Monday, August 10, 2009

Recipe : Four Step Chicken

Since I've had my baby boy, I have been watching a lot of TV. Probably too much. Right after WEB was born, there were several marathons of Jon + Kate Plus 8 on. I think I have seen just about every episode they've ever filmed at least once. Being up at all hours of the day and night helps make that possible. Then I went through a phase of watching nothing but HGTV. This is deadly when you have no money to spend on designing or re-designing your house, especially when I am already an Interior Designer. I got to take out some of my design frustration on my parents' house, which they loved until my Dad told me to stop spending his money...ha ha!

I am now trying to take a more avid role as the chef in the house. My husband has always been the cook of the house. He loves to BBQ, and just about everything he's ever made is a hit. Well, he works all day now. He leaves around 9am and doesn't get home until 6:30pm or sometimes later and he's tired when he gets home. He doesn't always feel like making dinner, so we got into the rut of going out to eat all the time, which is not budget friendly. I've been trying to help him out more by making dinner for us. Watching Food Network has really helped boost my confidence in my cooking ability. I may not be a great chef, but I can follow a recipe to a T.

I watched The Next Food Network Star a little bit here and there throughout the season. The winner, Melissa d'Arabian, is awesome. I'm so glad she won because she's so full of great tid bits of info that help a busy mom out. She used to work in a corporate setting with 4 little kids running around. So when she got home, she needed to make dinners that were fast and easy and delicious. Here is her recipe that won her the competition.
Flexible 4-Step Chicken for Family and Company - Rustic Lemon-Onion Chicken
Recipe courtesy Melissa d'Arabian
Cook Time: 30 min
Level: Easy
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

: 30 min
Cook: 30 min
Total: 1 hr 0 min

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced in half crossways (butterflied, cut all the way through)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine, optional
1 cup chicken broth
3 lemons, juiced
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
Spinach "bed", recipe follows

Season chicken with dried thyme and salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the oil. Dredge the chicken in flour, add to the hot oil and saute until cooked through. Set chicken aside to rest on plate tented with foil.
In same saute pan, over low heat, add onions and fresh thyme and cook until aromatic.
In a measuring cup, measure out wine, if using, and broth, and add the lemon juice. Turn the heat up to high, and deglaze the pan with the broth mixture until starting to reduce.
Remove the pan from the heat and finish the sauce by whisking in butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place a bed of cooked spinach on a serving platter, top with the chicken. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Spinach "bed":
1 bag pre-washed fresh spinach
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Microwave spinach in a microwave-proof dish with a few tablespoons of water on high for 5 to 6 minutes, or until hot. Drain, and toss with butter, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, to taste.
The Food Network Kitchens chefs have not tested this recipe and therefore, we cannot make representation as to the results.

I didn't follow this recipe exactly. I made some changes and I think it made the recipe a little easier...especially for us novice cooks.
- Instead of a bed of spinach, I just made some rice in our rice cooker. Super easy and saves lots of time because you don't have to do anything. 1 cup of rice + 1 cup of water and plug it in. Done!
- I skipped the lemon altogether. I sauteed my chicken, set it aside, and then sauteed 1 chopped onion and some mushrooms. Then I added beef broth instead of chicken broth - we only had beef broth and I think it turned out tastier. I used white wine, which we also had to drink with the meal, and a splash of lemon juice - because again, that's all we had.
- It took me a smidge less than 1 hour to make and cook this meal, and that was with my little mis-steps, so I think she buffered that a lot.

Some of my little mis-steps:
- I had really thick chicken breasts. I should've pounded them out so they would cook faster but didn't think about it until after they were already cooking. Now I know for next time...
- There was a lot of liquid that would've taken a long time to reduce down to a sauce. Hubby suggested I made a quick rue to add to it so it would thicken up faster. That did the trick. Melt some butter in a separate pan - about 1 Tbsp. Once that is melted, add about 1 Tbsp of flour and mix it up so it's smooth. Then just throw that mixture into your sauce, mix it up, and remove the pan from the heat. It will thicken up in no time!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can change it up. You can put whatever seasonings you want into the dredge with the chicken and it's a whole new recipe. You can change the vegetables and it's a whole new recipe. You can use different broths and it's a whole new recipe. You could probably change out the chicken for pork chops and, again, it would be a whole new recipe. Just the steps are the key to the recipe. You get the idea...

Melissa's show on the Food Network is $10 Dinners. You bet your sweet keester that I'll be recording that show every week! Easy dinners on a budget! Right up my alley!

No comments:

Post a Comment

We love to hear your thoughts, good bad or random! We love comments of all kinds!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Design by Eedee Design Studios