I don't cook a lot of meat, especially chicken. I don't even know the last time I made chicken. Okay. I remember. I made chicken fajitas. For me, cooking starts with a memory. A memory of something so good that I am trying to recreate it. To travel back in time to that same taste, that same pleasure. But it is illusive, trying to recreate feelings.
My parents took me to Molina, here in Mill Valley back in May. All the fam had come to visit and had staggered departures, my parents being the very last to leave, which meant one final dinner with them. Just them. They let me pick. Where I had been wanting to try. I didn't need to hesitate. Definitely Molina. Most definitely.
It was a cold night, which is typical for this area. I was starting to get sick (we all kind of did that week unfortunately) and all I want was something warm and cozy. To curl up and eat. So I got chicken. Let it be stated, that the only time I order chicken at restaurants is probably if I am getting Mexican or Chinese food. Seriously. Definitely blamed it on not feeling well.
But then here I was faced with a cast iron skillet filled with fragrant chicken. Honestly, I don't remember exactly what was paired with it other than apples. What hasn't left me is the craving for more. I actually went out and bought a cast iron skillet after that night just in case for the future. Who knew cast iron skillets could create such amazing food? I was prejudice, having grown up in the south. It just seemed like something destined for greasy bacon heavy food, of which did not ever hold an appeal. Plus, I can hear my mother saying they take maintenance. We were a low maintenance family.
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 sprigs sage
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 golden delicious apple, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups cooked white beans
- 1 bunch kale, chopped
- 1 Tbs red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cups water
- salt and pepper
Note: If you are cooking your own beans ahead of time, I recommend throwing in a couple cloves of garlic, a healthy dash of salt, a couple sprigs of thyme and sage, and a small bit of whole peppercorns, along with star anise. I added star anise from Morocco that I have never found here. It is super smoky and adds a depth of flavor to the beans that is fabulous.
For the chicken, begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high on the stove. Melt the butter and the oil together until melted and hot. Add the garlic for 1-2 minutes and allow to cook. Put in the herbs and cook for another couple of minutes until the garlic is just beginning to golden. While the butter is melting, salt and pepper the chicken. Use a decently heavy hand on both sides of the breast. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until deep golden, about 10 minutes, checking the color. Once browned, flip and let cook for another 5 minutes to brown the other side. Add the Dijon mustard and the vinegar to the skillet and mix slightly, just to the side of the chicken, making a bit of a glaze. Remove from heat and add the beans, apples, and kale evenly dispersing around the chicken. Pour the water into the pan and put in the oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Until cooked through and tender.