Monday, February 23, 2009

Flowered Fowl

This month's Royal Foodie Joust ingredients were quite the challenge. I've never seen such a selection -- three items that, in my humble culinary experience, are on the rare side. To have one of these ingredients in the mix would make things difficult, but with all three in the mix . . . well, it was certainly a great opportunity to flex my cooking muscles and try something new and very, very different!

What were this month's ingredients? Satsuma (or any orange citrus -- I used plain orange peel and mandarin orange slices), shallots, and -- drum roll please! -- edible flowers. Did I mention that this round of the Joust was a challenge? I'm glad, though, because I did learn a bunch. Take the shallots, for example. For some reason, I thought that shallots were a variety of mushroom. Imagine my frustration when I could not find shallot mushrooms among the chanterelles, buttons, and portobellos! Now I know that a shallot is something of a cross between garlic and onions.

I'm sure that you're wondering what I made with these ingredients. I wondered the same thing myself for quite some time! I toyed with ideas of making butternut squash soup, some sort of bulgur pilaf, or a flowery herbed bread. In the end, though, I opted for something classic and simple in preparation but sophiticated in terms of flavor. Using dried hibiscus flowers, I cooked a chicken breast in my slow cooker, adding orange peel, honey, rosemary, and red wine vinegar. The hibiscus steeped in a thin layer of chicken broth mixed with the vinegar, and the result a moist piece of meat that carried a graceful, delicate taste. As an added bonus, the hibiscus dyed the meat in lovely rose-colored patterns. Served over mandarin oranges and blackberries, this dish made for a unique meeting of the sweet and savory. I would definitely make this meal again, and really enjoyed how this Joust stretched and challenged the chef in me.

Flower Power Chicken

1 chicken breast (I used frozen)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 T shallot, diced
1 tsp dried hibiscus flowers
1/2 tsp dried orange peel/zest
1/4 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
drizzle of honey

1 cup mandarin oranges
1 cup blackberries

Place all ingredients except for the chicken in the basin of a slow cooker. Mix, then place the chicken in the basin. Turn the breast a few times to coat it with the marinade. Sprinkle some extra rosemary and hibiscus over the chicken. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove the chicken to a plate and pour the remaining sauce over the top. Serve over mandarin oranges and blackberries (your choice of fresh, frozen, or canned). This recipe is great paired with a side of bulgur pilaf, pita chips, or your favorite crusty bread.

Serves 2.

1 comment:

  1. JennDZ - The LeftoveFebruary 26, 2009 at 1:30 PM

    Awesome entry Betherann! And thanks for being the first! :)


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