Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In Which I Nearly Burn Down the House...

It wasn't a particularly great day yesterday, but I was really trying to turn things around.  I had made it through a phone call I was dreading and figured I could at least get dinner out of the way.  The chicken was cooked, the buns were ready to toast, the dishes were washed, the glaze was made and the red onions were caramelized.  I just needed to take Dexter for a walk before Ryan got home.  I turned off the heat under the onions and out we went.  It was a nice evening, so we made it a leisurely stroll and even ran into Ryan on the way back in.  As we got closer to the building, I could hear an alarm.  I assumed it was the neighbors burglar alarm at first, but as we walked up the stairs, I broke into a run.  When I threw open the door of our apartment, I knew.  The air was dark and cloudy with smoke.  The alarms shrieked.  On the stove, bits of charred onion smoked heavily in the bottom of a pan whose handle was on fire.

Unlike the gas stoves I've always cooked on, electric stoves have knobs that can be turned either way.  So in flicking it off, I must have over flicked and ended up on temperature 9, maximum heat.  I blew on the handle which sort of shockingly stopped the fire and then rushed the pan outside.  Ryan threw open the windows.  Dexter barked desperately thinking we were idiots for staying anywhere that was bleeping so loudly.  When the smoke cleared out enough the alarms finally stopped, the dog quieted down and I started making another batch of (highly supervised) onions.

The sandwich was delicious.  The apartment still smells of smoke.  I still feel like an idiot.  I blame the stove.

I give you the recipe in good faith that you will watch your onions, but also that you will share with me, in the comments, any tips you may have about un-smoke-smelling my apartment.  Please.

adapted from Cooking Light
Warning:  This recipe requires multi-tasking.  If you cannot multi-task, you should adapt the recipe so that you will not set anything on fire.

for two sandwiches

1 boneless skinless chicken breast
2 rolls (I used buns because it's what I had, but you might like a real roll)
1/2 a small red onion
goat cheese
lettuce (you can use anything, fancy mixed greens, spicy arugula.  I used half  of a large romaine leaf)
tomato (a thin slice for each sandwich)
olive oil
salt and pepper

for the glaze:
1/4 C + 1/8 C balsamic vinegar
1 t worcestershire sauce
2 T brown sugar

You need two pans and a pot.  A small pot for the glaze, a small pan for the onions and a large pan for the chicken.  Set them all on the stove.  In the small pot, combine the balsamic, worcestershire and brown sugar.  Turn this on medium low and stir periodically (you may want to whisk it a bit to make sure the sugar all incorporates properly).  You want the glaze thick enough that it will coat a spoon (or you know, your chicken breasts) and not just pour all over your plate.  Slice your red onion nice and thin.  Add a bit of olive oil to the small pan.  Again, your heat should be medium low to low.  Put the onion in the pan and add a small sprinkle of salt.  You'll want to watch your onions.  You want them to cook to caramelized, so while you want them to cook down, you are not looking for crispy.  Any sizzling noises are to be carefully monitored.  This will take the longest time, between 15-20 minutes.  Then prepare your chicken breast (you only need 1 breast for 2 sandwiches).  Trim the breast of any fat or icky bits and salt and pepper both sides.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the large pan and turn the heat to high.  You want the oil to sizzle a bit if you add a drop of water.  Once the pan is hot, add the chicken.  It will take about 4 minutes a side, a bit less for thin breasts, a bit more for super fat ones.  Because you'll be slicing the chicken eventually this is a great recipe for beginners. You can cut into the breast to check for doneness, a nice slice through the fattest part.  Chicken should be white and sort of opaque, not pink.  You still want it too be moist.  When your chicken is done, you can cover it with foil and let it rest while you finish up anything you may not have timed correctly.  When you are ready to serve, slice the chicken breast on an angle.  Assemble your sandwiches.  I toasted the buns, and smeared goat cheese liberally on the top bun.  Then on the bottom I placed my lettuce leaf, then my tomato.  Then on top of the tomato I layered the chicken, drizzled the glaze on top and added the caramelized onions.


Anonymous said...

You know, not once in our conversation today did this come up. Nor in our emails last night. Harumph. I'd say put a pot of baking soda and water on the stove on LOW. or use white vinegar?

mom said...

Do NOT burn down the house. Very bad form. Frowned upon.


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