This was a splendid Monday night dinner with complex heat and depth. The reason for this dinner was to do something exciting with boring old chicken breast. It is not my favorite part of this bird as it lacks the juicy-ness of the thighs and legs. But, it does cook very quickly, which is a plus when you have a week of dinners to make ahead of you.
I pulled out my lovely box of spices from a recent visit to my favorite shop in Manhattan, Kalustayans, in the hopes of inspiration. Often times I use a spice or herb as the focal point as it can be the flavor that drives a dish. I hadn’t used my hot paprika in a while and when I decided on that, I though about Hungarian flavors causing me to grab the jar of caraway seeds sitting close-by.
This was the perfect way to add interest to the meat and the addition of the buttermilk scone topping was not only heavenly, but also served very well in sopping up the red broth-y juices.
This turned out to be the best chicken dish I have made in a long time and I am so excited to have hit on something that I will certainly make again and again.
You will need:
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs unsalted butter
4 good-sized chicken filets, trimmed of fat
sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper to season meat
2 medium sweet onions, sliced in 1/2 rounds, then in half
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbs hot paprika (use 1 tbs if you are shy of heat)
1 tsp caraway seeds (you can substitute Cumin Seeds if you do not have caraway)
1 good quality bouillon cube
2 1/4 cups water (you can substitute Chicken Stock for Bouillon cube and water)
3/4 cup sour cream
5 cups baby spinach leaves (or 5 cups chopped bigger leaves)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sea-salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
5 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cups buttermilk
*If the pan you use on he stove top to prepare the dish is not appropriate for the oven (wrong size or has non-ovenproof parts), then you will also need a baking pan with around 2 1/2 to 3 inch sides. A glass or ceramic lasagna-style casserole will do fine*
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Put large pan on high heat and add 2 tbs of the oil. season meat with salt and pepper on both side and sear the chicken in batches (about 2 minutes per side, undisturbed) adding oil as needed. Remove to a plate as you go and cover resting chicken with foil.
2 – When chicken is cool enough to handle, slice in medium.thick pieces and cover until needed.
3 – In the meantime, turn heat down to medium/low and add the 1 tbs of butter to the pan. Add the onions and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally for about 6 minutes. Turn heat down to low, cover and cook for about 10 more minutes, removing lid to stir a couple of times during the process.
4 – Add the paprika, caraway and crumbled bouillon to onions and stir together. Cook for about 2 minutes.
5 – Add the water, then sour cream and stir. Turn heat up and bring liquid to a boil. Turn off heat
6 – Add the sliced chicken to the liquid.
7 – * If you are transferring to a different dish for the oven, do so at this time. Pour the chicken mixture into your new dish and proceed with recipe instructions* Lay the spinach leaves on top and cover with lid or foil and place in preheated oven for 12 minutes.
Make Buttermilk Scone Crust
1 – Place flour, baking soda, baking powder, pepper and salt into bowl and stir with a manual whisk to incorporate ingredients.
2 – Add cold butter in slices to the flour and rub together into flour with fingertips until flour resembles rough cornmeal. Mix the buttermilk and sour cream together and pour into flour mixture. Mix together with a wooden spoon until you have a solid wet ball of dough. Set aside.
Turn oven up to 425*
3 – When you remove the chicken from the oven, mix the spinach into the sauce and then dollop the scone mixture on top in an even layer (see picture above). Place in oven for 20 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before dividing between warmed serving bowls or plates.