Sunday, May 14, 2017

Roast Chicken in Poblano Cream

Dear friends come to visit from Pune, India. Dinner has to be special as Reena, Bona and Damini warrant those bells and whistles. I'm told they like soup. Done. Something non-Indian is preferred. Done. The chicken I've made last week should be appreciated. Pan- roasted thighs are finished in the oven, with sprigs of thyme. Charred poblano chiles are blended with cream, which is poured over the roasted chicken. Something so simple just tastes heavenly.  

These friends are stalwarts, the kind you want in your corner when the going gets tough. They deserve my best effort. We make celery soup with Gorgonzola. Grilled asparagus, Brussels sprouts and scallions are wok fried with garlic and snap peas. Steamed potatoes with garlic oil ooze flavor. Sides are done!

Chicken thighs are preferable, as they roast quickly. Boneless and skinless, they turn golden brown in a cast iron skillet. The skillet then goes into a very hot oven to roast uncovered for a short spell. Browning continues in the oven, along with some aromatic lemon thyme sprigs. Poblano peppers give the sauce a sharpness. Charring them over an open flame or on a grill adds a smoky quality to the sauce. Puree the charred poblano with cream. The resulting color and texture is delightful to the eye and palate. 

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless Chicken Thighs
3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper 
2 tablespoons Olive Oil 
4-5 Thyme sprigs
2 Poblano Peppers 
3/4 cup Cream
A pinch of Kosher Salt 
Cilantro for garnishing

Trim visible fat off thighs. Cut each thigh in half. Wash and pat dry. 

Season thighs with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan. If your saucepan is not oven proof, use a saucepan and follow the instructions below.

Saute chicken a few pieces at a time.  Let pieces saute till golden brown on one side. It takes 5-8 minutes. Turn chicken over and brown the other side as well. 

Do not crowd the pan. Saute chicken in two batches.

Return chicken to pan and add thyme sprigs to pan as well. Or if your saucepan is not oven proof, place chicken and thyme in a foil lined oven proof dish. 

Roast chicken uncovered for 15 minutes.

Char poblano peppers over a high flame or on a grill, blistering all sides.  Peel off as much outer skin as possible. Remove seeds and discard. Chop peppers roughly.

Puree peppers and cream in a food processor or use an immersion blender. I prefer these two devices versus a blender. They allows you to control the texture and color of the sauce, leaving bits of pepper visible and  adding to the visual appeal.

Take chicken out of the oven. 

Pour poblano sauce over chicken. If you pour the sauce into the oven proof dish, return dish to oven for another 10 minutes.

Place cast iron pan over a medium flame and cook the chicken for 5 minutes till sauce is bubbling.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

 A simple strawberry cream cheese tart appeases our sweet tooth. Wine flows. Old Monk rum is a welcome drink. An evening of laughs and lengthy stories makes us long for Prassy's company.