Friday, November 5, 2010

Honey Mustard Chicken (Cheating)

Every week, I plan my meals and purchase the appropriate ingredients.  I make a good attempt to use the ingredients that will go bad the quickest, and freeze what I need to.  Usually I'm successful at using all my food in a timely manner, but sometimes...things happen.  I've found for a lot of fresh herbs, if I put them in water by a windowsill, they survive in nice condition.

Asparagus isn't a vegetable I like to use very much, but it's not the worst thing in my opinion, and is definitely something I'm looking to improve with.  Asparagus was one of the unusual ingredient's in last night's dinner, but, apparently, the way I stored it wasn't effective.  I experimented with having it out on the counter, by the windowsill, with the bases in water.  I bought them on Saturday, and was intending to use them on Thursday, so, five days.  What do I find on them?  Mold.  No go on dinner plan.

I had the chicken I needed for the dish thawed, so I wasn't about to give up on cooking for the night just yet.  What did I have that I could use?

Carrots, various herbs, and, salad dressing.

Salad dressing, you ask?

Why, yes.

You see, I keep a stock of some different types of salad dressings for days when I need to cook for just myself, and don't want to spend too much effort on anything in particular.  They're flavorful, and, when used correctly, can be awesome when combined with different meats.

I know, it doesn't look like much, but I can say with much certainty that I want to make this again.

I cut the chicken into pieces, chopped a shallot and a few leftover carrots, and cooked pasta.  As the pasta was near finished, I heated my pan and added the honey mustard dressing, then the chicken, carrots, and shallot.  As the pasta finished, I added it to the pan, and, when needed, added more dressing.

AMAZING.  Honestly, I want to just have the dressing with pasta for lunch some time.

The reason this works so well is because of the components of the particular dressing.  The main ingredient?  Water.  The second ingredient?  Vegetable oil.  The majority of the rest of the ingredients were things that would not dissipate when heated, meaning that the flavors of the dressing would survive.   As it cooked, the water evaporated, the oils were absorbed, and this helped make the sauce thicken.  Gotta love physics.

My goal with this dish is to try to recreate the salad dressing so I don't feel like it's cheating, plus, I have a feeling it will taste even more fantastic if I do it right.  Oh, and find more ingredients.  Carrots were good, but it needs more.  Suggestions?

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