Steamed Chicken & Garden Vegetables
by Michael Feker, Chef, Il Mito, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
There’s more to this dish than bright aromatics and great flavor: When you steam protein with vegetables, the ingredients cook in their own juices, retaining moisture, flavor, and nutrients. It’s a smart and simple way to prepare a healthy and delicious meal.
- 4 boneless skinless Smart Chicken breasts
- ½ red onion, sliced into half-moons
- 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced on the bias
- 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 4 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 head fennel, bulb sliced into 1/8-inch half-moons; reserve stems for the sauce
- 1 ea. red, yellow, and green bell pepper, julienned*
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¾ cup chicken stock
- ½ pound small red potatoes, quartered
- 1 lemon, cut into thin rounds
- 12 ounces artichoke hearts, quartered
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, pits removed and slivered
- 2 teaspoons capers, roughly chopped
- 5 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 4 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
*To julienne peppers, position the pepper upright and slice the sides of each pepper to remove the outer walls in flat, square pieces. Cut the square-pieces into thin strips for julienne cuts. For this recipe, dice the remaining flesh from the bottom and top (around the stem) of the pepper and reserve for the steaming liquid.
Heat a stainless steamer pot, or the bottom of a double boiler with a basket insert, over low heat. Add half of the onions, half of the carrot, half of the garlic, and the chopped tomatoes to the pot. Peel the fennel stems, finely chop and add them to the pot. Add the diced ends of the bell peppers to the pot. Sauté at low temperature for about 3 minutes until the onions turn soft and translucent. Add chicken stock and white wine. Increase heat and allow mixture to come to a boil. Add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile toss all remaining ingredients in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken in the steamer basket first, making sure there is enough space between your chicken breasts for the steam to penetrate evenly. Top the chicken with the remaining vegetables. Position the steamer basket or insert over the steaming liquid, and cover the top. Steam until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve chicken with steamed vegetables and steaming liquid sauce.
Pairing: Enjoy with a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc.