The Busy Girl Cooks Chicken
I war with myself, being a foodie and a student who also works five days a week. I am infatuated with food from the Southern-style comfort dishes I grew up with to the fresh, light food of the Pacific Northwest, where I now live, to the exotically spiced fare from foreign soil. I love to cook, and most importantly eat great food. However, since going back to college as an adult, I live in a perpetual time-crunch and on a low budget. And I refuse to live a Top Ramen lifestyle.
Fortunately, I have found two (well, technically three) recipes in Tamara Murphy’s book TENDER that are delicious and easy-squeezy enough for me to make them regularly (two or three times a month). Plus, most of the ingredients I have on hand, so they’re easy on my purse. I usually cook these recipes back to back, using the leftovers from the first night’s dinner for the next day.
First, it’s Tamara’s Roasted Chicken: so simple! Season it, stuff it, then throw it in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half (I use this time as a study session or squeeze in some exercise). After it’s cooked, I slice off the meat, and throw what’s left (bones, lemons, herbs) into a big pot of water to make stock for the next day. I boil it while my fiancé and I eat dinner and for a little while longer; I never time it. Then, the stock goes into the fridge.
Next day, I make Lemon Chicken Risotto: the dish that makes love to your mouth. I do just what Tamara suggests; I use the fat layer from the top of the stock to sauté. This is a laid-back risotto recipe; the stock gets added one cup at a time, instead of half a cup, and it stays creamy without stirring constantly. I stir frequently, but don’t fear growing one, giant Popeye arm. Once it’s cooked, I dump in my leftovers and the cheese (I never bother with the butter and cream; it’s rich on its own). The lemon in this absolutely sings, while the parmesan grounds the dish, and the wine insinuates a faint, sultry flavor.