This recipe sounded so good in theory.
(And in the picture in my Good Housekeeping magazine certainly added to my excitement.)
Even better, was the fact that it was a healthy meal (something I need to work a tad harder at contributing around here).
(Though no one’s complaining too hard about the overabundance of bread and cookies lately.)
Now, I’m not saying I’m the best cook in the world, but I’m starting to be able to recognize a recipe that seems a little off; one that’s missing information or isn’t written as clearly as I need it to be. So, as I worked through making this meal, I already had some questions of how it would turn out.
So I called on my trusty advisor (at least this week), Hubs, to help me interpret the instructions.
Chicken with Orange Relish, adapted from Good Housekeeping, December 2011
4 boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
3/4 t grated, peeled fresh ginger
1 t ground ginger
1 large orange, peeled, de-pithed, and cut into segments
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 green onions, sliced
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 425, spray cookie sheet (lined with foil) with non-stick spray. Rub chicken with 1/2 t grated ginger and 1 t ground ginger. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Arrange on cookie sheet and roast for 10 to 12 minutes until no longer pink in center.
(You want to have all produce prepared before you put in the chicken and work on the relish.) Place half of orange segments in saucepan and squeeze for juice. Add remaining ingredients (except cilantro and extra oranges) and salt to taste. Heat to boiling on high and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook 7 minutes or until celery is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and reserved orange segments.
Serve chicken and relish over couscous.
I’m just going to come right out and say it: the relish was bitter, the onions were droopy, and the overall flavor just seemed off. I was unpleasantly surprised by this turn of events, as it looked gorgeous while simmering away.
(By the way, I simplified and clarified the directions above for you all. Not that I expect you to make it after reading this.)
I’m not sure what went wrong. Maybe it was that my celery was bad (though it looked fine), or my replacement of apple cider vinegar for the originally called for red wine vinegar, or that too much pith got in my saucepan. Something, though, caused the relish to turn out un-tasty (my new word for the day).
The chicken and couscous, though, turned out really well. (I’d never cooked couscous before this meal. I just followed the directions on the package.)
So, after I took the picture below and took a bite, I scraped off the relish and enjoyed the rest of the meal.
As we were sitting at the table, Hubs and I were talking about the real potential of this meal – about how a few tweaks could really make it great. Hubs even went so far as to say that he could pretty much use the same ingredients and make it fantastic.
And I thought, what a great idea. Challenge Accepted.
So, next week, we will be re-making this dish in the first ever “Hubs Re-Do Challenge.” I will be assisting with ideas and as his sous chef.
I will share the results next week.
(Cross your fingers we don’t kill each other.)
But really, I am looking forward to this.