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quarta-feira, 11 de janeiro de 2012

#GASTRONOMIA: Chicken Parmigiana

This is one of the go-to dishes I make for my family of six. Rich, flavorful, and totally satisfying, we all love it, including my big, strapping cowboy of a husband. And that’s a very, very good thing.
Break out the good Parmesan for this one, my friends. It’s the right thing to do.

Begin with four to six boneless, skinless, trimmed chicken breasts. And please: do not be afraid of the raw chicken. I’m actually beginning to believe fear of raw chicken is a diagnosable phobia. I’ve seen people run from the room, squirm on the floor, and cry for their mamas.

Place the chicken breasts inside of a Ziploc bag—either one at a time or, if the bag is gigantic like this one, all at once. Close the seal, leaving about an inch unsealed to allow air to escape. I put them inside Ziplocs so that when I pound the heck out of them here in a second, microscopic particles of raw chicken will not end up across the room on my computer’s keyboard.
Now THAT would gross me out the door.

Pound the chicken with the smooth side of a mallet.

You want them to be very thin–about 1/8 to 1/4″ thick.

Add the flour to a large plate. Season with salt (mine’s kosher)…

And pepper. Stir flour mixture together.

Season one side of the chicken with salt and pepper, then place that side down on top of the flour mixture.

Then season the other side.

The raw chicken is almost over. I promise.

Once it’s seasoned and dredged in flour, place on a plate while you repeat with the rest of the chicken.

Now it’s ready to cook!

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add olive oil.

And butter. The small amount of butter will help the chicken turn a nice golden brown without totally smoking up the place.

When everything’s nice and heated, add the chicken to the pan.

Cook on the first side until the edges start getting golden brown…

Then flip over to the other side and cook another couple of minutes.

You want the chicken to be nice and golden and crisp.

Place the chicken on a plate and keep warm.

Now chop up an onion…

And some garlic…


Then add them to the same skillet over medium-low heat. And for the love of all things that are good and right in the world, do not clean the pan first! We want all that deliciousness to remain.

Stir them around and allow them to cook for a couple of minutes.

Then grab some wine. My friend April brought me this from Douglas County, Kansas—this, and about 700 other bottles. Who knew Kansas wine was so delicious?

And when the onions have cooked for a couple of minutes…

Pour in a good 1/2 to 3/4 cup of wine.

Allow it to heat up and bubble…

Until it turns a deep color and is reduced by half. Mmmm. This is where the flavor is.

Next, in go the crushed tomatoes!

Stir it together until it’s all combined and allow to simmer over medium heat. The flavors will just keep getting deeper and deeper.

Now add a little sugar. This’ll counteract the acidity of the tomatoes and add a nice flavor balance. Or something like that.

Add some salt and pepper, too, then allow the sauce to cook for a good 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, grate a bunch of Parmesan. This is the time to break out the good stuff.

After it cooks for awhile, add some chopped parsley to the sauce.

And add just a little Parmesan, just for kicks.

Stir it together, then stand and admire what you have created, for it is good. For it is very, very good.

Give the sauce a final stir, then carefully place the chicken breasts on top.

Next, completely cover the chicken with Parmesan.

If this is wrong, well…I don’t want to be right. I repeat that mantra several times a day.
Oh! And hint: if I have fresh basil on hand, sometimes I’ll lay a couple of leaves on my piece of chicken just before I sprinkle on the cheese. Try it sometime.

Now, put the lid on the pan and simmer for a few minutes…

Mmmm. I love what happens to the chicken during this stage.

I always wind up adding more cheese, too. It’s the kinda gal I am. Repeat after me: if some is good, more is better.

Now just sprinkle on some more parsley…


And it’s ready!

Now, guess what? If you wanted to, you could serve this chicken on a big, fat sandwich.

But to me, dinner isn’t dinner unless there’s some degree of noodle involvement. I always sprinkle on a little Parmesan. For luck.

Then lay one of the chicken breasts slightly to the side of the pasta.

And cover the noodles with extra sauce.

Guess whose dinner this is? I’ll give you a hint: he’s not a woman, he’s not a kid, and he castrates calves for a living.

And he’s getting ready to be a very happy person. Enjoy this! It’s a real crowd pleaser, and always fun to make.

Recipe: Chicken Parmigiana

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  • 4 whole (up To 6) Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Trimmed And Pounded Flat
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 3/4 cups Wine (white Or Red Is Fine)
  • 3 cans (14.5 Oz.) Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/4 cube Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 pound Thin Linguine

Preparation Instructions

Mix flour, salt, and pepper together on a large plate.
Dredge flattened chicken breasts in flour mixture. Set aside.
At this time, you can start a pot of water for your pasta. Cook linguine until al dente.
Heat olive oil and butter together in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted and oil/butter mixture is hot, fry chicken breasts until nice and golden brown on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm.
Without cleaning skillet, add onions and garlic and gently stir for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, getting all the flavorful bits off the bottom. Allow wine to cook down until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
Pour in crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Add sugar and more salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook for 30 minutes. Toward the end of cooking time, add chopped parsley and give sauce a final stir.
Carefully lay chicken breasts on top of the sauce and completely cover them in grated Parmesan. Place lid on skillet and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until cheese is melted and chicken is thoroughly heated. Add more cheese to taste.
Place cooked noodles on a plate and cover with sauce. Place chicken breast on top and sprinkle with more parsley. Serve immediately.


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