Busting a rut: Chicken With Potatoes, Onions & Cilantro Pesto

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It's the holidays, and for us, that means cookie baking, gingerbread house making, partying with friends and family, and, unfortunately, fatigue.  Despite my best intentions, I'm always "too busy" at this time of year.  I'm so looking forward to that stretch of time between Christmas and New Year's, when our family unplugs and unwinds for the week . . . jammies 'til noon, lazy lunches of leftovers, puzzles, games, and catching up casually with friends we don't see often enough.

So I've been in a cooking rut, which is why you've not seen much that's inspiring here.  Lots of Crock-Pot items - and while they're certainly convenient and can be tasty, I've never had a knock-your-socks-off meal from the Crock.

But last night I got crazy and tried a new recipe, and it was a winner, I tell you!  I stumbled upon this blog last week, and I'm so excited to keep cooking her recipes.  I happened to have local sweet potatoes, onions and garlic in the house, along with a bunch of cilantro, so this was kismet! This recipe does involve some chopping, so I'd say it clocks in around 45 minutes, but your efforts will be rewarded with a blast of interesting and luscious flavors that'll make your taste buds stand up and take notice. Trust me.  D. and I both sat back after a forkful and said "wow! this is one of the best dinners we've had in a loooong time!"  In fact, we were so hot to dig in, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product - so here's L's photo of D's plate, which was more presentable than mine.



Chicken With Potatoes, Onions & Cilantro Pesto (adapted from Taste of Beirut)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 4 oz. each
3 large onions, halved and then sliced about 1/4-inch thick
2 or 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
8 garlic cloves, chopped, then mashed with a dash of Kosher salt
1 c. chopped cilantro
one lemon

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet (cast iron is great here) and brown the chicken a few minutes on each. Set aside.

Add a little more oil if necessary and fry the onions and potatoes until browned. Add the chicken, along with any accumulated juices and the broth to the skillet, cover and cook for approximately 10 minutes until the veggies are soft and the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil over low heat and add the mashed garlic and chopped cilantro.  Fry for approximately  one minute, or just until fragrant but not browned.  Add the cilantro pesto to the chicken and veggies and mix.

Taste for seasoning, add salt & pepper as desired.  Add the juice of one lemon and serve.

Serves 4.