Tuesday, August 10, 2010

monday - indian chicken packet, steamed romano beans, and summer squash

Last night was my first attempt at cooking an entrée in my pressure cooker, with mixed results. I used a recipe from Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass, which is a great cookbook specifically for pressure cooking. I used her recipe for steaming chicken in an aluminum foil packet. Incidentally, foil packets are a great way to cook foods to keep them moist and tender--I often wrap fish and/or veggies in foil and steam them in the oven or on the grill. The cookbook has several marinade options and recommends cooking the packets for 9 minutes under pressure, or freezing the packets and cooking them (without thawing first) for 15 minutes under pressure. I used the Indian-inspired marinade which is a blend of plain yogurt, curry paste, and cumin seeds, and it was so simple yet really, really delicious. However, 9 minutes under pressure unfortunately yielded painfully overcooked chicken. I did halve the chicken breasts (so I could make a total of 4 packets and stash the extras in the freezer), so the packet was a bit smaller than she recommended and I didn't adjust the cooking time. I'll see how it goes with the frozen packet later this week; I may try cooking it for 11 or 12 minutes and then checking for doneness. Overall, I've really been enjoying the cookbook--she offers seemingly countless modifications to each recipe, so it is packed with different options.

I paired the chicken with steamed Romano beans and patty pan squash from the farmers' market. Romano beans are similar to green beans but they're broad and flat.

I steamed the beans and tossed them with rosemary- and garlic-infused oil. I drizzled the sliced squash with olive oil, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and broiled the slices until lightly browned (about 3 minutes per side). I then tossed the squash with fresh basil and goat cheese. Delicious.

Steamed Romano Beans with Garlic and Rosemary

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 pound Romano beans, trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small skillet, heat the oil, garlic, and rosemary until the garlic is fragrant and sizzling but not brown. Remove from heat and let sit for at least 20 minutes (do this step first, then prepare the rest of the meal).

Using a steamer basket over boiling water, steam beans until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer beans to a large bowl. Remove garlic and rosemary from oil. Finely chop garlic; discard rosemary. Drizzle beans with enough oil to coat (you may not use all of the oil), add chopped garlic, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

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