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.




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.


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