dsc_0050It’s a cold and rainy spring day today, and my wife and daughter are both a little under the weather, so I wanted something that would be both comforting and spring-ish.  Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, and I try to take advantage of spring, when asparagus is in season, and therefore inexpensive.  We already had some in the fridge, so it was just a matter of finding something warm and soothing to go with it, and this is what I came up with.

I was already hungry, so while I was at the grocery store, I picked up something for us to eat while I made lunch.  Over in the cheese section, a lady behind the counter told me that they had something different in at the moment: Caciotta al Tartufo. I picked some up, along with some peppered water crackers.  It’s a mild, slightly briny medium-soft cheese with a little bit of black truffle, and it did a great job of satiating our appetite until lunch was ready.

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To make the chicken and asparagus, you’ll need:

  • Chicken pieces (I used legs, since they are inexpensive and my daughter loves them.  Whatever you go with, I suggest you use bone-in, which will be less apt to dry out, and will be slightly more flavorful)
  • Garlic cloves – 3 or 4 per person, peeled and slightly smashed
  • Asparagus
  • Dry white wine
  • Butter (preferably the real stuff)
  • Olive Oil
  • Good bread (for mopping up the sauce)

dsc_0042Get out a thick frying pan – nonstick would be best – with a lid, big enough to hold all of your chicken pieces, and put it over medium heat.  When it’s good and hot, pour in a good amount of olive oil and then add the chicken.  Salt and pepper it well, and wait for it to brown nicely on the bottom.  Once that’s happened, turn it over, add more salt and pepper, and the garlic.

My sous chef.

My sous chef.

Wait until it’s browned on the other side, then pour in some white wine.  This isn’t precision work here, but I used about 3/4ths of a cup for five pieces of chicken, maybe slightly more.  Put the lid on, and lower the heat to medium low.

Oh and by the way, if your daughter wants to help, let her.

Get the asparagus out, snap off the woody ends, and cut it into 2 or 3 inch lengths.

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Heat a pan over medium high heat and add some olive oil.  When the pan is hot, but before the oil starts smoking, throw the asparagus in, and sprinkle over some salt and pepper.  Let the asparagus cook for a few minutes, stirring it frequently.  You’re looking for bright green, not army green.  Slightly crunchy, not soft or mushy.

Here’s where the timing counts:  The amount of time that the chicken needs depends on what size pieces you use.  Thick chicken breasts will need more than thighs and legs.  Legs will take the least amount of time.  I cooked five, and they needed about 15 minutes from the time that I added the wine.  If you don’t trust your instincts, cut into a piece and make sure it’s done.  If the asparagus is ready, but the chicken isn’t, take the asparagus off of the heat while the chicken is finishing.

When the chicken is cooked, you should still have a decent amount of liquid left.  If it’s not a little bit thick, crank up the heat and boil it until it thickens some.  Put the asparagus back over medium heat, spoon in some of the sauce from the chicken, and add a few pats of butter.  Stir everything so that the butter mixes with the sauce and everything coats the asparagus.  The sauce is one of the great things about this recipe, so don’t skimp on the servings, and break out some good bread to go with it.

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