So when you’re legitimately uncomfortable walking around outside, in the middle of the day, without a light jacket or sweatshirt, it’s time to give it up: fall is here.
A few days ago I stopped by Holbrook Farm in CT (I know we keep mentioning them; don’t worry, we’ll pass on a bit more info soon) and was lucky enough to grab a bag of their first Brussels sprouts of the season. Though the first frost hadn’t hit yet (which always makes the sprouts sweeter) I was craving them. I knew I’d sear them with cranberries, as I learned from John Holzwarth at The Dressing Room, but not quite sure if that would be all, or what I’d end up pairing them with.
I met Rachel at the subway after work and we went to pick up a few things for the week. We decided on chicken and picked up a pack of thighs. It’s been decreed in our apartmenthold that chicken breasts are far less superior to their darker, more flavorful quadriceps. And the skin is always on.
With the chicken, sprouts, dried cranberries, and half a butternut squash we had in the fridge from a root-vegetablefest last week, we had ourselves a simple, and delicious, ovenless meal.
Y’Need: A couple good handfuls of fresh Brussells Sprouts (stem cut off, outer leaves peeled, and split in 1/2); 4 chicken thighs (you can certainly use breasts, or even duck legs); 1/2 butternut squash (seeded, sliced into thin pieces); handful dried cranberries; butter; olive oil, salt+pepper
Time: 15min? Maybe? Serves: 2, maybe 3
Toasting the seeds (optional): Remove the seeds from the squash. Heat some butter and a little olive oil to coat the pan until the butter just begins to brown. Toast the seeds in the butter, shaking, stirring, and generally moving them around to heat evenly. The butter should foam a little so that the seeds are heated from above and below. Add more butter as necessary, season liberally with salt and pepper. When golden-brown and crisp, remove from pan and dry on paper towel.
Chicken: I used the same pan for the chicken as the seeds, just adding a little veg. oil to coat it again. Sear the seasoned thighs skin-side down for a few minutes, covered, until they become opaque partway up the side. Flip and cover again, removing the lid when they’re nearly done to let the moisture evaporate. I flip them one more time and turn up the heat for a minute to get the skin nicely-colored and crispy. Probably eight or nine minutes overall.
Veg: After the chicken’s been going for a few minutes, get a wide-bottomed saute pan hot. Coat with oil and let it heat to shimmering. Just before it smokes, toss in your halved Brussels. Let them sear for a minute, then turn the heat down to medium. When you don’t have an oven, you don’t want to get the sear on too fast, because they’ll not be cooked through before they burn. After a minute, scatter your butternut squash on top (I would cut the squash more uniformly; however, I felt lazy). Check a couple sprouts to see if they’ve got nice color and, if so, give the pan a couple tosses to get the squash in contact with the heat. Another minute, add some dried cranberries, season with a good amount of salt and pepper (the sprouts soak it up), and melt a chunk of butter in. Flavor.
Put the buttery sprouts on the plate, lay the thighs on top, and sprinkle some toasted seeds over it all. Crack of pepper and you’re all set. If we had any, I would have seasoned the chicken with a bit of chili powder to add some fire to salty-sweetness of the dish, so feel free to try that out. The squash adds its own little spice, but I’m partial to some heat.
Note: The pan on the table serves no purpose other than to hold the juices from cooking the chicken, which are, it is a fact, destined for bread-dipping.