I like my cast iron skillets, they make me feel so frontier-ly. That’s a lie. I like them because Alton Brown says I should. He’s always right, you know.
I had this idea for acorn squash risotto from my Mario Batali cookbook. But what to serve with it? I searched the Food Network for roasted chicken recipes, and there it was on the third page of results: Lemon and sage roasted chicken. It sounded good, and it sounded easy, which is better. I wanted to be able to focus my attention on the risotto, which I’ve heard is easy to ruin if you don’t mind it well. Gordon Ramsay is always screaming at those idiots on Hell’s Kitchen because they invariably ruin the risotto at least once each night. And I can understand it now, because to have four or five things going at once, including one or two risotto skillets, would be very hard to keep track of. Here’s how mine looked when I was done:
Anyway, as it turned out the chicken recipe I found was from Michael Symon, Food Network’s new Iron Chef who hails from Cleveland, OH. Go Cleveland! First the Cavs go to the finals, the Indians make the ALCS, it looks like the Browns are playoff bound, and now this. An Iron Chef. How is it that I can bring football into anything?
I was talking about something, wasn’t I? Oh yes, my cast iron skillet. I quartered the chicken and heated both pans but good, put some olive oil and butter in, and dropped in the chicken, skin side down.
SMOKE! Lots of it, too. Around that time Karen came home and asked if we have fire insurance. “Don’t worry,” explained Mark, “I’ve got the fire extinguisher right here.”
This seems to happen any time I’m searing a piece of meat; the house fills with smoke. I’ve stopped trying to make burgers inside because of this. That and I did almost burn the house down last year making burgers on the electric grill on our now deceased Jenn-Air range. Maybe the pans are too hot, or perhaps I need a real hood to take the smoke out of the house. If I knew the answer I wouldn’t still be doing it, would I?
Here’s the chicken after it was done. In this particularly dramatic image of the chicken thigh one of the sage leaves breaks through the skin in a manner reminiscent of the Alien movies:
It came out okay. The flavor was good, but I brought the chicken out too soon. We had to finish off some of the bigger pieces in the microwave. Once again I was faced with the paradox of almost burning the chicken while undercooking it. Maybe next time I’ll actually use my digital thermometer.
Another thing. If you look at the recipe it calls for 6oz. of butter for 6 chicken breasts. That’s a stick and a half of butter, folks. I used about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and 1 Tablespoon of butter in each pan, and that even seemed like too much fat. If chef Symon continues cooking like this he’ll be rivaling Mario’s girth in about a year.