Cider chicken with roasted cauliflower rice

I love fall recipes but incongruously don’t like pumpkin.

On the other hand, I do like cooking with apples and butternut squash and sweet potato and similar orange-y beige things.

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I also love to make stew – there’s something soothing about a recipe that takes hours to come together while requiring minimal effort. In fact, my favorite recipe of all time is a Dijon beef stew that I’m planning on making the second the highs drop below 70 degrees.

Last Sunday, in a fit of optimism that crisper weather lies ahead, I made A Calculated Whisk’s cider-glazed chicken with roasted cauliflower rice.

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It calls for spreading riced cauliflower and shaved Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and roasting them together, which is genius because you feel like you’re eating a carb while sneakily also eating your vegetables. This side might be the star of the whole meal.

And here’s the thing: you can rice the cauliflower yourself in a food processor if you must (it’s really not hard), and slice the brussels sprouts into small bits.

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OR, if you’re lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, you can buy their pre-riced cauliflower and shaved Brussels. We just got a Trader Joe’s in my neighborhood and it’s the best thing to happen to me in a long time.

I’m still looking for a cooking technique that yields tender, moist chicken every time – despite my best intentions, my chicken always ends up with dry and meh. So if you’ve found any silver bullet methods please send them my way!

Then roast yourself some cauliflower rice and top your perfect chicken breasts with a cider-mustard sauce that has just the right amount of sweetness and mustard to give it heft.

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Really, I can’t imagine a better way to kick off fall.

Cider-glazed chicken with roasted cauliflower rice
(Adapted from A Calculated Whisk)

For the cauliflower rice:
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced OR pre-shaved
Florets from 1 small head cauliflower, pulsed into rice-sized pieces in a food processor OR pre-riced
3/4 cup pecan halves, chopped*
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter (or ghee)

For the cider-glazed chicken:
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (or ghee)
4 thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups apple cider
1 teaspoon flour (optional)
2 teaspoons mustard (I used Maille dijon)

Preheat the oven to 425.

Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spread cauliflower rice and brussels sprouts on the baking sheet and add olive oil, salt and pepper, tossing with hands to combine.

Spread mixture evenly and roast for 25 minutes, removing the pan from the oven and tossing once with a spatula about halfway through to ensure even browning.

Meanwhile, heat a very large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle both sides with the salt and pepper.

Add the olive oil or melt the butter in the pan and then add the chicken.You may need to cook the chicken in batches if your pan isn’t large enough to fit all four without overlapping.  Let the chicken cook for about 3 minutes on one side until browned. Then, flip the chicken and cook for another 3 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate to rest.

Add the cider to the pan and then the mustard, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula to dislodge any browned bits. Let the cider mixture cook for  5 minutes until reduced and thickened.

If you’d like a thicker glaze (I did), spoon out about a tablespoon of the liquid into a small heatproof bowl. Add the flour and stir thoroughly to combine – it will be thick and pasty. Add back to the pan and whisk constantly until  it’s incorporated and the sauce is thickened.

Serve the chicken topped with glaze, with the roasted cauliflower rice on the side.

*: I left out the pecans for a non-nut eater but it seems like a nice addition.

Cider-glazed chicken with roasted cauliflower rice: http://acalculatedwhisk.com/cider-glazed-chicken-with-roasted-cauliflower-rice/

 

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