Sunday, September 2, 2012

Gordon Ramsay's Lemon Sticky Chicken, Champ, and Banana Splits

Sunday dinners are a great time to experiment with different recipes.  The days are less hectic.  You still have some energy because you weren't at work all day where your vital essence was sapped.  You can eat dinner in the middle of the afternoon, or late at night.  I, in case, you didn't notice, love Sunday dinner.  Ramsay proposes the following meal for a Sunday dinner.  I agree, it's too much for a weeknight dinner.

Fryer chicken cut into pieces, lemon, garlic, lite soy sauce, salt, pepper, honey, olive oil, parsley, thyme, sherry vinegar and while the original recipe called for candied whole lemons, I used lemon marmalade.
 Salt and pepper the chicken.
 Heat the olive oil.
 Add the chicken.  Try not to crowd your pan (like I did).
 Halve your garlic (with skin still on to try to hold it all together).
Add the thyme sprigs and garlic halves to the pan (pick out any stray garlic papers that come loose -- you might have to do this a couple of times during the cooking process - and even when you sit down to eat - this was an unfortunate part of the meal).
 Cut your lemon as thinly as possible.  Use a mandolin for the best results.  Pick out the seeds. Set the slices aside for later.  (Interestingly, other photos I've seen of this dish show the lemons sliced on the thick side.)
 Cook the chicken until browned on all sides.
 Add the sherry vinegar.
 Add the soy sauce.
 Add in the marmalade (optional).
 Drizzle with honey and stir it all up (trying, of course, to keep everything from falling out of the pan).
Bring to a simmer, turning the chicken occasionally.
 Add some hot water to the pan.
Add the slices of lemon and let simmer until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

In the meantime (I mean, cooked simultaneously), prepare the Champ (fancy mashed potatoes).
 Potatoes, heavy cream, milk, butter, chives (recipe called for scallions, but I misread it), salt and pepper.
 Peel the potatoes (I actually prefer to leave the peels on, but my kids won't eat it that way).
 Slice and dice (remember, the smaller you cut the potatoes, the faster they will cook).
 Boil until tender.

 Mash, mash, mash.
 The kids loved to do this part.
 Add the butter.
 Add the chives (or onions if you actually know how to read).
 Add in the cream and milk.
Season liberally with salt and pepper. And stir until smooth and creamy.
 By this time, the chicken should be ready to plate up and garnish with parsley from the garden.
Mahogany goodness.
 Dessert is supposed to be Caramelized Banana Splits.-- Keep that in mind. - Bananas, sugar, baker's chocolate (semi to dark), honey, heavy cream, ice cream, and I added coconut and nuts to the mix, too.
 Halve the bananas and place on a baking sheet.
 Sprinkle heavily with sugar.
 If you have a hand-held kitchen torch, I suggest you use.  Otherwise, place directly under the broiler until the sugar gets all dark brown and crisp.
 Well, it got dark brown.  Crisp?  Not even close.
 Combine the chocolate squares with honey.
Add the heavy cream.
Either use a double boiler or microwave the mixture until bubbly and completely melted.  Stir until smooth.  Set aside until cooled.
Now, back to the bananas which are now cool enough to handle.  They were an epic fail!  They turned nearly black. They were squishy.  The sugar, instead of crisping up turned almost gel-like. Nasty.  They went right into the garbage.


They were just regular Banana Splits.  Still wonderful, but Gordon Ramsay quality?  No.

So, Gordon says it will take about 10 minutes to prep the chicken and 25 minutes to cook it. What planet does he live on.  The chicken has bones in it.  Breasts cook at a different rate than thighs.   I checked the chicken at 25 minutes and the juices ran, not just pink, but almost red.

The overall results?  The champ was good, but it was just like regular mashed potatoes.  The banana splits were an average dessert.  Maybe if the bananas actually caramelized, it would have been something special.  The chicken made the kitchen smell divine.  Cut up lemons and garlic are wonderful smells - who would have thought they would work so well together.  But in the dish?  I really liked the sauce on the chicken, but it was disappointingly bitter.  I suppose it was the lemon with the peels on it.  I really liked the soy, sherry and honey combination.  I keep thinking if I could have just garnished the chicken with a splash of lemon and a few slices that would have been really good.  Maybe I should have just used a tablespoon of lemon marmalade, instead of that along with the lemon slices.  I read Blue Kitchen's review of the same dish and she summed it up pretty well, too.  One of her readers, The Perfect Pantry, remarked that she could imagine making a roasted chicken using the same flavors.  I think that would be wonderful.  Imaging filling the cavity with lemon halves, garlic cloves, springs of thyme.  Then make a baste of lemon juice, soy, vinegar and honey.

Was it quick?  Did it take less than 45 minutes like Ramsay swears it would be?  No.  It was like a real Sunday dinner that took almost 1-1/2 hours.

Please, don't let my negative comments about it deter you, though.  I've actually made this meal twice.  There's something about it that keeps bringing me back.  I think the promise of the flavors is huge.  The first time I was disappointed and surprised by the bitterness.  This second time I was still disappointed by the bitterness, but I was hoping I just did something wrong the first time I made it.  Now I can analyze it better and determine how best to approach it the third time I make it.

"Sticky Lemon Chicken, Champ and Banana Splits -- Done."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i made this for dinner it came out bitter why i used a couple of small limes and balsamic vinegar