Six O’Clock Solution: Citrus chicken and Brussels sprouts is topped with bacon

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Ways to vary chicken parts are popular and this dish includes a vegetable that is usually available all winter — the Brussels sprout.

If you find sprouts bitter, cut each in half and cook in boiling water just until tender, then drain and proceed with recipe. Or cut a cross in the end of each sprout, brown briefly in butter, then proceed. Another option is to sprinkle the sprouts with soy sauce or mirin, garlic or ginger before cooking. 

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Hearty Cast-Iron and Skillet Cooking by U.S. cookbook writer Anne Schaeffer (Fox Chapel/Firefly Books, $22.99) is information-packed. Breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes are included, as are easy-cleaning directions for your pan. It’s reassuring to be told you don’t need a fancy non-stick pan, just the old faithful cast-iron.

Outdoor cooks will appreciate the pages of directions about fire-building and cooking. How to cook either on the stove or “over the fire” is included with almost all the 101 recipes. It’s an economical book that covers its subject well. 

Citrus chicken and sprouts

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon (15 mL) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon (5 mL) minced garlic

1-1/2 teaspoons (7 mL) Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon (1 mL) onion powder

2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon, the lemon sliced thinly

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 to 3 cups (500 to 750 mL) Brussels sprouts, halved (1/2 to 3/4 pound/250 to 375 g)

6 strips lean bacon, cooked, crumbled

Combine in a large bowl the parsley, garlic, mustard, onion powder, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Coat chicken in mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight covered in the refrigerator.

Stove version: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C).

Lightly oil a large (12-inch/30 cm) heavy frying pan and arrange chicken in it. Arrange Brussels sprouts around chicken. Spread with lemon slices.

Bake chicken uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees F/74 C. If desired, brown chicken further by placing pan under a hot broiler for a few minutes.

Top with crumbled bacon and serve hot. 

Hot coals version: Proceed as above, then cover pan and set in hot coals to bake for 35 to 40 minutes until chicken is cooked as above. Rotate pan occasionally and replenish coals as needed. 

Top with bacon and serve.

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