The blog Humbling Attempts at Creativity is hosting the current round of TGRWT, a cooking exercise devised by Martin Lersch through his blog: Khymos, designed to pair possibly disparate-seeming ingredients using a pairing profile that predicts compatibility between ingredients. Greg chose to pair sage and roasted peanuts, not really an intuitive combination – at least to me. Upon further reflection, I thought, why not? What are some things that sage goes with and that roasted peanuts go with also. One protein that popped immediately to mind was "chicken." Guess what? Yes, that's right, I decided to do a dish with sage, roasted peanuts and chicken. Very clever, no?
I skinned a whole chicken, reserving the skin (you didn't think that I would waste something so potentially delicious, did you?) and deboned the breasts and removed the femurs from the thighs, leaving the leg bones. Pounding the breasts to flatten them, I then applied salt, pepper, sage leaves and ground peanuts before rolling up the breasts and wrapping the,m in plastic wrap. For the thighs, I stuffed them with the same ingredients before rolling them in plastic wrap as well. The chicken was then cooked in my CVap for three hours at 150ºF and browned in ghee on my cooktop.
I served it with asparagus, celeriac puree, baked (325ºF convection for 45 minutes) chicken skin seasoned with peanut oil, soy sauce, powdered sage, salt and pepper and a satay like sauce that I concocted using chicken stock, smooth peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sage. Chopped peanuts were scattered on top of the chicken and asparagus. The plate was garnished with fresh pea shoots.
Overall the dish was pretty tasty and the ingredients did work well together. Both of my sons who had it enjoyed it. The sauce went very well with the asparagus as well. As might be expected, the thigh/leg preparation was moister and more satisfying than the rolled breasts, which though moist and adequately cooked out of the CVap, had dried out in the browning process. The most satisfying element of the dish was the crisp chicken skin. All the ingredients came together amongst a very pleasurable crisp bite. It was amazing to see how much the skin had shrunk in the oven (sorry, no photo!). If I were to do this again (I might), I would think about not cooking the breasts further or not using the CVap for them.