I believe that sautéing is the best cooking technique for a busy weekday dinner. In mere minutes, hot, delicious, restaurant-worthy meal is ready to the joy of hungry family.
Whether it is meat, poultry, fish or seafood, the process is pretty much the same:
- You brown your protein of choice on all sides, cooking it almost through, but not quite.
- You remove it from the pan and set aside (with rare exceptions).
- You make the sauce in the same pan.
- You return your protein back to the pan and heat it through in the sauce until it reaches its perfect doneness.
As a rule, cooking time is no more than 15 minutes. Often times, much less. Not bad, huh?
My Moroccan style chicken breast is an example of such quick and no-hassle sautéed dinner dish. You will need:
- Chicken breasts, butterflied and cut lengthwise into 1.5 inch wide strips, thicker/thinner to your liking
- 8-10 Spanish olives, large ones quartered, small left whole
- 1 heaping tsp chopped parsley
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 thin slices of ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 cup chicken stock
- A splash of sweet vermouth or off dry white wine
- Black pepper and salt, to taste
- A pinch of red hot pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- A pinch of ground turmeric
Into the same pan, add shallots, garlic, ginger and olives and cook, stirring often, on a medium heat until shallots become translucent, about a minute or so. Make sure that the garlic doesn’t brown. Stir in cumin, turmeric and pepper flakes and in several seconds add vermouth and chicken stock.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce gets reduced approximately by half. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley. Put the chicken strips into the sauce and cook for about a minute or less. All you need is too reheat the chicken without letting it get overcooked.
I served it on a bed of pureed garbanzo beans along with sautéed garlic spears. Both sides took minutes to make as well. Instead of garlic/chive spears, you can take sautéed fennel or asparagus, and replace chickpea pure with regular or pearl couscous, orzo or quinoa.
For pureed garbanzos you will need:
- 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (or cook your own)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Juice from ½ medium sized lemon
- ¾ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ - ½ tsp ground fenugreek
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 large clove garlic
- 4-5 Tbsp water or as needed for a smooth consistency
Puree all ingredients in a food processor into a smooth paste. Add a splash or two of water if it’s on a dry side. Before serving, heat on a low heat, stirring often.