Monday, December 03, 2007


I’ve been feeling lately like my whole life is in upheaval mode, with the move and the constant commuting and trying to fit in the gym five or six days a week, there really isn’t much time for me. Also, I’ve been struggling with the feeling of being isolated. I forget that when there is no traffic we’re only a 40 minute drive away from our friends, because I sit in traffic everyday coming home and it just feels SO FAR AWAY. I also HATE winter. HATE HATE HATE. I hate the cold, I hate that it’s barely light when I leave for work and twilight (if I’m lucky) by the time I get home. Seasonal depression makes a TON of sense to me.

So in the interest of maintaining my sanity and having something to focus on other than the dark and cold and far away-ness from my friends I’ve been trying to get back into cooking. Most of you know that I used to cook, A LOT. I sort of lost interest in my tee-tiny apartment kitchen and gradually stopped trying new things and experimenting, relying instead on the same few recipes that I knew TheBoy loved. Occasionally I would cook something fancy, when we had company or it was a special occasion, but truly it’s been forever since I actually cooked for the simple joy of cooking.

But the other night I made THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER.


Grilled Chicken with Creamy Grits and Shiitake Mushroom Sauce
For chicken

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 small fryer chicken (about 3 pounds), quartered

For sauce
1 cup beef stock or canned beef broth
1 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine

3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, cut into matchstick-size strips (about 3/4 cup)
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced (about 3 cups)
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh sage leaves

For grits
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup quick-cooking grits

Make chicken:
Mix oil, garlic and rosemary in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to oil mixture; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate chicken at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Make sauce:
Boil both stocks and wine in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Cook pancetta in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp and golden, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to bowl. Add mushrooms to same skillet and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Add stock mixture and cream to skillet and simmer until reduced to sauce consistency, about 5 minutes. Mix in pancetta and sage. Season to taste with pepper.

Meanwhile, prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Remove chicken from marinade. Grill until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Make grits:
Bring stock, cream and butter to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until grits are creamy and tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon grits onto plates. Place chicken atop grits. Spoon sauce over; serve.


The only changes I made were that I didn’t grill the chicken (we’re out of propane) and I didn’t use a whole chicken. I substituted bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (since I had them in the freezer) and I roasted them in the oven at 425 for about 20 minutes and then broiled them for a few minutes to get the pretty color. Also, I wouldn’t waste your money on shiitakes since the sauce is fairly overwhelming with the pancetta and broth reduction and cream. If you really like the flavor of shiitakes make something else, I’m just saying. I used a combo if white and cremini mushrooms. Much cheaper, still tasty.

Other than those changes I followed this recipe to a t (which I NEVER do but it got such good reviews I thought I wouldn’t mess with it). Y’all. Those grits are like the best I have ever had! I now have a new stand-by recipe. SO GOOD. And the sauce was so rich and creamy. Mmm… Not waist band friendly by any means but sometimes a girl just needs a full fat meal. And a half box of lactaid. :D