Hangry Cooking Gone Cedar Wrapped Chicken & Stuff
Grocery shopping at Sprouts yesterday was a panic attack waiting to happen. I didn’t go with a list or any comprehensive grocery acquiring plan. I was hungry and even worse, I was so tired I made my mom drive me back to our apartment in fear that I’d pass out or spontaneously combust at the wheel. All you need to know about this situation is that it was a shit show. If that still isn’t registering, recall that scene from My Girl where Vada is nonchalantly throwing random cans of food in the cart. That was me today- only more thoughtless and wandering around in circles looking for hummus for at least 12 minutes.
While I was shopping near the meat section, I came across cedar wraps. I asked a butcher if he had ever used them and he replied in a rather short, snappy tone , “No. But they keep things moist. Moist is good. *grunt*”. I may be making up the grunt part but the dude clearly wasn’t in the mood for polite conversation. I cheerfully annoyed him by saying, “Cool! I’ll totally have to try them!” in my best “I’m as dumb as I look” voice.
Side note: playing the overly enthusiastic blonde card is always a good idea when people are grumpy and you’re temped to be grumpy back. You end up feeling better and they feel more confused.
Moving right along…
By the time I made it home to put away the groceries and cook dinner, I had no idea what we actually had in the kitchen. I knew one thing- I was using that stinking cedar wrap no matter what.
After little deliberation, I decided I would marinate some chicken breasts in a marinade I frequently concoct for the grill, wrap those breasts in bacon, put some asparagus on top and wrap that whole shebang in cedar wraps. While it would have been way more delicious on a grill, this is spring training and I’m limited to a stove top and an oven- I just make it work.
The following is what I came up with on a few hours of sleep and with little brain power. You could stretch this recipe to the moon and back. Use prosciutto instead of bacon. Add some goat cheese. Maybe some brown sugar. Baby spice. Sporty Spice. Posh Spice. Get creative! Recipes aren’t meant to instruct, they’re meant to inspire. (Unless you really suck in the kitchen… In that case, read this post carefully and follow it like food paparazzi).
2 large Chicken breasts
6 strips Center cut bacon
12 stalks of asparagus
(Forgot to tell you.. Cedar wraps are usually near the meat department. If you don’t see them, ask the butcher & hope (s)he’s more friendly than Mr. Moist)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons mesquite seasoning
1 tablespoon minced garlic (or about 2 cloves)
1. Mix all ingredients for marinade
2. Rinse & trim fat from chicken breasts
3. Combine. Marinate chicken breasts for 30-60 mins
4. Soak cedar wraps and butcher string for 30 mins
(In order to keep the cedar wraps submerged, you may have to get as crafty as I did and put something on top of them. I marinated the chicken in a smaller Pyrex than the one I soaked the cedar wraps in so I stacked them. BOSS)
ALERT: DON’T FORGET TO PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 375!
5. Lay your cedar wraps out with the bacon on top. The following photo was my first idea… It was awful. If the chicken breasts I was working with hadn’t seen Dr. 90210, this might have worked.
This idea however… much better.
The bacon is laid so that it’s flush with the right edge, I put the breast on top, then I wrapped the bacon around.
NOTE: smaller breasts wont require 2 pieces of cedar wrap but these breasts did.
6. Add a bit of the marinade on top of the bacon.
7. Lay 6 asparagus spears on each bacon wrapped breast.
8. Add another cedar wrap on top and wrap it all around the meaty short stack.
9. Tie the butcher string to make it appear like a parcel of foodie goodness.
10. Put them in a Pyrex dish with about a cm of water at the bottom.
11. Bake your breasts according to size. Like I said, these were on Pam Anderson’s level so I put them in at 375 for an hour.
I left the bottom cedar wrap on the plate to make it seem like I did something fancy. To my knowledge, that tactic didn’t have much impact.
-Cedar wraps seem more suitable for grilling but does cool tricks in the oven too. Mat said the flavor was phenomenal and cooked all of the way through the meat.
-I should have put the breasts back in the oven for 5 minutes on broil to make the bacon a little more crispy but no one complained.
-I now have 49842 million ideas for cooking with cedar wraps. It was fun.
Let me know if you find yourself experimenting and I will do the same. I need a broader audience. My one picky eater is starting to stifle my creativity.
That’s all for now folks!
Peace, love and I miss bacon.