A shock of orange can refresh even the most familiar dinner ingredients. To that end, Lee Chizmar of Bolete restaurant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, bathes fresh fettuccini and caramelized chicken breasts with a deftly spiced carrot broth. His delicate sauce is a great warm-weather alternative to the heavy ragùs of months past. Then, for even more carrot flavor, Chizmar tops the finished dish with blanched baby carrots for an extra crunch of beta-carotene. A handy tip: Let the pasta strands soak up a little of the vibrant broth before serving.
Spring Chicken with Carrot Broth and Baby Carrots
Adapted from Lee Chizmar at Bolete, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
1¼ cups baby carrots, peeled
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium carrot--peeled, cut and sliced on the bias into 1-inch lengths
½ small white onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
One 1 inch-long piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
3 sprigs thyme
5 whole black peppercorns
1½ cups vegetable stock
1½ cups carrot juice, preferably fresh
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (about 3 to 4 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
10 ounces fresh fettuccine noodles
1. Place the baby carrots in a large saucepan and fill with cold water. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil, then immediately remove the carrots and drain on paper towels until cooled to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Cut the cooled carrots in half on the bias and reserve.
2. Place a medium stockpot over medium heat and heat the olive oil. Add the sliced carrot, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, 1 thyme sprig, pepper and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring, until the onions are translucent. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
3. Pour the carrot juice into a large bowl and strain the hot stock through a fine-mesh strainer into the carrot juice. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside to cool completely.
4. Preheat the oven to 400°. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Add the chicken breasts, skin-side down, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the skin is browned and crispy; turn the heat down to medium high. Use a pastry brush to baste the chicken with the pan juices and place the pan in the oven. Bake the chicken for about 15 minutes, or until the chicken breast reaches 155° on an instant-read thermometer.
5. Remove the chicken from the oven and turn the breasts over. Add the butter, lemon juice and the remaining thyme sprigs to the pan and swirl to combine. Cover the pan with tinfoil and set aside to rest for 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken reaches 165°.
6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 3 minutes, then drain. In a separate saucepan, gently reheat the reserved carrot broth. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Spoon the carrot broth over each and top with chicken breasts. Garnish with the reserved baby carrots and serve immediately.