Friday, October 10, 2008

So-so Spinach Artichoke Chicken

I love spinach artichoke dip.  The hot melty kind, made with loads of mayonnaise and cheese.  I thought I would apply the concept to a topping for broiled chicken paillards (breasts pounded thin).  Unfortunately, I also thought I'd "lighten it up" a bit.  Well duh-  The charm of spinach artichoke dip is not in the healthy components.  What I wound up with was  not particularly light, not good enough to be worth it, basically pretty insipid dinner:

I still think this idea has merit, in a kind of populist, "Olive Garden" excess way, but you'd have to really embrace the gooey fatty aspect of the original dip.  I mixed frozen chopped spinach, canned artichokes, and cream cheese, and used that to top broiled chicken breasts- then sprinkled Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs on top of that, and returned it to the broiler (on low) to heat up the topping and crisp the crumbs. 

If you wanted to improve the dish: use fresh spinach sauteed with garlic in butter, add a generous dollop of mayonnaise to the filling, and make sure the ratio of vegetables to fatty goodness (mayo, cheese) in the filling was about 60-40 (mine was more like 80-20).  Then saute the chicken in a pan, deglaze with white wine,  put the topping on and stick it in a very hot oven, not broiler.  That would give you the gooey rich effect I was trying to achieve, foolishly, without the gooey rich ingredients.  

If there's anyone out there who has never faced down a butternut squash, here's the deal:

Cut off both ends, then use a good strong peeler to get all the skin and green fibers right under the skin off.  

Scoop out the seeds in the lower portion with a tablespoon.  It is one of the easier winter squashes to cut up because the neck is solid flesh.  I like to saute it in butter, salt it, then add a little water and cover to finish cooking by steaming in the buttery liquid.  Dry cooking can leave it a little too pasty in the mouth. 

Now I have a lot of leftover cooked squash....
Ravioli?  Risotto?  Autumn Vegetable lasagna?  Soup?  
What would you like to see me make?

1 comment:

James said...

I think I will be trying that spinach dip tomorrow - will let you know on the squash thing.