Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bacon Chicken Bowl

This was a tasty meal.  I found the recipe over at PaleOMG and while she titles it "Easy", I didn't find it exactly easy.  Well, I shouldn't say that, it was easy, it just didn't cook as easy as she said, which frustrated me.

I started by chopping two raw sweet potatoes lengthwise (which was fun) and putting them facedown on a pan and cooking them in a 400 degree oven.  These were supposed to cook for 20-25 minutes and be done.  They weren't done at 25 minutes but were done at 45 minutes.

It was good that they needed another 20 minutes to cook because according to the instructions, when the potatoes had 8 minutes left, I was to start cooking the bacon.  I go to pull my bacon out of the fridge and find out my hubby used the last of the bacon at breakfast and didn't defrost any more!  Quick pull out another pack and throw it in the microwave to defrost.  When it finishes I start back up with the recipe.

I pull out my cast iron pan and start cooking the bacon.  8 pieces for 4 servings.  Once the bacon starts rendering the fat I add the 4 chicken thighs.  I shoved all the bacon to the sides (which was still quite under done) and let it all sit for 5 minutes.  I flipped it all and let it sit again.

The bacon just didn't seem to cook.  I don't know if it's because I didn't have enough room in my pan (it's a large cast iron skillet) or what, but I decided to take out 6 of the pieces of bacon and let them finish cooking in the microwave in my Pampered Chef Ridged Baker.  That left enough room for the other two pieces and the 4 pieces of chicken to keep cooking.  It took another 20 minutes for the bacon and chicken to be done.  This brought my chicken cooking time to about 30 minutes.

By this point the sweet potatoes had been in the oven for 40 minutes and were sitting in there with the heat off for another 10.  The ends turned out a little rubbery from sitting, but otherwise they were nice and tender.

I served the sweet potato half on a bed of fresh spinach, topped by one chicken thigh and two slices of bacon cut in half.

Verdict:  This was a tasty meal and surprisingly not heavy or greasy.  Despite the chicken cooking in the bacon fat, it wasn't greasy at all, just very tasty.  Finishing the bacon in the microwave also reduced the amount of fat in the bacon and made it nice and crispy.  I needed the bacon to start in the pan though for the fat for the chicken, which gave it the beautiful browned color.  Everything about this meal tasted great and knowing the time frames I need to work with, I would definitely make this meal again.

Serves 4

2 sweet potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
4 chicken thighs
8 slices of bacon
Fresh spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Place your halved sweet potatoes cut-side down on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until your sweet potato is soft to the touch.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
4. Add your 8 slices of bacon.
5. Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken thighs, if desired.
6. As soon as some of the fat begins to render in your bacon, push the bacon aside and place your chicken thighs in the bacon fat.
7. Cook the chicken and bacon on each side for about 15 minutes.
8. If needed, finish cooking your bacon in the Pampered Chef Ridged Baker to make it nice and crispy.
9. Be sure to check your chicken thighs to make sure they are finished cooking.
10. Put some spinach in the bottom and side of each bowl.  Top with a sweet potato half.
11. Add a chicken thigh to each bowl and top with 2 pieces of bacon, each piece cut in half.

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