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Lemon Chicken with Shallots & Asparagus

Shallots and AsparagusMy husband loves shallots. He is always requesting shallots in his food, even encouraging me to replace onions with shallots whenever possible. I don’t mind these requests at all since I love them too. I clipped this recipe many years ago when we were dating and I was eagerly wooing my then-boyfriend with any dish featuring his favorite ingredient. Needless to say, the recipe was a total hit, we are now married with a kid! I pulled this recipe out a few weeks ago after not having made it for a few months. It was a delicious as ever and perfect for Naptime Chef-ing.

One of my most important Naptime Chef time-saver techniques is to pre-chop vegetables and prepare meat or poultry ahead of time whenever possible. In this case, during afternoon naptime I seasoned the chicken breasts and placed them, covered, in a pan in the fridge for the remainder of the afternoon. Then I peeled and quartered the shallots, zested and juiced the lemons, and trimmed the asparagus, all of which were placed in individual glass bowls in the fridge for that evening. When it came time to prepare the dish all I had to do was set up my bowls next to the stove and add everything, bit by bit, to the skillet. The asparagus was perhaps the easiest thing to do, merely requiring that I set it in a steamer basket for a few minutes while the chicken was bubbling away. When I prep everything ahead of time this dish takes minutes to assemble and is a perfect family dinner.

Lemon Chicken with Shallots and Asparagus

adapted from Food & Wine 2005
3 T. Olive Oil
2 Bone-in chicken breasts
Salt & Pepper
4 shallots, peeled and quartered
1 cup of water
2 T. unsalted butter
1 bunch thin asparagus, ends trimmed
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1. In a large skillet heat olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper, place the pieces in the skillet and brown evenly, about 10 minutes.
2. Add shallots to the chicken and cook for additional 2 minutes.
3. Add water to chicken and shallots and cover with tightly fitting lid. Let the water simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and place cleaned asparagus in a steamer basket over the water to cook. Remove asparagus once it is tender, but still green. About 3-4 minutes.
5. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Add lemon juice and zest to the remaining cooking water with the shallots. Bring it to a boil and reduce sauce for about 3 minutes. Finish sauce with the unsalted butter, swirling it in the water to melt.
6. Pour the sauce over the chicken and asparagus to serve. Be sure to add several of the cooked shallots to each plate, they are delicious.

Naptime Notes:
Naptime Recipe Props: This meal bears all of the hallmarks as the perfect Naptime Chef dish, a lot can be done ahead of time and the dish is consistently delicious. Feel free to add whatever else you would like to the dish depending on your mood. You might like to try using haricot vert instead of asparagus, for example, or try adding more shallots if you so desire.
Naptime Stopwatch: The naptime prep took about 30 minutes. Then, the actual cooking time is about 25 minutes.
Naptime Reviews: Obviously my husband adored this dish. My daughter loved the chicken, which I cut up into little bits for her. However, she still finds asparagus too strong for her young palate, so I substituted peas instead.

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