Building layers of flavor

My favorite way to cook is buy ingredients first, then figure out what I am going to make. Sometimes the menu organizes itself as I am shopping and, most times, it reveals itself as I am ready to cook.
There are a few staples I always have on hand so cooking "a la minute" is more fun than frustration.
Chicken stock, leeks, shallots, butter, cream, parmesan, and the trio of soffrito {carrots, onions and celery}.

I love to layer flavors in the pan. .tonight I am making a simple dish. Braised chicken with fresh fava beans. Only a few ingredients fortify this flavorful dish. In a large sautee pan, I take a whole cut-up chicken, dust the pieces in seasoned flour, sautee in butter and olive until golden brown, then remove it to a plate.

Another drizzle of oil and pat of butter in the pan, and I saute the soffrito until soft. Chicken broth deglazes the pan, sipping up with it all the juicy,carmelized bits of brown that add so much flavor and a rich, brown color. A handful of fava beans, a lid and a toss in the oven to let it cook at 375 degrees for about an hour. That's it! One pan, lots of flavor. Little effort required.

Buon appetito!

copyright 2007 Alisa Barry

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