Some of you may know my obsession with watching the Food Network. It’s the only reason why I pay for cable TV. I watched every episode of the Next Food Network Star and fell in love with Aarti Sequeira’s style of cooking. During the show I started following Aarti’s blog because she takes everyday dishes and adds an Indian twist to them, which give them the pep they need to wake up thetaste buds. I was lucky enough to meet one of her co-stars, Herb Mesa, at a Halloween party last weekend and he said that she’s just as awesome in person as she is on camera!
So in honor of Aarti I am going to have Aarti Paarti week on my blog! Every day this week I’ll feature a different recipe of hers that I’ve tried.
For those of you that don’t know about Aarti Sequiera, she was the only food blogger contestant on the show (yay for food bloggers!). She quickly proved herself to the judges with her complex, flavorful Indian cooking and ease in front of the camera. And let’s not forget her beautiful British accent! She won the title of America’s Next Food Network Star and after airing 6 episodes of Aarti Paarty on the Food Network she has been signed for a second season!
I tried several recipes from her show/blog this week. They were all a success taste-wise but I have to admit that one of them was a bit of a disaster and almost started a grease fire in my oven. The first was her ‘I Ain’t Chicken, Chicken’, which seemed easy enough to make so I thought I’d start with that one. I followed the instructions exactly – except I tried to be clever when it came to how to arrange the pans for baking. I am not sure how this went wrong but there must have been so much grease dripping off the chicken that some of it dripped off of the cooling rack on the pan that I used to elevate the chicken (as directed) and onto the oven burner plate! Anyone who has done this knows that this will smoke out your entire oven and kitchen.
Here’s the recipe and accompanying video. My advice to avoid the kitchen smoke-out that I experienced would be to slightly elevate the chicken in a roasting pan or casserole dish rather than on a rimmed baking sheet. That way the walls of the pan will be high enough to catch any of the grease that might try to jump out.
Needless to say…I did not take a picture of this one. The good news is that the smoke didn’t affect the taste and it still turned out fine.
I Ain’t Chicken Chicken adapted from Aarti Party
Episode: What Storms May Come
- 1 pound small red new potatoes
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
- Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup butter, softened but not melted
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 large orange, zested
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 4 airline chicken breasts, on the bone, skin intact
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Line a roasting pan or large casserole dish with a cooling rack and a sheet tray with parchment. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with a little olive oil, thyme leaves and salt and pepper, to taste. Put the potatoes on the sheet tray lined with the parchment.
In a small bowl, combine the butter, ground cardamom, orange zest, ginger, salt and pepper, to taste. Stir together with a spoon until well mixed.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Poke a small opening in the clear membrane between the skin and the flesh of the chicken breast. Glide your index finger through the opening, loosening the skin from the flesh, without removing it completely. You’re creating a big pocket in which the butter will sit! Repeat with the other chicken breasts.
Put a spoonful of the butter mixture through the opening you made in the skin of the chicken breast. Once it’s in there, smooth out the butter by gliding your finger over the skin, until it’s evenly distributed. Repeat with the other breasts. Arrange the chicken breasts in the roasting pan or casserole pan lined with the cooling rack (don’t set the rack across the top of the pan because the grease from the chicken will drip off the edges!). Wash your hands thoroughly.
If you wish, drizzle the skin with a little oil, for extra crispy skin. Season with salt, to taste. Put the potatoes and the chicken into the oven, and roast, turning the pans once halfway through the cooking time and stirring the potatoes, about 30 minutes.
Chicken is ready when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, but not touching the bone, registers about 160 degrees F. Remove the pans from the oven and tent with foil. Allow them to rest about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken and potatoes to a serving platter and serve.
Check out Aarti’s blog here: http://www.aartipaarti.com
Check her out on the Food Network starting in December!