Tag Archives: Chicken

Remembering Spain with a Pan of Paella!

I have been thinking a lot lately about the trip we took to France and Spain last October. We had never been to Spain before, but we absolutely feel in love with the places we saw! Barcelona was my favorite spot, but Valencia is where I had what I would consider to be authentic paella.

Now, I know there are probably as many versions of paella as Imelda Marcos has shoes. Paella can be prepared many ways and it depends on where you are as to what you are going to get! I saw paella cooked with rice and with pasta (think spaghetti). With pasta it is called fideua. That is traditionally served in Barcelona. Both versions (rice and pasta) can be prepared with pork, chicken and sausage as well as all types of fish and seafood. Some dishes combine a little of each.

I do have to say that they know to serve the stuff up right in Barcelona! We saw the beginnings of a major paella party cranking up outside the Cathedral Sagrada Familia when we were visiting. Here is a picture of what happens when they get to whipping up a big ole batch of the stuff!

Now that's some paella!

I personally prefer the chicken and shrimp version with rice (Valencian paella). I opt out of the whole other seafood thing because you are never really sure what you are going to get (especially when you do not understand much Spanish). I saw some really creepy looking fish in those markets in Spain and the last thing I wanted was some of that stuff in my paella. They call certain seafood “monsters” for a reason! 😉

I have a recipe for paella that I loved to cook before I went to Spain. It was as good as anything I had here in the states and frankly, it was pretty easy and quick. Well, of course, that trip ruined things for me, so now, I prefer the really long version and it is sooooo worth it! That recipe I was using just does not have the depth of flavors that this more authentic version has. This new recipe tastes about as close as I can get to what I had in Valencia. I have made it a few times and it always turn out perfect.

The paella I had in Valencia had chicken and shrimp and some chorizo. This recipe I have found has the same ingredients. My hubby would rather have more seafood than what I care for and since I will not allow “monsters” in my food or anything resembling them, I throw a few Cherrystone Clams in for his benefit!

Not only is this paella authentic…we ate at traditional Spanish dining hours Saturday night! I was languishing on our back deck, enjoying the warm temperatures and a glass of wine with my hubby when I suddenly realized I needed to marinate the chicken and shrimp. Yikes! Dinner at 10 pm. When you plan to make this dish, be sure to plan ahead!

This recipe is adapted from Things Cooks Love by Marie Simmons (the book is available at Sur La Table – my hangout in the ATL)

Chicken, Shrimp, and Chorizo Paella
Serves 6-8

8 bone-in chicken thighs, or 1 large chicken cut into 10 pieces (cut the breast in half, so everything cooks evenly)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
18 large shrimp, peeled, with shells reserved, and deveined (I used 1 lb.)
10 Cherrystone clams
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, bruised, plus 2 tsp. minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish (if you wish)
5-6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I use Swanson’s Organic)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. saffron threads
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 (3-oz.) chorizos, casings removed and cut into 1/4 dice (Spanish chorizo if possible, which is cured, not fresh)
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes with the juices
1 1/2 cups Spanish rice (medium grain)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 lg. lemon, cut into 6-8 wedges, for garnish

1. Generously sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a large bowl or large resealable plastic bag. Add the shrimp, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the bruised garlic, and the chopped rosemary. Cover the bowl, or seal the bag, and refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight.

2. In an 2 1/2 to 3 quart saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and cover to keep hot.

3. in a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until they turn dark red. Add 1 tsp. of the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Add the shrimp mixture to the chicken broth, bring to a simmer, re-cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Set a strainer over a clean saucepan and strain the broth. Discard the shells. Keep broth warm over low heat.

4. Crush the saffron in a mortar with a pestle, or place in a small cup and crush with the back of a spoon. Transfer to a small bowl and add a ladleful of the simmering broth. Cover and let stand until ready to use.

5. When ready to cook the paella, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place them on a plate. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-14 inch paella pan (set over 2 burners if necessary) or an extra-large skillet over medium heat until hot enough to sizzle the chicken. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook the other side for 5 to 8 minutes, or until browned. Return the chicken to a plate. *A splatter screen comes in handy for this sauteing!

6. Add the bell pepper, onion, chorizos, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are browned.

Add the paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the juices boil off and the tomato is dry. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and pour 4 cups of it over the rice. Add the reserved broth (with saffron) and stir into the other ingredients. Arrange the chicken pieces around the outer edges of the pan.

7. Cook uncovered over medium heat, without stirring, for 15 minutes, or until most of the broth has been absorbed by the rice. Taste the rice and add more salt if needed.

8. Tuck the shrimp down into the partially cooked rice, concentrating them in the center area of the pan. Ladle 1 cup of the simmering broth over the rice and cook 5 minutes more. As the rice cooks, it will continue to absorb the broth. Add more broth as needed, tasting the rice each time. It should be tender, but firm. If you run our of broth before the rice is ready, use boiling water.

9. Sprinkle the peas on top. Tuck the clams into the rice and the broth. Lay a piece of extra-wide aluminum foil over the paella for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from the heat and let the paella stand covered for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

When you serve your paella, you should have a browned bottom that looks like this. No, you have not burned your paella! This is called socarrat and this just means you have properly prepared your dish. You actually want the rice and all the yummy juices to do this!

The important things you get to bring home with you from vacations are your memories, your photos, and perhaps some souvenirs. I always enjoy coming home and trying to recreate some of the fabulous dishes I had while I was traveling!

Buen apetito!



Filed under Chicken, Entrees, Paella, Recipes, Rice, Shrimp, Spanish, Valencia

That’s Some Kinda Smokin’ Hot Thai Chicken with Basil!

I should have known better….I know, I know…6 Thai chiles (seeds and all)! I just thought that Cooks Illustrated would not have created a dish THAT hot! Yikes! Aren’t they a bit more conservative??? We are talking meatloaf and apple pie here!

I have a great recipe for Thai Chicken with Basil that I force on my hubby every now and then. It is not his favorite dish, but you know, I just get this craving…similar to the craving for Pad Thai or Tom Yum Soup. I’ve just gotta have it! But, of course, being the cooking kind of gal that I am, I had to try a new version!

So anyway, last night I just had to have this dish and I decided I would give the old Test Kitchen at Cooks Illustrated a shot at my usual recipe and do all the weird things this recipe wanted me to do (chopping chicken breast in the food processor, for one). They do not usually let me down… You never know, sometimes these quirky steps make for great tasting food. I was eying this funky version of Thai Chicken with Basil since I received the January/February issue a month or so ago, so I finally put it into play!

As I mentioned, I am no stranger to Thai chiles and I know just how hot they are, but there was all this chatter in the article on the dish about how the brain reacts to the combination of sweet and sour in Thai dishes. The little bit of added sugar was supposed to counteract all the heat from the chiles and since I am incredibly gullible, I said okay, sure. I will give that a whirl! Well, let me just tell you, that ain’t happening! We like stuff hot, but this was inferno! We are talking chugging water, eating bowls of rice, hunks of bread….! Woe dog! I was surprised to still have a stomach this morning! I was looking to start popping those little purple pills!

If you can get past the heat, there actually was a nice flavor (I think!?) from the very different stir fry method that Cooks Illustrated came up with. There were 2 cups of basil leaves in the dish that were mixed in at different intervals to keep the flavors fresh (who would be able to tell???). I would say 2 to 3 chiles would do the trick for heat and then you might have an eatable stir fry dish. I thought it was quite humorous (or suicidal) that they suggested you might want to pass some more hot stuff for serving as in the addition of red pepper flakes…who are we feeding?? Funny thing is, they said that this was a mild version?! I am beginning to think this was a cruel joke!

I have not had a dinner disaster in awhile, but this was certainly borderline last night. When my hubby says what else is for dinner after I spent all this time cooking and we could barely eat this dish due to the level of heat, then it is a bad night in our house!

Proceed with extreme caution in preparing this recipe (and have a fire extinguisher nearby!)! 😉

Thai-Style Chicken with Basil (from Cooks Illustrated)

* My notes are in parentheses.
2 cups fresh basil leaves , tightly packed
3 medium garlic cloves , peeled
6 green or red Thai chiles , stemmed (cut back on this by at least half!)
2 tablespoons fish sauce , plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon white vinegar , plus extra for serving
1 tablespoon sugar , plus extra for serving
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast , cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium shallots , peeled and thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Red pepper flakes , for serving (yeah, right!)

1. Process 1 cup basil leaves, garlic, and chiles in food processor until finely chopped, 6 to 10 one-second pulses, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula once during processing. Transfer 1 tablespoon basil mixture to small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon fish sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, and sugar; set aside. Transfer remaining basil mixture to 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet. Do not wash food processor bowl.

2. Pulse chicken and 1 tablespoon fish sauce in food processor until meat is chopped into -approximate 1/4-inch pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Transfer to medium bowl and refrigerate 15 minutes.
3. Stir shallots and oil into basil mixture in skillet. Heat over medium-low heat (mixture should start to sizzle after about 11/2 minutes; if it doesn’t, adjust heat accordingly), stirring constantly, until garlic and shallots are golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
4. Add chicken, increase heat to medium, and cook, stirring and breaking up chicken with potato masher or rubber spatula, until only traces of pink remain, 2 to 4 minutes. Add reserved basil-fish sauce mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly until chicken is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Stir in remaining cup basil leaves and cook, stirring constantly, until basil is wilted, 30 to 60 seconds. Serve immediately, passing extra fish sauce, sugar, red pepper flakes, and vinegar separately.

Raw chicken just ain't pretty!

By the way, if you are into food science, here is a link to the Scoville Scale and information concerning how much capsaicin is in certain types of peppers and why we feel the “heat” like we do when eating spicy dishes. Forget about all this other food chemistry stuff! If it has 6 Thai peppers, it’s gonna be HOT!


Filed under Basil, Chicken, Entrees, Hot peppers, Recipes, Thai

Chicken Chasseur (Hunter-style Chicken)

My Chicken Chasseur was supposed to be served for our Valentine’s dinner, however, that did not happen. I did, however, prepare this amazing dish the next evening along with my favorite smashed potato recipe, steamed asparagus and the cute little heart-shaped creme brulees for dessert!

I had been cooking SO much prior to Valentine’s Day because it had been so cold and snowy that I just could not drag myself back into the kitchen. (What else does someone like me do when the weather outside is frightful??) And besides that, we had been eating and drinking and drinking and eating, so it was rather difficult to get motivated once again to get in the kitchen. Some days this girl needs a break! 😉

Instead of terrorizing my kitchen yet again and wearing myself out to the point of total exhaustion, I heated up some Boeuf Bourguignon that was in the freezer and we had creme brulee for dessert on Valentine’s evening. Not too bad, for a last minute Valentine’s Day dinner!

With Boeuf Bourguignon one evening and creme brulee for dessert, followed by Chicken Chasseur, I am beginning feel like I am on a gluttonous French gastronomical tour! Where did my so-called diet go??? I am waiting for temperatures above 40 degrees on a consistent basis and then I will get back to more reasonable cooking. But of course, that reasonable cooking will have to wait until after my dinner party this week. Wait until you see what dishes I am preparing for that! I need to be running laps just thinking about it! 😉

So back to the chicken, Chicken Chasseur is one of my hubby’s favorites that I make. That is why it was intended for Valentine’s Day! I saw Bobby Flay preparing this dish on a Saturday morning several years back. He did a show on French classics (just my kind of stuff!). I, of course, made this dish that evening. It has since become a favorite in our home.

The ingredients are easy enough to find. There are a few steps in preparing the dish, so it is best to have everything chopped and ready to go! You will need a couple of tablespoons of clarified butter to saute the chicken. The recipe also calls for enriched chicken stock. If you do not have your own stock, you can reduce the packaged stuff by half to make enriched stock (I like Swanson’s organic chicken broth when I do not use homemade).

The recipe says to cut the chicken in quarters, however, when I watched this show, the chicken was cut into more pieces (I do not remember how many precisely). We usually cut a chicken into 8 or 10 pieces (10 pieces if the breast is very large). I do serve the chicken on the bone (this recipe says to remove the breast meat from the bone).

The sauce is incredible with the chicken, so be sure to take the time to reduce it properly. Just keep your chicken warm until your sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It does take some time. You then finish it with a knob of butter and some fresh herbs! Voila!

Here is the recipe from Bobby Flay Chicken Chasseur

We served the chicken with a lovely bottle of 1999 Crognolo. Crognolo is a Super Tuscan wine made with the Sangiovese grape. With ten years of aging it struck just the right note. It was phenomenal! This was definitely a bottle that was ready to drink! The cork was fine, but the wine had the potential to not be so good in an other year or two. My hubby took a picture of the cork. Note how far up the cork the wine had penetrated. Had the wine reached the top of the cork, the wine in the bottle would be exposed to air and begin to oxidize. This is just one way a bottle of wine can go bad. On that note, I say, drink up and Bon Appetit!

Chicken Chasseur on Foodista

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Filed under Chicken, Entrees, French, Recipes, Wine

Provencal Chicken

We had a very special dinner this past Saturday night. First of all, it was the one night of the week where we could splurge a little from our new healthy eating lifestyle. We have decided to set aside one evening a week to have a few special things to eat that would not normally be “allowed” every day while trying to eat healthy. It gives us something to look forward to and does not make us feel so deprived from having some of the foods we still enjoy. We also shared a wonderful bottle of Chardonnay that is definitely reserved for special occasions. A romantic dinner for two at home is reason enough to celebrate!

We shared a bottle of 1999 Leeuwin Estate Margaret River Chardonnay. Yes, this wine is 10 years old and has been in the wine cellar for 8 years. We often hear how white wine is meant to be consumed within the first few years of bottling. Except, great white wine will continue to age well for 10 or more years. This was a wonderful white wine. It had aromas of pears, the scent of dried figs and hints of spice and nutmeg. The wine was fragrant and sweet. A product of Australia, this wine possessed a full mouth feel with layers of fruit but does not overpower with butter or French oak which has been a characteristic of California Chardonnays. (Of course, my hubby gave me the wine info!).

The best part about the dinner was that everything was so delicious and so fresh, yet it still was really “lighter food”. The flavors popped, the colors were bright. It truly was a wonderful meal.

The highlight of the dinner was a dish that I have made for many years. It is so simple and easy to improvise with whatever fresh herbs you may have on hand in the fridge. You will, however, be amazed at the fabulous flavors that come from so few ingredients! It is easy, yet elegant and simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner. I assure you that the aroma of the herbs, chicken, garlic and lemon sautéing together will make this a go to recipe in your repertoire.

Provençal Chicken

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 4 lb. chicken, cut into 10 pieces (Use the best free range or organic chicken you can find. I cut the breasts in half since they are so large these days. This allows the breast meat to cook more evenly with the others cuts as it makes them more similar in size.)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 large garlic cloves, cut into quarters
A few sprigs each of fresh thyme, oregano and rosemary
1 cup dry white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Wash and dry the chicken. Pat dry. Sprinkle with kosher salt and ground black pepper on both sides. Heat the oil in a large skillet at medium high heat (you want to cook all the chicken pieces at once). Add the chicken and sauté a few minutes to begin to brown. Then add the garlic and herbs and sauté everything together.

Turn the chicken to brown on the other side and watch the garlic so it does not burn.

Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through (25 – 30 minutes). Turn the chicken over once during cooking.

Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken. If the sauce is not thick enough, remove the chicken and keep warm. Reduce the sauce until it is of desired consistency.

I served this delightful Provençal Chicken with roasted cauliflower with garlic and Parmesan cheese, a fabulous salad (recipe coming soon!) and the Meyer lemon Budino for dessert. Yum! It was truly a memorable meal.

French Roast Chicken on Foodista

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Filed under Chardonnay, Chicken, Entrees, French, Recipes, Wine

Day Four of Ten in 2010

Here is my post for the first 4 days of Week 1 in the Ten in 2010 challenge (10 weeks to getting healthy).

I was feeling a little better yesterday about the lifestyle change (diet). I do feel “lighter”, although the scale was telling me something quite different (until this morning – yeah!). I was so hungry when I went to bed the other night that I was certain I would wake up in the middle of the night and be forced to at least have a glass of warm skim milk to get me back to sleep, but I slept through the night for the most part.

Now armed with a new set of “healthy” recipes, the last few days turned out to be somewhat frustrating as my hubby and I spent the better part of those days driving all over Atlanta looking for certain foods, spices, ingredients and supplements that are in hiding or are elusive….Some of these are things that I have used quite a bit and are sometimes hard to find and then there are items that it seems are nowhere to be found!

We went to Harry’s (Whole Foods Farmer’s Market), the International Market, Publix and several Hispanic and Brazilian grocery stores. Ok, now I wonder if these recipes are playing tricks on me…does anybody really cook with this stuff?? (The International Market does, however, have a whole goat in a bag if you are looking for that!)

With the help of the the internet and the phone, I finally found all of the remaining ingredients and went there yesterday. This truly does becomes absurd. This is why I prefer classic dishes that I can prepare from regular grocery store ingredients. Sometimes the International stuff is just too hard to find. But, I am now feeling better after the 3 days of searching are over and these nifty little ingredients are comfortably sitting in my kitchen! Best of all, I now have new sources for International ingredients.

So, other than that, how am I doing?

Day 1
1. No exercise (other than running through grocery stores all day, cooking and cleaning kitchen)
2. Breakfast – V-8 juice, Kashi cereal with skim milk (I was hungry in an hour), coffee with Stevia (2 cups to wake up!)
Lunch – Greek Salad with 1 tablespoon dressing, water
Dinner – Soup (I liked it, but my husband did not)
3. Wine – Don’t ask
4. Pounds lost – Doesn’t count yet

Day 2
1. No exercise (other than running through grocery stores all day, cooking and cleaning kitchen)
2. Breakfast – V-8 juice, oatmeal with skim milk (I was hungry in an hour), coffee (2 cups always!)
3. Lunch – 1/2 sandwich at Harry’s (Whole grain bread, turkey, swiss, lettuce, mustard), water
4. Dinner- chicken with salsa, brown and wild rice (Lundberg), steamed spinach
5. Wine – Don’t ask
6. Nibbles – I did sneak a few pretzel nuggets. (Thank goodness I am not Carrie Underwood…she has written down EVERY morsel of food she has eaten in the last 3 years! Now I am sorry, but that is just not right! I guess that is why she is Carrie Underwood and I am not!)
7. Pounds lost – Should I really be counting yet?

Day 3
1. Exercised my jaw at the dentist for a cleaning
2. Breakfast – 1/2 grapefruit, 1 egg, 1 slice yummy Sweetwater 460 (yes, the beer) whole wheat bread from Harry’s, coffee
3. Very healthy fish dinner
4. Wine – Don’t ask
5. Pounds lost – Okay I will start now – “0”!

Day 4
1. Exercise – too early in the day to tell (it is only 9 am)
2. Breakfast – had my warm water with lemon, am drinking coffee now
3. Pounds lost – 1 1/2! Whooppeeee!

I feel more like Bridget Jones…maybe I will even start to smoke (just kidding)!

I know I will adjust. It gets easier. My husband just got a Breville juicer yesterday (gotta love Amazon…ordered it from the comforts of the living room and poof! it’s here next day!). He has already concocted an apple, strawberry and celery drink…pretty yummy…pretty messy! He is also checking out reviews on grain grinders so that we make our own breads all the time. Just put that ball and chain right by the stove and come and find me later!

All kidding aside, I did prepare a dish on Day 2 that jumped out at me from the pages of the new Fine Cooking when I saw it. It was screaming colorful and healthy! Besides that, we picked up avocados at the International Market for the bargain price of 2 for $1.00 and my hubby loves avocados. Besides, they are on the good food list for him.

The dish is Chicken Paillards with Avocado and Pomegranate Salsa. It sounded yummy from all the combined flavors in the marinade for the chicken and the salsa (lemon, jalepeno pepper, parsley, pomegranate, green onions). Besides, “paillards” is a French term and I am desperate for anything French at the moment! If you are interested in the recipe, it is in the February/March issue. Click here for the link.

It was a nice dish and quite attractive. It was light, but tasty. I did not make many adjustments other than to make half of the recipe. If I were to make it again, I would add some jalepeno in the marinade for the chicken and probably a bit more in the salsa. The flavors were so subtle, that it needs to be kicked up a notch with some heat. I think that I want stronger flavors in foods when some of the fattier ingredients are missing, but overall, it was a nice dish and certainly appealing to the eye.

So, over all, we are on the right road. My husband is down 3 pounds and I am lighter by 1 1/2 pounds. It makes it easier to stay with the plan when progress is being made. We also get to look forward to one “cheating” day this weekend. Once a week we get to have whatever we want (within reason, of course). It gives us something to look forward each week.

Good luck to all of you with your Ten in 2010 challenge!

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Filed under Avocados, Chicken, Diet, Entrees, Low-fat, Pomegranate, Ten in 2010

The Last Supper (well, not exactly…)

This will be my last “heavy food” post for awhile (I think so, anyway). I had to post it since dinner was really good. We called this meal my husband’s “last supper” because he is really going to be changing everything he eats for the new year and this certainly did not fit into that new lifestyle plan! We had this a few nights ago and are already craving something just like it again!

What better dish could a good Italian boy have for a “last supper” than Chicken Parm??? It was pretty awesome, if I say so myself! I have made this dish many times before (that would be why we are in the position we are in to change how we eat). However, I decided to also take a peek at a new Italian cookbook I received from My Aunt Fran and Uncle Joe (good Philly folks) to see how Chicken Parmigiana was prepared in it. Aunt Fran is friends with the author, Mary Falbo, who has put together a collection of her mother’s old world Italian recipes. The cookbook is Giovanna’s Legacy and the recipes look fabulous. I will be working on making them “healthy” in the New Year! Anyway, it seems that Giovanna and I are on the same page as far as cooking this dish.

So, I prepared the chicken as I normally would have, except I added the flour step prior to the breadcrumbs (Giovanna’s suggestion). I think it did add a little more crispiness to the chicken. Since I do not add much butter/olive oil to the pan (that’s part of my constant diet), I generally do not get a really crispy crust. That is okay because the chicken gets covered up with sauce anyway. I also normally put the chicken in the oven with the tomato sauce and bake it with both the mozzarella and parmesan reggiano cheeses. Giovanna suggested doing the parmesan first and then the mozzarella, so I did that. I needed to put the broiler on just for a few seconds to get the mozzarella cheese to melt and brown just a little bit to finish the dish.

Since I was writing blogs all day and doing other things around the house, I cheated and used another bottle of Del Grosso’s sauce. (It was 8:30 pm by the time we ate dinner!) This time we tried the tomato and basil (gosh, it is so good…why make sauce??). Even I said that I have not had Chicken Parmigiana this good in a restaurant! Yum, what a great last supper!

I served it with a side a spaghetti (of course) and a really nice salad with mixed lettuces, olives, mushrooms and avocados (that is what was in the fridge and cupboard). We always use a great olive oil (the one we had that night is direct from our trip to Tuscany) and a good, or great if you can afford it, balsamic vinegar.

Since this dinner would be for my hubby, here is his quote on our outstanding wine we had that evening. “Chicken Parmigiana requires a wine of substance. One might assume a Chianti Classico would be appropriate to serve with this dish, however, an Italian Super Tuscan (Sangiovese, Cabernet and Cab Franc) possesses the depth of flavor to complement Chicken Parmigiana. Therefore, I chose a bottle of Tignanello. It has a wonderful bouquet of leather (like a horse saddle), tobacco, dark fruits, black currant, and a slight sign of olives. The wine showed gorgeous dark fruits on the palate, plums, cherries and berries with a touch of vanilla to balance out fruitiness. We shared a bottle of the 1998 vintage. This wine has reached its peak and should be used within the next few years. If this is a last supper drink, we can only hope to have more last suppers.” This would be a direct quote from my hubby the wine expert!

Here is the recipe with some additions by Giovanna:

Chicken Parmigiana
Serves 2-3

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Flour (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
Italian breadcrumbs
Olive oil
Unsalted butter (optional)
Marinara or Tomato Basil sauce (homemade or cheat)
Mozzarella cheese, sliced or shredded
Parmigiana Reggiano (a really good one)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pound your chicken breasts until they are flattened into cutlets. Dip cutlets into flour that has been seasoned well with salt and pepper (you can skip this step if you like). Dip chicken into beaten egg and then breadcrumbs. Pour enough olive oil in the pan to have a coat the bottom of the skillet. (I use a mixture of half butter and half olive oil. Be careful not to burn the butter if you use both since it burns at a lower temperature). Cooking over medium heat, brown on one side of the chicken (about 5-6 minutes) and then turn and brown on the other side.

Spray a large casserole dish with Pam or lightly oil it. Put the chicken breasts in the dish and cover the breasts with the sauce (I just use enough to cover the chicken, otherwise, I think it gets too mushy). You can either grate some parmesan reggiano over the sauce and bake the chicken for about 20 minutes until it is done, adding the mozzarella about 5 minutes before the chicken is cooked (Giovanna’s suggestion). Or you can put mozzarella cheese and then the parmesan reggiano on top of the cutlets and bake 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Either way will work.

I have also been known to add sauteed mushrooms which makes for an even heartier dish. I would have thrown them in had there been some in the fridge.

To finish off this gluttonous supper, we just happened to have an extra creme brulee lying around, so we had a few bites of that along with a few bites from a slice of flourless chocolate cake from foodie neighbor friends (it was so good!). That would be the end of the big food for awhile and we enjoyed every bite and every sip of wine.


Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Creme Brulee, Desserts, Italian, Pasta, Recipes