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There is something about the shortening of the days, the baring of the trees, the frost which whitens the ground on most mornings…which makes me want to hibernate in my kitchen, cooking up warm and comforting foods.
Recently I purchased In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark which is not just a cookbook, but a meditation about food and the stories that accompany the foods we remember and love the most. The book has been sitting on my counter and this week I finally delved into it. I was looking for a different way to cook the boneless, skinless chicken breast I had taken out of the freezer and I found a recipe in Clark’s book which caught my attention.
Clark reminisces about Thanksgivings past with her uncle Danny – a man who loved the dark meat of the turkey the best:
Every Thanksgiving when I was a kid, my uncle Danny used to say, “I like my turkeys built like Jane Fonda, with small tits and a big ass.” – from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, page 145 –
The point of the story was that Clark also prefers the moist and juicy dark meat over the dry breast meat, and so her cookbook has only one recipe for chicken breasts…a recipe that she envisioned made with honey and spices and sweet potatoes – something moist and flavorful. Her recipe for Spiced Chipotle Honey Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potatoes (page 147) looked delicious…but I had a little bit of a problem. I did not have Chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce or sweet potatoes, and I am allergic to Cumin. Undeterred, I decided to go forth with the recipe with some substitutions. Instead of Chipotle chiles, I diced up some red peppers, and instead of sweet potatoes, I used Russet potatoes. I left out the cumin.
The recipe calls for roasting the potatoes for 15 minutes before topping them with the chicken breasts which have been rubbed with honey, cinnamon, cider vinegar, the peppers, and kosher salt and roasting the dish in a 400 degree oven for an additional 25-30 minutes. The smell of cooking chicken with the rich tang of cinnamon had my mouth watering. The result was scrumptious. I do think that it would have been even better with sweet potatoes, but I did not miss the Chipotle chilies at all.
I also baked some butternut squash as a side…and decided the perfect dessert was apple pie hot from the oven.
I am eager to continue exploring Clark’s homey cookbook…I’ll keep you posted!
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