17 July 2011

How to Make Honey-Glazed Chicken Tarragon à la Cast

As I mentioned last week, trying to cook primarily one-handed has been challenging.  Just last night I made one of my family's favorite meals--Honey-Glazed Tarragon Chicken--for dinner and, while I was preparing it, I considered that perhaps some of my foodie friends might enjoy trying out the recipe.  Join me, won't you, as I teach you how to prepare Honey-Glazed Chicken Tarragon à la Cast.  So put on your best Julia Child voice (this is absolutely mandatory), grab a healthy swig of your favorite cooking sherry, and let's get started.

"I LOVE a good cooking sherry!"

First you will need to thaw approximately 5-6 breasts of chicken.  I prefer to use individually-wrapped chicken breasts from Schwan's Home Delivery Service because they have less fat, because I can use as many or as few as I wish at one time without worrying about spoilage, and because frozen chicken is salmonella-free chicken.  Plus I'm just really lazy and they will bring the chicken straight to my door.

Plastic vacuum-packed bags add extra flavoring.

Because you no longer have use of both hands, when the chicken is thawed you will need to tear open each individual bag using one hand and your teeth.  This will make it easier to avoid absorbing chicken juice into the padding of your cast for those "extra special odors" in a few hours.  Be sure to keep saying to yourself "Yum--plastic and chicken juice" as you open each bag so that you will be able to force yourself to continue.  Feel free to spit out any bits of plastic that shear off the bag before you succeed in opening it.  Alternatively, you can swirl said pieces around in your mouth for additional flossing and teeth cleaning purposes.  Just remember not to swallow!  

Next, place the chicken on your cutting board, like so:

And now your cutting board is double-breasted.

Once that is done, it's time to apply the culinary condom:

"We all slide our yellow in a bag, our yellow in a bag, our yellow in a bag..."

When you have sufficiently protected yourself from STDs (Salmonella-Transferred Diseases), pick up a sharp knife and begin cutting your chicken into cubes until all chicken has been cut.  To do this, hold one breast down gently with your Ziploc-encased hand and proceed to slice into the chicken with your free hand like so:

"Chicken Slice-n-Dice--and I helped!"

Feel free to miss several times and slice little nicks and slashes into your bag because your chicken is wiggly and not sufficiently secured by a plasticized fingers; besides, the cuts will provide ventilation inside the bag.  Try to avoid nicking any fingernails--they don't marinate in the glaze well and provide a little too much texture.

When you have finished dicing the raw chicken, scoop up the pieces using your Pampered Chef scraper because you still have only one functioning hand and you don't want it slimey; also, you haven't used the scraper in months and you want to get your money's worth out of it, never mind the potential for under-the-table kickbacks from your flagrant product placement.  

Spread the pieces evenly across the top tray of your Tupperware Paleozoic (era) Pink Micro Steamer™, like so:

The Pampered Chef is fooling around with his Tupper Ware.

Next, to prepare the honey glaze, hack a stick of butter in half.  Using the end of your knife, skewer the butter barbarian-style, pick it up, then deposit it in a small bowl.

I wasn't kidding about the knife--you can see the stab wound.

Stick the butter into the microwave for 10-20 seconds.  Don't forget to cover it with a piece of Cling Wrap or your rinsed-off culinary condom, unless you'd really enjoy spending the next half hour cleaning exploded butter stalactites off the ceiling of your microwave.  Next, add to the melted butter 1 teaspoon of tarragon, 1¼ teaspoons of paprika, ½ teaspoon each of salt and dry mustard, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of honey.  Mix well.

Kitchen Chemistry

After mixing the sauce, put approximately 2 cups of minute rice in the bottom of the steamer, with the same amount of water, like so:  

Nummy, nummy rice soup

Put the steamer tray with the chicken back over the rice and water, then force your significant other or whoever is handy (literally) to pour the glaze mixture over the chicken.  Spread it out well, but not too well, or it will drain too fast into the water and rice.

My chicken has been ginger doodled.

Once that is finished, put the steamer in the microwave, cooking for 6-7 minutes on high.

"I sing the body irradiated..."

During those 6-7 minutes, feel free to do laundry, clean up the sink, pick your nose, empty the dishwasher, use the bathroom (not necessarily in that order) or whatever.  But don't forget to wash your hand(s) after!  When the microwave beeps, stir the chicken around, flipping over any uncooked sides, and bake for an additional 3-4 minutes or so.   

When finished this time, force your partner/spouse/friend/child slave labor/imaginary friend to come and help you lift out the steamer tray so that you can scrape the chicken and any leftover sauce into the lower tray with the cooked rice.  Mix well.  Scoop onto a plate with whatever utensil is handy and enjoy!

Honey-Paprika-y-Tarragony Goodness

For those of you unfortunate enough not to possess a Tupperware Paleozoic (era) Pink Micro-Steamer™, this recipe can technically be created without one.  You can brown the cubed chicken in a skillet with a little butter, then add in the sauce and mix together with the chicken, cooking till the chicken is done.  Cook the rice in a separate pan either in the microwave or on the stove; when finished cooking, fold in the chicken and sauce mixture.  Alternatively, you can bake whole chicken breasts in a roasting pan, basting them with the sauce, and serve over cooked rice.  Personally, I prefer the steamer, because the steaming process causes the honey glaze sauce to mix in with the rice for additional flavor, which then recycles back into the chicken while it cooks.

Seriously--how can you not want some of this right now?

Likewise, for those of you without the benefit of an arm cast, feel free to adapt the recipe preparation accordingly, though no doubt it will be infinitely more dull without the piratic butter stabbings or the various plastics involved.  Your loss, I guess.  

Meanwhile, I am still waiting for the Ziploc, Pampered Chef and Tupperware companies to recognize my blatant product advertisements; I will expect appropriate remuneration immediately.  

As Julia Child would say (you are still reading this in your Julia voice, right?), "Bon Appétit!"

This is probably closer to how MY Julia Child experience would look.

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