So, I said I would help, and help I will. Or I will, with a little assistance from Ina. I have been a fan of Ina Garten’s from the moment I saw her on the old Martha Stewart show (which, by the way, I really miss- it was one of the most beautifully produced shows on television…). Ina is now famous in her own right and has taken on the mantel of domestic fairy godmother. She has tips for all occasions, but the one I lean on time and again is her no-fail chicken breast recipe. It’s an easy pick for a mid-week gathering and satisfying enough for a Sunday dinner. Any recipe that can be dressed up or down is a keeper!
To feel a bit of confidence in the kitchen will help even the most reluctant host get over the hurdle of planning a meal, and this is just the ticket. I know that food isn’t the thrust of this blog and that there are a million cooking websites and blogs out there, but it is an essential aspect of gathering at the table and anything that can ease anxiety about calling friends and family to the table is worth mentioning.
Ina recommends breasts with the bone in and skin (gasp!) on, and her reasoning is all about flavor. Anything on the bone, when roasted, will have more flavor, and the skin will keep the chicken moist, even if you decide to take it off, but I’m telling you that would be a mistake! The recipe is quite simple, just place the breasts on a sheet pan and drizzle them with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Then, put the breasts into a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes and you’re done. Now, having said that, I am here to tell you that everyone’s oven is a bit different. Mine I need to have at a bit higher temperature and for a bit longer, so the first time or so, depending on your oven, you’ll need to experiment. I always roast a few more breasts than the number of people at the table, just in case some one wants seconds. If not, then you have lunch for the next day.
Having a main dish that you can keep in your back pocket that’s perfect for a family dinner, or elegant enough for a company one is, as Martha would say, a “good thing”. And to quote Ina, “How easy is that?”!