I’ll confess, I wasn’t going to post a THING today, but then my friend J. saw a photo on Instagram of the dinner I made on Saturday night and asked for a recipe. So here we are!
This is such a cheat post I can hardly stand it, since I have only my phone photo and I measured nothing. It also isn’t (quite) an NYT recipe recreation, though I will admit the inspiration for the cauliflower puree does come from there: I had planned to make the same dish, using the puree recipe as my bloggable item, and then I just wasn’t happy with the recipe as-is, so I scrapped it and went my own way. Feel free to do the same with any part of this, and note: all quantities here (except for the butter) are approximate. You do you.
Pan Roasted chicken with kale and cauliflower puree
About 45 minutes
For the chicken:
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
About 1 tablespoon olive oil
Optional: lemon zest to serve
Preheat the oven to 400F with a large cast iron skillet in the oven. While it heats, season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and dill.
When the oven is preheated and the skillet is hot, extract it, place in on a stovetop burner over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Swirl oil in the pan, add the chicken skin side down (it should sizzle), and cook until the skin is golden brown and lightly crispy, 6-7 minutes.
Flip the chicken so it’s skin-side up and cook another 5 minutes.
Carefully tip and drain off all but about a tablespoon of fat from the skillet (you can reserve this for another use), then move the skillet to the preheated oven and continue to roast the chicken until done, another 10-12 minutes. Move on to the cauliflower.
For the cauliflower:
2 cups whole milk
1 large head cauliflower
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Warm the milk in a wide pan over medium heat with the lid on. While it heats, cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces: the smaller the pieces are, the faster it will cook.
Add the pieces of cauliflower to the pan of milk with some salt – start with about ½ teaspoon knowing you will add more later. Bring the milk to a simmer, then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on until the cauliflower is soft. Watch this pan carefully, since boiling milk will quickly spill over the sides.
When the cauliflower is cooked, drain off and reserve almost all of the milk. Carefully add the cauliflower pieces to a blender or food processor, or if you have an immersion blender, you can use this in the pan you’re already cooking in. Add the butter and let it melt in, then blend, adding the reserved milk a little bit at a time, until you have a smooth puree. This will take a bit longer than you expect.
When the puree looks and tastes smooth, add salt and nutmeg to taste. Fold in the seasoning and set the puree aside until ready to plate.
For the kale:
2 large bunches lacinato or Tuscan kale
Salt to taste
Chiffonade the kale: stack up all the leaves in the bunch and cut thin confetti-like strips straight across each leaf. As you get toward the bottom and the stem gets thick and tough, tear the remaining leaf away from the stem, discard the stems, and chop or tear the remaining leaf pieces as desired.
After the chicken is done roasting, remove it from the pan and set aside to keep warm (but don’t cover it, or that crispy skin will be lost! This part only takes a minute or three).
Put the same cast iron skillet, still hot from the oven and with all the chicken bits still in it, over medium-high heat on your stove. Add all of the kale confetti, sprinkle on a small amount of salt, and cook, using tongs to gently scrape the browned chicken bits from the bottom and sides of the pan to season the kale.
Cook, stirring occasionally with your tongs, until the kale has wilted or cooked through to your liking. Season again if needed.
To plate and serve:
Spoon a mound of cauliflower puree into the middle of a wide, shallow bowl, then use the back of a spoon to spread it out across the bottom of the bowl.
Scoop up about a quarter of the kale and mound it up in the middle of the puree.
Position one of the chicken thighs right on top of the mounded kale. Add a few gratings of lemon zest if desired, and serve.
Looks very inviting Chelsea!