Sunday, April 17, 2005

Funky Southwestern Chicken & Beef a la Europe

(OK you make up a name if you can do better)

Today was another lazy day on St. Simons. Beautiful weather, but with a high in the mid sixty degree range and a moderate breeze it was too cool for the pool or beach. I didn’t set foot near a grocery store, for a change, so I worked out of the fridge and the pantry to prepare dinner tonight.

This recipe is entirely of my own making so I take total responsibility if you don’t like the outcome. I call it Funky Southwestern Chicken and Beef because the presentation on the plate looks like a dish from the southwest with the cornhusks lying under the portions, but the seasoning is definitely not Tex-Mex. Pat and I were impressed with the results.

Here is what you will need to make dinner for two:

One small beef tenderloin
One boneless, skinless chicken breast

Two ears of fresh yellow corn in the husk

Three medium Yukon gold potatoes

One package Knorr Chicken gravy

Worcestershire sauce
Dried Thyme
Dried Rosemary
Cayenne pepper
Fresh ground black pepper
¼ stick of butter
¼ slab of cream cheese
Half & half

The preparation:

Peal the outer leaves of the corn husk off of each ear of corn, leaving three or four layers of husk intact and wrap the corn in aluminum foil. Place the corn in a 350 degree oven for about one hour.

Rinse off your chicken and beef and pat dry. (You can use all chicken or all beef if you wish for the recipe.) Place the pieces of meat in a bowl and pour about a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce over each piece. Now sprinkle each with a little Thyme, Rosemary, Paprika, and Cayenne Pepper. Let everything marinade for 20 minutes or so.

Scrub your potatoes and cut them into even pieces about 1” thick. The reason you cut them evenly is to ensure that everything cooks and gets done together. Place them on the stove in a medium boiler with enough cold water to cover, plus about ½”. Wait until you place your meat in the oven before you kick on the heat on the potatoes.

After the corn has cooked for about forty minutes, spray a medium baking dish with Pam spray and place the meat in the dish in the oven beside the pieces of corn.

Turn on the eye on the stovetop under the potatoes to medium and bring them to a low boil.

Prepare your gravy according to the package instructions, except add a few sprinkles of Thyme and Rosemary, then keep it warm on the side.

After the corn has cooked for an hour, remove it from the oven and leave it in the foil to stay warm on the side. Turn the broiler on to 450 degrees and ensure that your dish containing the meat is in the center of the rack. Let it keep cooking for another ten minutes or so.

Check your potatoes and when they are “fork tender,” turn off the heat and let them coast.

Now take the meat out of the oven and turn off your broiler. Toss your plates (oven proof, of course) into the oven to pre-heat.

Strain up your potatoes in a colander and place the drained chunks, skin and all, into a medium mixing bowl. Add the butter, the cream cheese, a few splashes of half and half, and a few twists of pepper and mash everything up with a wooden spoon. Leave the potatoes a little chunky if you like.

Unwrap the corn and peal the husk off the ears, reserving three or four sections of husk from each ear for garnish on your plates. Cut the corn off the cob with a sharp knife and toss the kernels in a bowl with a little olive oil and butter. Add a few twists of pepper.

Slice the meat into thin slices, then remove the plates from the oven and place them on chargers. Arrange the corn husks on each plate in a “fan” shape, then spoon half of the mashed potatoes into a nice pile at the base of the fan on each plate. Spoon the corn around the edge of the potatoes and arrange the sliced meat around the outside edge of the fan.

Drizzle hot gravy over the potatoes and meat, toss the plates on the table, and EAT!

Enjoy Y’all,

The Redneck Gourmet

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