Pan Seared Chicken with Succotash and Micro Greens

As the last traces of summer start to fade away and the weather becomes more suitable for chai tea and sweaters, I find myself wanting to cling on to the last little bits of summer. I love the change of seasons, something about it is good for my spirit. The new smells, the brisk air, the seasonal produce that’s sure to follow. I love it all, but every once and a while I catch myself wishing we had just a few more weeks of the beautiful summer produce the southeast has to offer. From lady peas to brightly colored heirloom tomatoes, from crisp cucumbers to the rainbows of local peppers, there’s nothing like a farmer’s market in Georgia. So this week I decided to celebrate the last few bits of summer, using what we had left over from last week’s market and whatever I could find in the garden.

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Pan Seared Chicken with Succotash:

Pan Seared Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless organic chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon honey
salt/fresh ground pepper (to taste)
fresh herbs for marinade (optional)

3 ears of corn
1/2 lb of bacon strips, fat rendered
1 1/2 c. summer peas (lady peas, baby limas, butter beans, etc.)
1 1/2 c. summer squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes (roughly 2-3 squashes)
1 large onion, fine dice
salt/pepper (to taste)

Micro Greens Salad (for finishing):
3/4 cup washed micro greens
1 Tablespoon basic vinaigrette

(Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.)

1. Pre-measure all ingredients and set aside for easy use while cooking. Prep the summer squash into 1/2 inch cubes and finely dice the yellow onion. This doesn’t have to be exact, but the closer the are in size, the more evenly they’ll cook.

2. Mix red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, any herbs being used, and season to taste (I used roughly 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper). Place chicken in an airtight plastic bag and add marinade; shake well. Place marinating chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.

3. Place the 3 ears of corn into the preheated oven, directly on the center rack. Set a timer and allow them to roast for 30 minutes, or until corn is tender. Once cooled, cut corn off the cob and reserve in a bowl for later.

4. Render bacon in frying pan over medium heat until bacon begins to crisp. Keep an eye on the heat so the bacon renders gently, allowing the fat to melt without beginning to burn. Once done, set bacon aside to cool; collect all bacon fat in a separate container for later use. Chop bacon into bits, and save roughly 2 Tablespoons, you can use more or less depending on preference. (You will have leftover bacon after this, and if you’re like me and are not one to let things go to waste, here’s a few ways to use up the extra bits. Two of my favorites would have to be having The Pioneer Woman’s Deep Dish Quiche with bacon, mushroom, and artichoke hearts for breakfast the next day, or Blogging Over Thyme’s twist on a BLT for lunch.)

5. Place sauté pan over medium-low heat, add 1 teaspoon of bacon fat and a splash of olive oil. Once hot, add the cubed summer squash and slowly cook them down until cooked through, but still have a little bit of a bite to them. Season with salt and pepper.

6.  Add summer peas/beans to a medium sized pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 15-25 minutes (depending on the kind of legume used). Cook until peas are done, drain them, and set aside.

7. Remove chicken from fridge, shake off any excess marinade.

8. Heat pan over medium/medium-high heat, add a Tablespoon of Olive Oil once the pan is hot. Then add both chicken breasts, cook for roughly 2-3 minutes then flip and allow to cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. This time will vary based on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts. ** If you are using thicker cuts, I’d recommend searing them and finishing in the oven to allow for a juicier breast.** Remove the chicken from the pan once done, and allow to rest.

9. Add 1 tablespoon of rendered bacon fat to the chicken pan and add the finely diced yellow onion. Cook until tender.  Once tender, quickly add the peas, corn, bacon bits, and squash and quickly sauté. Taste to see if any seasoning is needed and adjust accordingly.

10. Lightly toss whatever micro greens (I grabbed some basil and micro swiss chard from the garden) in the vinaigrette.

11. Plate up and enjoy.

***Side note: Many of these processes can be done simultaneously, so I’d recommend reading through the recipe before beginning to see where you can double up on steps and save time!

Bon appétit!