I try to keep my routine as simple as possible. While I really do enjoy cooking, I have precious little free time outside of work and other commitments – and what I don’t enjoy is spending all of that free time in the kitchen. Which can pose a problem when you take quick-fix convenience items like bread and pasta out of the mix. Of course, the benefits of eating Primal obviously far outweigh the convenience of eating crappy processed food, so I have to find other ways to simplify. I’ve already mentioned my penchant for leftovers, which makes life infinitely easier. But the absolute best is finding a delicious, simple recipe that’s fairly quick to prepare and provides leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. This one is a winner.
My favorite thing about this recipe is that it can be scaled for whatever amount of time you have free for cooking. If I need a super quick and light dinner, I make this with only bacon and asparagus and it takes about 15 minutes. If I have a little extra time, I add in the sautéed diced onions. And if I have 30 to 40 minutes to spare, then I go all out with the roasted garlic and chicken. But, honestly, a little over half an hour to make a dish as good as this one really is worth the extra time.
UPDATE: My friend Thom and I made a video of me making this recipe for the Primal Blueprint 30 Day Challenge over at Mark’s Daily Apple. Unfortunately it didn’t make it to the final cut, but we had fun making it and I think these may become a regular addition here.
Warm Bacon & Asparagus Salad with Roasted Garlic and Chicken
1 head of garlic
4-5 slices of bacon
1 pound boneless free-range chicken breasts
½ medium onion, diced
1 bunch of asparagus (about a pound) chopped into 1 inch pieces
salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Prep the head of garlic by peeling off the outer “paper”, leaving the cloves intact. Then trim about a ¼ of an inch off the top of the garlic head, so that you can see each clove. Brush the exposed tops of the garlic cloves with melted butter, season with salt and pepper, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast for 35-40 minutes (until soft).
Use the first 10 or 15 minutes of the garlic’s roasting time to prep the chicken for baking, chop the veggies, and begin frying the bacon. Brush the chicken with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set aside in a foil lined baking dish. Dice ½ of a medium sized onion and set aside in one bowl. Chop the asparagus into 1 inch sized pieces and set aside in another bowl. Then fry the bacon until crisp, allow to cool, and crumble into small pieces. Leave the bacon fat in the pan. (If there is too much, pour a little into a separate bowl and save it to add in later.)
When the garlic has 20-25 minutes of cooking time left, put the chicken in the oven and begin cooking the veggies. Sauté the diced onion in the pan with the bacon fat for a couple of minutes, until it begins to brown. Then add the chopped asparagus and sauté with the onions for 4-5 minutes, until softened and bright green. Next add the crumbled bacon back into the pan, stirring to combine.
By this point, the garlic and chicken should both be ready to come out of the oven. I like to unwrap the garlic and put it in the refrigerator for a couple of minutes while dealing with the chicken so that it’s cool enough to handle. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and add to the pan, also adding any reserved bacon fat or a tablespoon of butter if needed. Peel each garlic clove from the head and toss the whole cloves into the pan.
Stir everything together, and it’s ready serve!