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Mystery Box Challenge #2

Tuesday marked the second legendary Mystery Box Challenge dinner for Bryan and I.  This time I went with him to the store, he told me the ingredient to be used there, and then the store aided as my “pantry”.  Now, I was in a particularly indecisive mood so I was hoping that he would pick something that would at least give me a little direction in where I wanted to go with this meal.  What does he pick?  CHICKEN!!  Of all things, you could do the most with chicken.  I pleaded with him to at least give me a spice or cuisine he wanted me to go with it towards but he did no such thing.

From the store I racked my brain.  There were so many things that I could do with chicken I really didn’t know what it was I was going to do.  I know he likes Italian and for some reason I thought I would do chicken piccata.  I wanted to make it fancy but I really couldn’t come up with anything to make it fancy, it is a simple dish.  So I kept it fairly simple, light, and fresh for a hot summer evening.  From the store I grabbed capers, lemons, chicken stock, garlic, baby potatoes, and broccoli to go with the chicken.

Once home I immediately set a pot of water to boil the potatoes.  I also preheated the oven to 450 degrees, knowing that these would be my two biggest time crunches…and I was right.  I got the potatoes parboiling, cut the broccoli crowns and tossed them simply with salt and lemon pepper to pair with the piccata.  I took the potatoes out once they had cooked about 80% through, drained them, patted them dry, and then semi-mashed them but keeping them intact, tossed them liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper, and finally with fresh rosemary from the garden.  I put them and the potatoes in the very hot oven to give them a good crisp.

For the piccata it was actually quite simple.  I first pounded them thin, seasoned them with salt and pepper and then dredged them lightly in flour.  I seared them on both sides for about 4 minutes in a pan and then removed them to a plate.  I deglazed the pan with dry white wine and then added chopped garlic, chicken stock, capers and lemon juice.  I allowed that to reduce a bit and then added the chicken back to the pan to cook about 2 minutes on each side.  I removed them to the dinner plates, added the broccoli and potatoes to the plate and a sprig of fresh rosemary and a sliced lemon for plating.  I then finished the sauce with a smidge of butter and then poured that over the chicken.

MB2

MB2a

MB2b

We ate outside where it was perfect out and the dinner came out quite well.  The chicken was fantastic, I thought it was perfectly cooked and seasoned with just the right amount of lemon.  The broccoli was how I like it, slightly charred on the florets but with still a bit of crunch.  The only thing I need to work on is the potatoes.  And with that it was all about time.  Even though I had them boiling for at least 20 minutes they were large enough that they could have used more time.  I had a little difficult time “mashing” them as thin as I would have liked and they could have used even more olive oil and salt and more time in the oven to get that fantastic crunch that I have had at some of the restaurants here in Seattle.  All in all I was very pleased with the outcome of my second Mystery Box Challenge, and Bryan was too.

Chelsea

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