Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cilantro Chicken with Italian Sausage and Black Olives

I enjoy making skillet dinner recipes because they are so quick and easy to make. I found this recipe on and thought it needed dressing up. Here are the basic steps to give you an overview.

Season the chicken. Seasoning the chicken breasts with salt and pepper was boring so I decided that since I had cilantro, lime juice, and fish sauce on hand that I'd use it to spice up this chicken. I cut the breasts into thirds for faster cooking but you can cook the breasts whole.

Chicken cilantro marinade

3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, whole or cut into thirds 
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil, for browning

Cook the sausages. I bought these spicy Italian sausages at Whole Foods that didn't have any nitrates in them. I browned them in a teaspoon of olive oil then cooked them in wine and chicken broth until the liquid was reduced. The sausages don't need to be thoroughly cooked as they will undergo more cooking later. Remove sausages from the pan and cut into 1 inch pieces. Set aside for later.

Italian sausages
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine

Brown the chicken. After removing the sausages, add a tablespoon olive oil to the same pan and sear the chicken breasts on both sides. They don't need to cook through since they will undergo more cooking later. Remove the chicken from the pan and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.
Make the vegetable sauce. Using the fond or the browned bits left in the pan from cooking the sausage and searing the chicken, makes a flavorful sauce. First, cook the vegetables that will take time: onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms. Once the peppers and onions wilt, add the chicken and sausage, the chopped tarragon and oregano, and the black olives.  It looks like the sauce will not be enough, but the vegetables, chicken, and sausage "spring their own water,"  as we say in Jamaica. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, if the chicken breasts have been cut up into thirds, and 10-15 minutes for whole. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with hot cooked rice. Cooking with fresh herbs is amazing!

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, cut into strips
1 sweet yellow pepper, cut into strips
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced thickly
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, leaves only, chopped
1/2 cup chopped black olives
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro chicken with Italian sausage and black olives

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