Dinner Tonight: 30 minute entrees
Gifted heirloom pepper inspires worthy dish
Chicken with red, yellow peppers: Gifted heirloom pepper inspires this peperonata, a saute flavored with garlic, onion, tomatoes and a slug of red wine vinegar. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
Waving her hand over a small basket of yellow peppers, she said, "we planted seeds for these in February and this is all we got." The yield was paltry indeed, six or seven peppers. But each was a beauty. Long, as long as a banana, longer, and twice as wide. "I guess that's why they call them treasures," she said, laughing. The joke: Each of the heirloom Golden Treasure peppers is prized because you get so few.
What to make with such a beauty? I settled on my favorite pepper dish: Peperonata, a saute flavored with garlic, onion, tomatoes and a slug of red wine vinegar — and threw in one of the pimentos as well. This recipe is a quick version of the Italian classic (adapted from an old cookbook, "Classic Italian Cooking for the Vegetarian Gourmet," by Beverly Cox), and uses red and yellow bell peppers instead of the heirlooms. I added chicken to what is actually a vegetable side dish, cooking it with the peppers, for more flavor.
Chicken with red and yellow peppers
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 26 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 each, cored, seeded, cut in 1/4-inch strips: red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved, or 1 cup chopped canned tomatoes
Freshly ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet; add the shallots. Cook until beginning to soften, 1 minute. Add the pepper strips; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until beginning to soften, 5 minutes. Stir in chopped tomatoes; cook, 5 minutes.
2. Clear space in the middle of the skillet by pushing peppers and tomatoes to the edges. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the middle of the skillet. Season chicken with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken to skillet; cook, turning, until browned on both sides, 10 minutes.
3. Pour vinegar over vegetables; stir vegetables and chicken together, coating chicken with the cooking juices. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover skillet. Cook until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are done, 5 minutes.
Per serving: 614 calories, 33 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 313 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 59 g protein, 796 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.