate. Top with Mustard Glaze (post coming soon), but it would be good without it! Season to taste. Serve immediately.

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