I’m not a chef, I’ve never been trained properly to use a knife, or cook salmon to a perfect medium rare. I have learned plenty in my time through watching my mom in the kitchen for years and peppering her with questions still about different recipes. I have learned as a line cook at Scotty’s Brewhouse during college and briefly afterwards. I watch more Food Network and Cooking Channel than I care to admit. Now, at Etno, I get to watch an incredibly talented chef who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and even though we are primarily a burger joint, there is an incredible amount of creativity, prep, flat out cooking that goes on in our tiny little kitchen with a grill and a flattop, no oven or burners. I love the shifts when I can cook and not just expedite.
So, why is all this relevant, because I have taken on my newest student in the kitchen. For the first dish, I wanted to use my favorite component in the kitchen, the oven. Get the food ready, put it in, no worries. As for the entree, chicken was the request because it is so commonly used and so easy to mess up while cooking. I am a big fan of Ina Garten, I record her show Barefoot Contessa and use her cookbook Barefoot in Paris all the time, so I turned to her for guidance. I found a beautiful dish, vegetable tian, that looked simple and naturally flavorful. Tian apparently is French for the type of baking dish that is used for this and also can be used as a term for this dish of thinly sliced vegetables. For the chicken, I turned to my mom because chicken is her specialty in our household.
The vegetable tian was fresh, easy, and a sight to behold, check out this link for an even better picture from a professional. The chicken was moist, the onions set it off. Since this first lesson, we’ve cooked chicken tortilla soup, shepherd’s pie with garlic mashers and lamb, stuffed peppers and spinach spanakopita, and lemon granita, hopefully will be posting more soon!
The result: vegetable tian and garlic lime chicken
- For the tian (important note: pick pots, toms, and zucc that are roughly the same diameter so slices fit well
- Olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 lb yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled
- 3/4 lb zucchini
- 1 lb medium toms
- freshly ground salt and pepper
- fresh thyme, leaves picked off and a few extra sprigs
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- For the chicken
- thigh or breasts, whatever you prefer
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Preheat oven to 375. Slice the onions and heat 2 olive oil and cook onion over medium low heat or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Place the cooked onions on the bottom of a baking dish brushed with olive oil. Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4 inch slices. Layer the slices alternatively on top of the onions, keeping a tight fit with only one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with olive oil. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes or until potatoes are tender with a fork. Uncover the dish, remove the whole sprigs of thyme, and sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for another 30 minutes.
While the veggies are baking with the cheese on top, begin cooking the onions/chicken for your entree. Mix dry ingredients and rub into chicken. Heat olive oil and cook onions until translucent. Add the butter and the chicken and garlic. On a medium low heat, saute the chicken until golden brown on both sides, the lower the heat, the better to keep moist. You can create a nice sear on the outside by weighting down the chicken, too. When seared, remove the chicken and cover with foil. On low heat, mix the lime juice and broth in the pan, whisking off the super flavorful bits stuck the the pan, slightly reduce the mixture, then add the chicken and until thoroughly coated. Serve and marvel at how easy this is.