Time for some more healthy cooking experiments!
So as fairly devout watchers of "Best Thing I Ever Ate", we here Chez Simmer were excited to see a new crop of episodes start appearing on the DVR back in June. And on one hand, you can sort of see how they're starting to stretch themselves thin, but on the other hand, there really are always new places out there, and the nicest thing about being a home cook is that you don't even necessarily have to travel to be inspired by the show. You can take inspiration from what they're doing, and bring it into your own kitchen.
So is this the chicken scarpariello that Anne Burrell raved about having at Rao's in Vegas? Not really. But is there now a chicken scarpariello we rave about having here at home? There sure is.
Seriously, I've made it about four times now, and unfortunately I didn't document every little step, so you're left with these pictures of one of the iterations, which was not the absolute final version we loved.
But it gives you the basic idea. Now, if you want the official Rao's version, you can find the recipe here, which involves bone-in chicken and a pretty large batch size.
What we ended up with in the final supertasty iteration:
- surprisingly, boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes instead of larger skin-on bone-in chicken pieces. Yes, the bone imparts some flavor, but it means a longer cooking time, less flavor penetration into the meat, and a much messier eating experience. Plus that whole health thing. And as long as the liquid isn't allowed to boil too vehemently, the white meat stayed decently tender.
- regular sweet red peppers were $6.99 a pound at the store. Cubanelle peppers (mild, pale green) were $2.99. I bought cubanelles. They rocked.
- cut up the cherry peppers instead of leaving them whole.
- keep the liquid minimal, and go heavy on the brine.
- actually, add extra brine at the end.
- and then let it sit in the fridge an extra day. Seriously.
The sour tang of the cherry pepper brine really gives this a neat flavor profile, especially when it has that extra day to soak in. As you can tell, I thought serving it with quinoa and green beans was a fine idea, although it was also good served in a deep bowl as more of a stew.
Best thing I ever ate? Maybe not. Best chicken scarpariello I ever ate? Darn tootin'.