Millet and Lemon Chicken
Dinner in under 30 minutes? Check. Inexpensive? Check. Delicious? Check. A healthy grain? Check. Family friendly? Absolutely. All you need is a green vegetable and dinner is on the table. You know that show called "5 Ingredient Fix?" This dish beats it. Four basic ingredients: chicken, lemons, crème fraiche and millet.
This recipe for Lemon Chicken has already made the blog rounds, so please be patient with me. It's the idea of serving it over millet that intrigued me; I've heard of millet, but never tried it. I'm sold. It's brilliant. And here you thought it was bird seed. Well, actually it IS bird seed...but you're going to love it anyway. Better than couscous, I promise. You may know all about it, but if you don't or want to learn more, check here.
As far as this recipe is concerned, Lemon Chicken served on TOP of millet is on my favorite dinner hit list right now. Thank you Amanda Hesser for the fabulously simple and elegant Lemon Chicken recipe. Thank you Luisa for suggesting millet, albeit for an entirely different chicken recipe, but still.... I just combined Amanda Hesser's Lemon Chicken with Luisa's millet idea and came up with this. There's a lovely gravy and I should have put more on the chicken before I took the photo. Oh well. If you're one of the four people who hasn't made this chicken yet :)...you should, or make it again and serve it over millet, my dears.
Bench notes: When cooking millet, keep a couple things in mind: The flavor of millet is enhanced by lightly roasting the grains in a dry pan before cooking; stir constantly for approximately three minutes or until a mild, nutty aroma is detected and then add your cooking liquid. I used chicken stock. The grain has a fluffier texture when less water is used and is very moist and dense when cooked with extra water. I liked the fluffy version.
Amanda Hesser's Lemon Chicken
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 whole chicken legs (thighs attached)
Coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup crème fraiche
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. After 3 minutes, add the butter and oil. Season the chicken generously with salt and very generously with pepper. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the skillet and brown well on both sides, turning once.
Transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife. (Yes, I know 15 minutes doesn't sound like enough time, but if you browned it well, it's perfect. At least mine was. Use your instant-read thermometer. It should read 165. Check for clear juices just in case though.)
Return the skillet to the stovetop. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Place over medium heat, add the lemon juice, and stir to scrape up any pan drippings. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the crème fraiche and stir until melted and bubbling. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with lemon zest and additional pepper. Serve hot.
Spiced and Herbed Millet
From The New York Times, March 1, 2006
2 teaspoons olive oil
2½ cups millet
½ teaspoon ground cumin (omit for this particular recipe)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
Place olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add millet and stir until glossy. Add cumin and broth and stir.
Raise heat and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently just until millet has absorbed all the broth, about 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and add lemon juice, parsley and extra virgin olive oil. Work them into the millet using a fork, fluffing mixture. Transfer to a warmed bowl and serve.