Chicken with Asparagus and Leeks

This is a quick meal — one of a very few I have up my sleeve and I think it looks like spring on a plate.  Crisp, delicate asparagus and leeks, cheery lemon zest and parsley, sunny egg noodles and tender dead chicken.

Whoops. Did that last one ruin it for you? Does it help to know that this particular chicken had free rein of her spacious yard, enjoyed an organic diet and was the unfortunate victim of a freak accident involving a puddle and a faulty electrical socket foolishly placed near the hen house so the farmer could recharge her phone? This bird didn't see it coming and didn't feel a thing. Well OK, I don't know about that, but buying organic does make me feel better about the carnivore in me that really enjoys a slab of meat a few times a week.

These are chicken thighs which I have been trying to love because the organic version is quite affordable, but really, I miss my breasts. Not MY breasts (well, I miss those too  — nursing two kids did a number on them) but the lovely white meat that comes from chicken breasts and has such mild flavor. You can use whichever you prefer.

Chicken with Asparagus and Leeks

adapted from Bon Appetit 2009
serves 4

Zest from one lemon
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
1 clove garlic, minced
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts pounded thin
1 bunch slim asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
1 small leek, washed and cut into 1/2" pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup chicken broth (or half broth, half white wine)
2 tablespoons cream (optional)

1. Mix parsley, lemon zest and garlic together in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in large fry pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken and place in hot pan. Saute 3 minutes or so per side until brown and cooked through. Remove to a plate and tent to keep warm.

3. Put butter and leeks in pan and saute for 3 minutes or until tender. Add asparagus, sprinkle with a little salt and saute for another minute. Add chicken broth and simmer on medium until reduced and the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

4. Stir cream and parsley mixture into vegetables and stir to disperse. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Add chicken back in, warm through and serve on its own or with pasta or rice.


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