It’s always challenging to make a meal in a kitchen that is not your own. It’s even more so when the kitchen is a 5 foot by 3 foot area, with 2 pans, 1 1/2 feet of counter space, a dull chef’s knife, a yellowed, plastic spatula, and your starting ingredients are a pat of butter and a single-serving of orange juice leftover from the complimentary breakfast that morning.
It’s kind of like Port Townsend Iron Chef with the secret ingredient being whatever you can find within a four block radius of the hotel, carry back and turn into something edible using only the mismatched and bare minimum pans and cutlery supplied by the hotel. Okay, well, there’s not really a time limit or anything and you have no competition and uh, Alton Brown isn’t giving step-by-step commentary or anything but other than that it’s exactly like Iron Chef.
When we first got to the Bishop Hotel, room 14, we noticed a sign out our window announcing the Port Townsend Farmer’s Market every Saturday, from 9:30 – 1:30. That was the real inspiration for making a dinner in our room — well, that and our very nice but a little expensive meal out on Friday.
So, Saturday around 11:00 AM, we trudged up the hill (the market was in “Uptown” — four blocks straight up) and explored. We ended up getting three heads of different garlic varieties (some to bring back!), salad greens, a Hungarian pepper, marjoram, basil, an onion, heirloom tomatoes and some sourdough bread. From the market next door, two chicken breasts, goat cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper combo-pack and an orange. Oh and also some chick peas from the salad bar, along with a vinaigrette.
Fortified with some Port Townsend Amber Ale I began my dinner plan.
Starting to cook in the kitchen in our room
Stuffed Chicken with a Garlic-Orange Sauce and Chick Peas
1 orange, cut in half, slice away 2 nice sections to stuff into the chicken
1 cup orange juice
3 cloves garlic
1 small white onion, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts
3-4 tbsp goat cheese, herbed or plain
2 springs marjoram or oregano
1/4 cup chick peas
salt & pepper
First step — slice the chicken breast and make a pocket. Place your hand on the top of each breast and slice horizontally (carefully!) about half way across, making a secret area for stuffing with goat cheese and an orange slice. Go ahead and do that and also add your herb spring. Salt and pepper the chicken and set aside for about 5 minutes.
Next, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft and just staring to color, 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken breasts, seasoned side down. Salt and pepper the top side now, before you forget. Let brown for about 6-8 minutes, then turn over and give the other side time to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the orange juice and cover the pan. If you are staying in a hotel room and you have no lid for your hotel room pan, fashion a lid out of aluminum foil. Turn the heat down to medium and give it a good 15 minutes to cook through. If you have a meat thermometer, go ahead and use it and let the chicken reach just shy of 165.
Pull it out and lest rest (covered with foil). Squeeze the orange juice from the rest of your remaining orange into the pan and add the chick peas. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes. If you are feeling decadent, stir in a pat of butter. taste and adjust any seasonings. Pour any accumulated juices from the resting chicken into the pan. Another nice thing? All in one pan!
Serve the chicken with the sauce poured over the top. We had the chicken with a salad, the heirloom tomatoes and some sourdough bread. I was very pleased with the way this turned out. First off, the chicken turned out moist and cooked through perfectly and the sauce was very flavorful. I think pouring the orange juice in while the chicken was cooking helped it meld well with the chicken juices.
I think the wrap up here should be that if you stay in a hotel room with a kitchen and free continental breakfast — save your morning’s orange juice!