Wednesday, August 19, 2009

No Work Impressive Chicken and Sweet Potato

No Work Impressive
Chicken and Sweet Potato

with no pot to scrub

You know those thin frozen cardboard chicken breasts that come in a heavy bag, that only a dieter would choose? Well, we are going to make them gourmet: This recipe makes your reputation!

Today you are exhausted and want a hot meal, not in a box. Okay, here's what you do before you hit the shower and the news and a drink: Turn the oven on to between 200° and 230°.
That is not a misprint.

Take out anything shaped like a frying pan. Put as many frozen chicken breast filets as will fit easily in it – usually 3 in a standard pan, but – whatever, it doesn't matter.

Shake up a can of sweet potatoes. Yes, them! Those waterlogged nasties you had to eat before you got old enough to fend for yourself. Never mind, trust me. Dump them into the pan, juice and all. Now, pick up the potato hunks and put them on top of the chicken slabs. That was the hard part.

Now, put dried pineapple pieces and dried apricot in the holes where there is no chicken, in the ocean of juice there. If you have the ambition, fresh ginger grated into this will make the candied-taste-to-come even more impressive. Maybe next time?

Into the oven with the pan, NOT COVERED. Now go take your shower, watch or read the news and have a drink of something.
Keep an eye on the oven project: Time is NOT of the essence, it is very flexible. Here's why:
The canned sweet potatoes, in the low heat, return to their former identities as sweet potato.
The juice concentrates, what with evaporation and the dried fruit sucking it up. The chicken is candied as the liquid thickens, and is tender because of the low oven temperature. This will keep longer than you would think in the refrigerator . . . if it even makes it into the refrigerator.

(The addition of vinegar could make this a sweet-and-sour dish, but I never tried it.)

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