Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nutty Green Beans and Lemon Rosemary Chicken

It has been a long couple of weeks at the Bear Den. Honey Bear broke a hand and lost his job as a thanks for it, so our budget just took a major turn for the tight. My quest to go grain free has moved to the back burner, and I am forced to reevaluate the pantry stores. I like to keep at least a month's food on hand, but I have been getting complacent about it lately. Luckily we are well stocked for about six weeks, save a half dozen inexpensive items.

Before I buckle down and start the minimum wage job hunt to tide us over till Honey Bear heals, I am taking a week or so to enjoy his company. Help with the daily chores gives me a bit more time to putter in the kitchen, too, and it shows with dinner tonight. Granted when the grocery bill drops, time in the kitchen usually doubles, but I made it count while we had fresh stuff on hand. I really slowed down and took my time with today's meal, and I actually enjoyed cooking for the first time in a long time!

Anyway, I took a page from the Pioneer Woman and made Lemon Rosemary Chicken. This bird has been absolutely smothered in compound butter, and it looks happy even before it is cooked. Seriously, if I had to be roasted and eaten by a being of superior intellect, I would want to be caked in this stuff, too. 

It brings new meaning to 'butterball'.

I paired it with pumpkin sage polenta, and green beans with walnuts. The polenta was a huge hit, but it is hard to go wrong with polenta in this house. This particular breed will probably be eaten every fall from now on.
This needs to be doubled next time.
Mr. Chicken, after the sauna.

I take no credit for the chicken or the polenta recipes, but I can almost claim the green beans! I threw it together as a cheaper take on green beans amandine a few years ago, and it has graced our table many times since.

Nutty Green Beans 

1/2 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons butter
16 oz green beans, fresh or frozen, thawed, and air dried
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 tsp lemon juice or 2 tbps chicken stock, optional

Toast the walnuts lightly over low heat in a cast iron skillet. Remove from pan when fragrant. Careful, they like to burn! Melt the butter in the same pan and toss in the beans, garlic, salt, and pepper. Saute over medium heat until everything nicely warmed and the garlic smells yummy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts. Viola!

Lemon juice adds a pleasant brightness that cuts through the walnuts richness. If you are using it, just stir it in with the nuts at the end. The chicken stock should be added about a minute after the beans and garlic. It will thicken slightly and provide a lovely rich glaze if you use it.