Once upon a time, I ran across a recipe so good, I wrote this review.
When I started this blog, I briefly considered writing everything in that style, but let me tell you, it…is…exhausting. First, there’s the unconventional sentence structure, followed by fits of self-aimed giggles that interrupt the flow, a workout for your delete button, and criminally heavy use of Google (who says “bindle” in everyday conversation?).
It’s also exhausting to read, and that is fun for no one.
Click either the review above or here for a recipe forged in the very center your yogi is highly trained to help you find.
Despite the perfection of the flavors, let me give you a quick list of tips:
- Three words: cast iron skillet.
- Use high quality, fresh chicken. (Again. And always. Remember the Night of the Giant Sprouts?)
- I also use only chicken thighs for this. It’s worked fine so far.
- Green lentils are okay to use as well if you have them. I like the color of the green with the sweet potato anyway.
- Instead of simply cooking the garlic in with the chicken on the stovetop, I make an olive oil/tarragon/garlic/salt/pepper mixture and put it under the skins. I reserve some of it to mix with the lentil mixture when it goes in. This is all a matter of taste.
- Only fresh tarragon and garlic. Don’t nibble the tarragon while you cook. Just blindly trust that.
- I don’t quarter the shallots. There’s no technical reason I don’t. I just really enjoy the look of a full shallot. I simply hack off the ends, peel them, and toss them in.
- Watch the freshness of shallots. Around here, they don’t sell very well so we can only get them in packages that have been sitting in the produce section as an end-cap decoration for indeterminate amounts of time. Give them a squeeze. They should not yield when you squeeze them.
- I cut the white wine vinegar in half. It’s too tart with two tablespoons of the stuff, but that’s also a matter of taste. I’m not a big vinegar fan in general (please don’t get me started on a roommate who wanted to clean everything with white vinegar and bleach or the time we had to team up with my arch nemesis Apple Cider Vinegar to trap an invasion of immortal fruit flies one extraordinarily hot summer…). I put in an extra tablespoon of white wine, though, to make up the liquid difference because that does affect how it cooks.
- I find the cook time is a bit long on the lentils but not long enough for the chicken. My solution is this: when they’re on the stovetop, after the skin browns, turn the heat down a little, flip them, and let them cook a few minutes before putting them in the oven. Nothing is sadder than mushy lentils or chicken that doesn’t fall off the bone.
- I put absolutely nothing in the sweet potatoes. They’re perfect on their own.
- In step 4, Sara Foster (the architect of this life-changing vehicle) suggests a “spoonful” of sweet potato mash. Use a very large spoon.
- Ms. Foster also suggests a green salad. I call that “optional.” I’ve made a salad with it before, usually a very basic one with blunt flavors to keep from upstaging the main dish (yeah, right).
I haven’t made this recently, so I’m low on photos. I think this will go on the weekend menu so I can try my hand at photographing the process again. For the moment, here’s what I could dig up. Look at those magnificently terrible photography skills, the tragic plating (I didn’t even try on the second one), the subpar plates themselves. Who cares? This is not about looking pretty, even though it technically is quite beautiful. This meal is about experiencing a level of foodgasm beyond the full comprehension of mere mortals. Not sharing it would be a disservice to you as a fellow human.