When to add vegetables and chicken to a sauce?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by andypl22, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. andypl22

    andypl22

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    Hello everyone. I have a sort of "cooking basics" question. I hope it might help me improve one of my frequent recipes :)

    One of my basic recipes is a chicken tomato pasta dish. 

    INGREDIENTS

    2 chicken breasts

    3 stalks of celery
    1 green pepper
    2 carrots
    1 yellow onion
    4 cloves of garlic


    1 small can of tomato paste
    1 can of diced tomatos
    Milk
    Mozarella cheese


    SPICES FOR SAUCE
    ½ tsp basil
    ½ tsp thyme
    ½ tsp oregano
    ½ tsp dried parsley
    ¼ tsp red pepper flakes


    SPICES FOR BLACKENING CHICKEN

    ½ tbsp paprika
    ½ tbsp brown sugar
    ½ tsp cayenne pepper
    ¼ tsp black pepper
    ¼ tsp oregano
    ¼ tsp basil
    ¼ tsp garlic powder
    ¼ tsp cumin
    ¼ tsp salt


    I mix my chicken breasts with the blackening spice.

    I sautee my vegetables. I put in the carrots first, then the green peppers and celery, then the garlic and onions. Shortly after putting in the garlic and onions, I also add the chicken. When the chicken has been mostly cooked, I then add the tomatos, milk and cheese, and other spices and let it cook for another 30 minutes until the sauce thickens.

    MY QUESTION:

    I've read recipes that call for the chicken to be sauteed, then removed, then for the vegetables to be sauteed and also removed, and then for both the chicken and vegetables to be mixed back into the sauce at a later time.

    My question is: what difference does it make? Is there any reason to sautee the chicken and vegetables seperately? While I let the sauce thicken, should they be apart and only added at the end? What effect is caused (if any) by having the vegetables and

    chicken cooking in the sauce while it thickens?

    EXTRA QUESTION:

    As for the spices, is it best to add them in the sauce? Or should they be mixed in the oil as the vegetables sautee? Does it make a difference?

    Thank you so much!

    Andrew
     
  2. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    The veges would be cooked for too long, for my taste. I would put them aside before sauteeing the chicken so they aren't in there the whole time the chicken is cooking. But there's no one right way.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2015
  3. andypl22

    andypl22

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    Maybe this is uninformed, but I somehow thought that by keeping the vegetables in the sauce while the sauce is thickening, the vegetables would... infuse their flavours into the sauce... or something like that? Does that happen? Or will it taste the same either way, and keeping them in the sauce while it thickens just makes them softer?
     
  4. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    I'd say you're right, more flavor would go into the sauce. The vegetables almost blend in with the sauce, right? So you choose which you prefer. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Where did you find this recipe?  There are too many flavors going on here, pasta, sauce, blackened chicken, it's too much for the palette.  

    I often start off by browning the meat and then removing it.  The reason for this is because the seared meat creates a fond in the pan which is the first step in creating a lot of flavor in the dish.  After you remove the meat add your onion first and let it sweat until soft, then add the other vegetables.  The slight caramelization of the vegetables adds another flavor dimension.  

    I would leave out the dried basil and parsley.  They taste like nothing.  Instead choose one of those herbs and buy it fresh, add it at the very end right before you serve the sauce.  If you want flavor, that one will pop!
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Saute the chicken first for better flavor then take it out put the veges .  in same pot so chicken fat helps cook them . Add herbs and spice at this point especially if they are dry. By doing this way all flavors and spices will combine. Why blackened chicken?? Recipe is to busy.
     
  7. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    There are other ways to balance the equation of when to add the chicken. Where you're using breasts but may want to keep the meat in the sauce for longer in the cooking, then change the cut of chicken. Breast can't be cooked that long before becoming dry and stringy and losing its flavor. But if you use the dark meat from the leg, then it can take the longer cooking and offer deep satisfying flavor. Going further, keep it on the bone. You can remove the skin which doesn't do so well in a braise and will cut the fat but the bone adds more flavor to the dish as well.  If you've chosen breast for it's lower fat, use less dark meat, but bump up the protein with a whole mixed grain pasta, or quinoa or add some beans to the dish, perhaps chickpeas or lentils.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  8. andypl22

    andypl22

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    Thank you all for the excellent advice.

    A few have commented that there's too much going on in this recipe. I guess that I kind of thought that more spices = more flavour. Would you just add the chicken without any added spices? Wouldn't that be a bit plain? If I did that, would I maybe want to ramp up the amount I put in the sauce?