Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is it Worthy?

The other day I wanted to braise a cut up chicken for dinner. I had pulled one out of the freezer, and I was busy going through my cookbooks, not quite finding what I was looking for. So I headed online to Recipezaar and typed in Braised Chicken. I read through recipe after recipe looking for something. First, I wanted a recipe that used only on-hand ingredients, and secondly, I has been hoping to crack open my jar of preserved lemons. I finally found the recipe for Braised Chicken with Lemon and Honey, and decided that would be the one. I printed it out, set it on the counter, and then proceeded to defrost my chicken in the microwave. Then my eyes scanned over to the nutrition stats. There was no way I could make this and serve it with good conscience. One serving was 1073 calories, and the fat was 104% of the daily value at 68.2 grams. Could this be right? So I put it into my Mastercook to check that information. It was correct, and I started to look at it to see just how I could trim this to make it for dinner.

I started with the chicken. I decided that since this recipe called for one whole chicken, cut up, it was including quite a bit of fat calories right there. So I took my already cut up chicken and removed the skin and obvious bits of fat. In Mastercook, that translated to Whole chicken, no skin, ready to cook. That trimmed quite a bit there, and brought the calories into a more acceptable range, and also dropped the fat down to 27.8% at 11 grams. What a difference. I also decided that half a cup of honey was quite a bit, so I dropped that down to 1/3 cup and used a more flavorful wildflower honey. My final dish sat at 359 calories per serving, and 11 fat grams- and that would be allowing for a full tablespoon of olive oil to brown the chicken, and I don't think I used quite that much.

The end result was really good! The sauce was excellent, and the preserved lemon I used added such a wonderful touch to the dish, that I am certain it added a layer of flavor I wouldn't have had with a plain lemon. The only thing I would change up would be to add a fresh squeeze of fresh lemon to the sauce just before serving. Andy wants me to make it again. I did end up sprinkling some toasted raisins and almond slivers over the top for contrast, and even that was really good. I served it with plain rice to sop up some of the sauce, and I do think it would have been better with brown rice, so I really need to remember to pick some of that up soon. Braised Chicken with Lemons and Honey can be found in its revised state in the Recipe Trove.


Jeanna Olson said...

Looks pretty fancy. And yummy. Think I'll try it. I have to stop using butter I guess. Sigh.

Erika said...

Hi Jeanna,

Actually, it's not fancy at all, but I suppose if presented right, it could make for a fancy dish at a dinenr party or something.

And I actually do think that if you browned the chicken in a butter and olive oil blend you'd get a fantastic depth of flavor from the butter.