So there I found myself, meandering through the produce section late at night, pausing frequently with a cold blank stare set deep into my face. All around me was a cornucopia of flavors, and not a single one engaging the creative part of my brain… That was, until I laid my eyes upon the humble turnip. Out of a store full of flavors, it was the mild flavor and purplish coloring that got my wheels turning. Next came the grapes, with a purplish coloring unto their own and a sweet slightly astringent flavor. Some dandelion greens would bring a pleasant bitterness to the party, reminding me I was in the throes of winter. Chicken was the protein of choice to allow all these other components to work together and shine.
I did a very chefy thing and sous vided my turnips with a little butter and rosemary. I find the sous vide technique fantastic for cooking root vegetables. You’re able to achieve a wonderful supple texture, and retain much of their natural flavor during the cooking process.
Roasting fruits feels kind of odd at first, because we’re accustomed to eating them in their natural state at room temp or chilled, but roasting grapes concentrates their sweetness, and softens them to a point where they burst onto your palate. Outside of using them whole, I also decided to crush some into a little red wine vinaigrette, for a lovely plating flourish.
I feel like Cipollini onions used to be more difficult to find, but now they’re a readily available and delicious option for everyone. These little guys are beautifully sweet with a very mild onion flavor when roasted. Giving them a 30-second blanching session makes the peeling process much easier.
This pan roasted chicken breast is brought to life within the little nooks of flavors hiding between each slice. The colors and flavors hearken back to those first frigid evenings when autumn yielded to winter’s temper.
Roasted Chicken with Grapes
Preheat a sous vide bath to 194F.
Add turnips to a heavy duty Ziploc freezer bag with the butter and rosemary, along with a heavy pinch of salt. Add bag to the preheated sous vide bath, and cook for 30-45min. Pull the turnips out of the bag, discard the rosemary, but save the poaching butter for a later step.
Alternately, you can simmer the turnips in a pot of salted water with the rosemary sprig. Cooking time will vary, but check after 10-15min. Drain the cooked turnips, and lightly toss in butter to coat.
Roasted Onions & Grapes
|As Needed||Extra Virgin Olive Oil|
Preheat oven to 450F.
In a pot, bring some water up to a boil. Add onions to boiling water, and cook for 30sec. With a slotted spoon, take onions out of boiling pot and into a ice water bath. Peel onions, and place onto small ovenproof pan. Season with salt, and drizzle with olive oil.
In a separate ovenproof pan, add bunches of grapes, and drizzle with olive oil.
Roast onions for 25-30min, and grapes for about 20-25min.
Roasted Grape Vinaigrette
|1||Teaspoon||Red Wine Vinegar|
|3||Teaspoons||Extra Virgin Olive Oil|
In a mixing bowl, add mustard, vinegar and roasted grapes. Using a fork, crush the grapes against the side of the bowl, and stir to incorporate the ingredients. Switch to a whisk (if you want), and continuously whisk while slowly drizzling olive oil into the bowl. Season to taste, and set aside.
|2||Each||Chicken Breast||Skin On|
|1||Tablespoon||Turnip Poaching Butter|
|¼||Bunch||Dandelion Greens||Washed & Destemmed|
Preheat an oven to 450F.
Heat up a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium high heat. Using a paper towel, pat dry the chicken breast, and liberally season. When pan is hot, add a little vegetable oil, and once it begins to shimmer, add chicken breast skin side down. Allow skin to brown up a little, about 3-5min. Now add the poaching butter to the pan, and place it in the hot oven. Allow to cook for 20-30min, flipping the breast over about halfway through.
Once the chicken has been cooked, allow the breasts to rest on a cutting board for a few minutes. While your pan is still hot, add the dandelion greens to wilt with the residual heat, and add a spoon full of the vinaigrette. Season to taste.
Slice chicken breast into large sections, and spread out across the plate leaving small gaps to be filled. Slice your onions in half, and pile them along with the turnips, grapes and greens filling the gaps between the meat. Drizzle vinaigrette around the plate, and serve.