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Chicken on Greens: The In-Betweener

September 02, 1993|ABBY MANDEL

When summer begins to turn to fall, one of the first things that changes is the way I cook chicken. When it's hot, I grill. When the weather cools, I roast.

For those times in-between, I like to serve roasted chicken over greens--the way it is presented in many bistro-style restaurants.

In this recipe, the combination of fresh greens and a lively citrus sauce keep the dish lighter than it might otherwise be. Making a sauce from skimmed pan juices requires a few minutes just before serving, but it's extremely easy to do. And using it on both the greens and the chicken brings their contrasting flavors into focus.

As a nod to summer, stuffed tomatoes with orzo, olives and basil provide just the right flavor accent to the chicken without dominating it. The warm plum upside-down cake is the perfect late summer dessert.


\o7 It's important to take time to remove all the fat from the pan juices, either by using a plastic fat-skimming cup or a spoon, once the fat has risen to the top in a small dish. The garlic is pureed in the defatted juices; then the sauce is reheated quickly with the fennel and tossed with the greens and spooned over the chicken.

CITRUS-ROASTED CHICKEN AND GARLIC 2 (2 3/4-pound) chickens, split, rinsed, patted dry Salt Freshly ground pepper 12 large garlic cloves, split 1 (6-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 small trimmed fennel bulb, cut into small dice

5 cups mixed greens, including bitter greens such as arugula, frisee and watercress, rinsed, crisped and chilled

Season entire surface of chicken to taste with salt and pepper. Place chicken skin-side-up in single layer in large shallow roasting pan lined with foil. Scatter garlic in pan. Roast chicken at 350 degrees 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine orange juice concentrate, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar and cayenne pepper in small mixing bowl. Pour mixture into roasting pan. Baste chicken often with pan juices until chicken is well browned and cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes longer.

Transfer chicken to heated platter. Tent chicken with foil. Transfer pan juices along with garlic to fat-skimming cup or small dish. Remove all fat.

Puree garlic in defatted juices in blender or food processor. Heat mixture in small pan, adding little water if too thick. Add fennel. Just bring to boil. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place chilled greens in large bowl. Toss with heated sauce and fennel, reserving few tablespoons of sauce to spoon over chicken.

To serve, divide greens among 4 serving plates. Place chicken on each. Spoon reserved sauce over chicken. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about: 778 calories; 529 mg sodium; 239 mg cholesterol; 48 grams fat; 21 grams carbohydrates; 62 grams protein; 0.26 grams fiber.


These stuffed tomatoes are cooked until hot but not mushy. Be sure to use firm tomatoes that are all about the same size. The tops of the tomatoes are put in place after the baking and garnished with a fresh basil leaf. Cooked rice or other small pasta shapes can be substituted for the orzo.

STUFFED PROVENCALE TOMATOES WITH ORZO, OLIVES AND BASIL 4 ripe firm medium tomatoes 4 teaspoons olive oil 2/3 cup diced red onion 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 3/4 cup orzo, cooked according to instructions on package to make 1 1/2 cups cooked orzo 6 Kalamata olives, flesh finely chopped 2 tablespoons finely julienned basil leaves 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt Freshly ground pepper 4 basil leaves

Cut thin slice off top of each tomato. Reserve slices. Use grapefruit spoon to carefully loosen flesh and scoop out flesh and seeds, leaving shell. Try not to pierce shell.

Place flesh in strainer. Drain well and chop coarsely in food processor or with knife.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot, add onion. Cook until quickly seared, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add chopped tomato, vinegar, orzo, olives, julienned basil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Spoon orzo mixture into prepared tomato shells to mound generously. Gently compact with hands. Place in shallow baking dish just large enough to hold all tomatoes. Drizzle remaining 2 teaspoons oil over orzo mixture. Cap top of each tomato with foil, covering orzo. Can be made day ahead and refrigerated. Let come to room temperature before baking.

Bake at 375 degrees until very hot but not mushy, 22 to 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature. Replace reserved top slices and garnish each with basil leaf. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about: 177 calories; 124 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 28 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 1.48 grams fiber.


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