Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Height of Summer Chicken and Corn
The garden is so beautiful right now! The cherry tomato plants have taken over most of a 4 foot by 6 foot planter box, but there is a sky blue morning glory with flowers as big as saucers that has climbed up and through those tomatoes and up some more.
There is a smaller Early Girl plant that is starting to produce red, ripe tennis ball size tomatoes, too. I used both the cherry and Early Girl tomatoes in today's dish. The squash plants yield about one a week, which is fine since there has been no baking to speak of until today for about 5 weeks, and not much real cooking either. Sweetie grills the squash, just like using a campfire. Come to think of it, having no working kitchen is a bit like camping out, without the bugs. Fun for a while, but it was so nice to finally bake today!
A good friend has corn that has all ripened at once, so she gave us some a few days ago. The first eating was lightly steamed and right off the cob. Today I cut the kernels off the cobs and added them at the last minute to a chicken casserole which also has fresh tomatoes, white wine, onions and fresh basil. It's based on a recipe I've loved for years, Chicken Cacciatore. This is a fresher combination and really delicious.
It is also one to bookmark because you can make it up the night before, or even a few days before you eat it and then reheat it when you have had a busy, busy day. Sitting overnight or longer melds the flavors and it is even better than freshly made. Just be sure to add the corn 5 minutes before you serve the dish. It really only needs to warm up!
I served this with fresh from the garden steamed green beans, but it would be lovely with a salad and some nice bread, too. Bread baking coming soon, I promise.
Chicken with Corn, Onion, Tomato and Basil
1 chicken, cut up (I used 4 chicken breasts, each cut in half)
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 pound fresh tomatoes, washed, stem end removed, and cut up (I used about 14 oz. Early Girl and the rest cherry tomato...with the cherry tomatoes cut in quarters)
3 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced in thin slices or chopped
2 ears fresh corn, cut from the cob
salt & pepper to taste & olive oil for the bottom of the pan
Sprinkle chicken with salt. In a large, heavy ovenproof skillet, over medium heat, brown chicken in hot oil. (I use just enough oil to coat the pan bottom to keep the chicken from sticking. If you have a large, heavy ovenproof non-stick skillet, you don’t even need the oil.)
Add the onion; cook about 3 minutes, stirring, until the onion is crispy-tender. (If using chicken breasts, remove them to a bowl...which retains the juices...while you stir the onions, then place them over the mixture once the tomatoes have been added. Otherwise they may cook too long and become tough)
Remove pan from the heat. Stir in the tomatoes and pepper. Sprinkle with the basil.
Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F. oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until tender. 5 minutes before dish is cooked, add the corn, cover, and return to oven for 5 minutes. Serve at once.
If you will be reheating the dish, don't add the corn until you have reheated the dish. Keep the corn refrigerated until ready to use.
If you are reheating the dish, place it in a preheated oven, without the corn, and heat it until internal temperature registers 165 degrees F. Uncover, add the corn, cover and keep heating for 5 minutes. Serve at once.
It is OK to let the casserole stand in turned off oven up to 1 hour, but the corn will not be as sweet.