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By Greg Nicoll and Andy Adams

Here is a motto to make your cruisin’ lifestyle better; know your boat, know your mechanic and know your butcher! Plan your course and chart your meals.

In my younger days, while I was in training to someday become the Galley Guy I appear to be now, I enjoyed learning how to cook at home.

You’d think my wife would’ve been appreciative, but she never failed to point out that (when I was finished) there wouldn't be a clean pot or utensil left in the entire house. Cleaning up is enough of a chore when you have an automatic dishwasher, but on the boat, learning how to make a great dinner using just one pot starts to look like a great idea.

For this one-pot chicken recipe, I have a stainless steel frying pan with a copper bottom. What makes this particular pan more useful than most is that it came with a high, rounded lid. It can accommodate bulky vegetables, larger pieces of meat and the lid is tight enough that it can make rice too.

So, with fellow Galley Guy, Greg Nicoll, we took my covered frying pan over to the yacht basin at Crate Marine Sales in Keswick, Ontario. Almost within walking distance of Crates is The Queensway Market operated by Peter Springer and his wife. Peter is the butcher of choice for many of the families who keep their yachts at Crates. Peter joined Greg and me onboard one of Crates’ magnificent big Carver yachts, a 42SS model that has a spacious galley and a raised dinette.

This is a boat with generously sized, double stainless-steel sinks, a nearly home-sized refrigerator and a ceramic, flat top, two-burner stove. In spite of the great accommodations, I still detest washing dishes, especially pots, so the one-pot recipes really appeal.

Few meats are as versatile or as universally popular as chicken. It's a choice that almost everyone welcomes and there are simply countless recipes for preparing it. On the other hand, chicken needs to be handled properly. When it comes to health matters, chicken is fairly delicate. Our master butcher, Peter Springer has some valuable suggestions on how to handle chicken.

Preparing for our Galley Guys get-together, we also looked to our old friend Eddy Sokoloff at Churchill Cellars to make a wine suggestion to go with our one-pot chicken dinner. Given the wide range of fresh summer vegetables we planned to include and the liberal dose of garlic, Eddy thought an interesting choice would be a 2006 Nottage Hill Shiraz. We decided to call it “Sea-Raz”! Another excellent choice, of course, would be a Pinot Grigio to pick up on the citrus in the recipe.

Although we served our meal without a starch, you could start off your one-pot meal by making a couple of cups of rice to provide a bed for the dinner. Do the rice first in your covered skillet and put the rice aside until a few minutes before you plan to serve. Many power and sail cruising boats come with a microwave for reheating.

This is a recipe you can make ahead but fresh grated lemon rind and freshly chopped tarragon gives you a marvelous explosion of flavours. If you leave the marinade more than an hour, however, it seems to lose its edge.


RECIPE
2 cups of rice (optional)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed of all fat)
1 tbsp. butter
1 cup peeled baby carrots
1 cup cauliflower cut up
½ cup button mushrooms
½ cup snow peas
½ cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Marinade
3 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp. crushed garlic
2 tbsp. finely grated lemon rind
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

First, mix the marinade in a Ziploc storage bag by finely chopping the tarragon and mixing that in the bag with the crushed garlic, grated lemon rind and 3 tbsp. the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place the 4 chicken breasts in the bag, and gently shake the breasts until they are evenly coated in the marinade. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Next, make the rice according to the directions and reserve in a microwavable serving bowl.

Place your skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining olive oil and salted butter. When melted, add the chicken breasts and cook for about 4 minutes a side or until the juice runs clear and the breasts are lightly browned.

Add carrots, cauliflower, button mushrooms and snow peas. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook covered for 5 minutes.

Remove the breasts to avoid over-cooking and continue cooking the vegetables covered, for another 5 minutes or until tender. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon leaving the juices in the pan.

Increase heat to high and add the white wine, gently stirring with a wooden spoon or paddle. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer about 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Melt in the unsalted butter then return the breasts and vegetables to the pan, increasing to medium heat for 2 minutes or until the food is hot.

While the breasts and vegetables are re-heating, place the serving bowl of rice, covered, in the microwave and reheat.

Serve over the bed of rice and dress with the sauce from the pan.


TIPS FROM THE PRO

Chicken can spoil easily and you will not want to have fat trimmings in the onboard garbage for long.

Arrange with your butcher to trim your chicken, portion it out, vacuum pack it and freeze it in advance unless you plan to prepare it right away.

Chicken needs to be kept under 40 degrees F at all times. Consider placing your vacuum-packed, frozen chicken in the refrigerator onboard. As long as the temperature remains below 40 degrees F, it will take nearly a week to fully thaw and can even help the refrigerator draw less power.

Never allow raw meats to contact other foods through utensils, cutting boards or counter surfaces. Avoid cross-contamination. Galleys can be cramped for space, but do not risk food-borne illness.

Having a meat thermometer onboard is a good idea. Grilled or cooked, the chicken should reach an internal temperature of 190 degrees F.

For vegetables and fruit, we have found that Ziploc vegetable storage bags can keep even lettuce crisp and fresh tasting for several days in a refrigerator.