A little bitterness is ok. It’s not so good in relationships, after elections, or in the workplace, but it’s fine in a good Manhattan or tossed with pasta and some leftover chicken. In fact, pastured dark meat chicken is so meaty that a good bitter green really balances the dish. There might be another version of this dish to be made with white meat chicken and a more neutral green like spinach but for me, it’s better go for the fuller flavors. Escarole is available now at many farmers markets but if you have trouble finding it, you could easily substitute mustard greens, ramps, or even arugula. Talk to your farmer. It’s a fun way to do your shopping.
It’s important to stretch farmers market proteins. They are far more delicious than almost any meat to be found shrink-wrapped at the supermarket, but they are also more expensive. There are many reasons for this, most of them related to the higher land and labor costs of smaller scale, responsible farming. but as a home cook, it’s not hard to bring the cost per meal down by doing some creative things with the leftovers and possibly changing your cooking and eating style a few nights a week. (Here is an earlier post about making farmers market chicken more affordable).
Lately, I’ve been enjoying the ‘leftover meals’ even more than the more protein-heavy ones. It might be the season, or it might be the fun of making such tasty meals in such a short amount of time and for so little money. I’m not sure. It didn’t even bother me that I wasn’t invited to the roast chicken dinner that my neighbors threw last Thursday. Actually, that might just be sour grapes. Or bitter ones. It doesn’t matter. This dish is yummy.
Pasta with Escarole and Dark Meat Chicken
Farmers Market Bill $7/2 servings = $3.50/serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
Pull the meat off 2 chicken thighs or legs
Chop 2 cloves of garlic or 3 stalks of fresh spring garlic
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
Add garlic and chicken and saute gently for 5 minutes
Add 2 cups of chopped escarole
Add a cup of stock or white wine and lower heat slightly
Cook pasta according to package directions but drain a minute or 2 early
Toss drained pasta into chicken and garlic mixture and re-season with salt, peppper, and some red pepper flakes
Serve in pasta bowls with a quick grating of Pecorino or Parmesan if desired