LOW-CARB SUPER FAST CHICKEN PARMIGIANA

Air-fryer to the rescue again… I will give you pretty loose instructions, because how you make it will depend on your carb goals. If you want to do close to zero carbs, omit the bread crumbs. The texture will suffer a bit, but it will still work. If you want to do moderate carbs, use the mixture I did. I am quite surprised by how much I liked the texture of the meat, and the fact that frying the chicken breast on the stove top before baking was not needed at all. A leap of faith was needed for me to try it the first time. I’ve made it three times ever since.

LOW-CARB AIR-FRYED CHICKEN PARMIGIANA
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, lightly seasoned with salt
2 eggs, whisked with a teaspoon of water, salt and Herbes de Provence to taste
50:50 mixture of bread crumbs and almond flour
(lower carb alternative 50:50 mixture of almond flour + finely grated Parmigiano cheese)
tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese

Dip the chicken breasts in the seasoned whisked egg mixture, coat both sides with your choice of “breading.” Spray the basket of the air-fryer with a little olive oil. Carefully place the pieces of meat side by side in the basket. Turn the air-fryer to 390F and cook for 10 minutes. If you are using very large breasts, cook for 12 minutes, but the recipe works best with smallish pieces of meat.

Gently flip the meat over, add tomato sauce and cheese. Air-fry for 6 additional minutes. Remove the meat and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: There are three little issues that might annoy you with this method. You know I never lie…

First: if you go real low in carbs, the coating is on the soft side. It will be very hard to flip the chicken piece without losing part of it to the basket. Even with the bread crumbs a little bit is lost. I am not sure if the flipping of the piece is necessary, and intend to try without doing it next time.

Second: it makes a bit of a mess in the basket once the cheese melts. I am a neat-freak and that means I spend quite a bit of time cleaning it up and inspecting every little corner. It still does not prevent me from making it, but keep that in mind and don’t get mad at me…

Third: if you have a smallish air-fryer like I do, you can only do two pieces of chicken at a time. It turns out that when I make this, I do the regular kind (stove-top, fried then baked) for the husband, and this lower-carb version for me. But if you are feeding a family of four, this is not a good option.

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A MAGICAL MARINADE

Not too long ago I shared with you the youtube channel from Helen Rennie. I landed there through baking, but quickly realized her area of expertise covers pretty much all things cooking. Including sous-vide. The marinade I am blogging about today works wonders to finalize meat prepared by that method, but I also tried it for straight grilling and was equally blown away by how well it performed. It gives the meat a mixture of sweet, salty and umami. I now call it my default marinade for all things protein, and I bet it will do a great job on tofu. That shall be tested in the near future.

MAGICAL MARINADE
ONE RECIPE, THREE USES
(from Helen Rennie’s youtube channel)

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated through a microplane (I omitted)
1 tablespoon za’atar (optional)
1/2 cup grapeseed or canola oil

Whisk all ingredients except the oil together in a small bowl until completely emulsified. Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly. Your sauce is ready to use.

to print the recipe, click here

PERFECT SOUS-VIDE CHICKEN BREAST
(adapted from Helen Rennie)

Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a bag appropriate for sous-vide cooking. Add 2 teaspoons of the magical marinade and rub it around the meat. Seal the bag and cook for 2 hours at 150F (or your preferred temperature).

Leave the meat to cool in the bag for 10 minutes. Remove from the bag, dry the surface blotting with a paper towel.

Finalize by searing on a hot skillet with a smidgen of olive oil, 30 seconds per side, pressing down with a lid. Marvel at the beautiful color, slice and serve.

Comments: The only drawback of this recipe is that it generates a bit of smoke during the final searing, and our kitchen has such poor ventilation that all fire alarms go crazy. I intend to use the outside grill next time, although it is really hard to beat the gorgeous sear from the skillet. The texture of the meat is perfect, no stringiness, it really elevates sous-vide to a new level.

Another way to use the chicken is to go from the sous-vide step into a stir-fry. I do that often, but with this magical marinade the result is even better. You can sous-vide a couple of days in advance, and just slice the meat and use it in any stir-fry recipe you are fond of.

For that version, I used zucchini, mushrooms and cashews, finishing the stir-fry with a soy-mustard sauce thickened with a touch of cornstarch. The texture of the meat is very similar to that obtained by velveting. Every week I cook some chicken breasts sous-vide and then incorporate in stir-fries. This marinade just makes it perfect.

But what if you don’t own a sous-vide and don’t have any interest in investing in one? Just use the same marinade to grill meats. I share here my recent version with boneless chicken thighs. Place them with enough marinade to coat the surface well, and leave in the fridge for a few hours or even overnight. Then, remove from the bag, dry the surface, season lightly with more salt and slap on the grill…

Isn’t that a thing of beauty? So I hope I convinced you to bring that magical marinade into your life. And a sous-vide would not hurt either (wink, wink).

Helen, thank you for another gem of a recipe!

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KALE AND PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREASTS

Are you going to run away if I tell you this is a sous-vide recipe? No need, because you can make it on the stove. It will just require a little more hands-on attention so that the meat ends up properly cooked and still tender and juicy. With the sous-vide you can set it, forget it, and concentrate on making your side-dish, as the final preparation of the chicken takes literally minutes.

KALE AND PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREASTS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 chicken breasts
kale leaves, tough stems removed
prosciutto slices
lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Set the sous-vide to 148F.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, rub a bit of lemon juice all over them. Wrap with kale leaves, then with prosciutto slices.  If using the sous-vide, no need to worry too much about wrapping it all tightly because it will firm up as you seal the packages.  If not using sous-vide, try to wrap as tightly and neatly as possible.

Seal the pieces of in a vacuum-bag and submerge in the water-bath for 2 hours (up to 4 hours will be ok). When the time is up, remove the chicken pieces from the bag, dry them well and sautee quickly both sides in olive oil, preferably using a non-stick skillet. Let it cool briefly and slice to serve.

If not using sous-vide, sear both sides of the chicken in olive oil, also using a non-stick skillet. When both sides are golden brown, add a little chicken stock to the pan, a squirt of lemon juice, reduce heat to a simmer, cover the skillet. Cook until the chicken is done to your liking, it will probably take around 15 minutes.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Sous-vide does such a fantastic job for tender meats like chicken breast, and pork tenderloin, it’s truly hard to beat this method of cooking. I sometimes cook a few chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and keep it in the fridge, still vacuum-sealed in the bag. They are ready to use in stir-fries, or curries, anything you feel like it. The first time I made this recipe, I wrapped the kale outside of half of the pieces. It also works, but I prefer the prosciutto outside, it gets a nice texture once you brown it. This recipe is now part of our regular rotation, husband refers to it as “that prosciutto chicken.”  We both loved it!

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CHICKEN KATSU

For something so simple to put together, it is amazing how this recipe delivers everything you’d need for a weeknight dinner. Hard to believe I had never tried to make it, as we love breaded and fried chicken breast, usually either plain or taken to the limit of the gastronomic naughtiness: Chicken Parmigiana. But, better late than never, this will definitely become part of our regular rotation.

CHICKEN KATSU
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by several sources)

2 chicken breast filets
2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 tsp salt
Panko bread crumbs, a cup or so
grapeseed oil or other mild tasting oil
for sauce:
1/4 cup ketchup
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Make sauce mixing all ingredients and reserve.

Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, and pound each half to have it thin and uniform in size. It needs to be thin because you will cook it exclusively in the frying pan, a few minutes per side.

Season each slice lightly with salt, dip into the egg and coat with Panko.  Heat the oil in a large skillet and fry until golden brown on each side and the meat is cooked through. Set on a piece of kitchen paper to drain excess oil. If you need to fry in batches, make sure to clean the skillet of burned up pieces of Panko, and add new oil for the second batch.

Serve over white rice, with the sauce drizzled on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: What a delicious meal this was! Phil is not that much into sauces, and was ready to enjoy his chicken plain. But he ended up trying a bite from my plate, and next thing I know, he was adding sauce to his too. It does add a lot to the chicken, that sweetness cuts through the fat, makes the whole thing more satisfying. I served with rice, as traditional, but also quickly sautéed zucchini, which went very well with the whole thing too.


I highly recommend you give this recipe a try!

 

 

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PECAN CRUSTED CHICKEN FROM SOUTHERN AT HEART

Some recipes sound quite tasty but disappoint when you make them.  Not this one. Tasted as good as it sounded…  Funny thing is, I wasn’t sure it would be a winner because chicken breasts can be a bit tricky when baked.  However,  the meat was tender and moist, it looked pretty nice when sliced, and I heard “this is really good” several times during our Sunday dinner. It is a bit involved to make on weeknights, but I guess one could spread the preparation, assembling the “roulades” the evening before and keeping them in the fridge without the pecan coating. Next evening, all that’s left to do is coat the meat with crumbs and bake. The recipe comes from Damaris Phillips show on FoodTV, Southern at Heart.  I find her delightful, upbeat and funny. Even though for the most part her style of cooking is a bit too heavy for my taste, every once in a while I find something that calls my name. Like this chicken. Flavorful and quite elegant to boot.

Pecan Crusted Chicken Breasts

PECAN CRUSTED STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS
(adapted from Damaris Phillips)

Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and ground black pepper
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 eggs
2/3 cup dried breadcrumbs
2/3 cup ground pecans
Coconut oil spray

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thick. Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Sprinkle the goat cheese lengthwise on one half of each breast; then sprinkle with dill, and orange zest.  Fold in the short ends as if folding a Mexican burrito, then, starting on the half with cheese, roll up into a tight cylinder. Close the seams with toothpicks or tie with kitchen twine.

Whisk the eggs in a wide, shallow dish with 1 tablespoon water. In a separate dish, combine the breadcrumbs and ground pecans. Sprinkle the stuffed chicken with salt and pepper. Dip in the egg mixture and then in the breadcrumb mixture; shake off excess breading.

Place the breaded chicken on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and spray with coconut oil. Bake to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the toothpicks. Cut in slices and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

chickencomp

Comments: I know that goat cheese and dill are a match made in heaven, but you know what made this dish a real winner? The orange zest. In fact, the sweet citric flavor was even more intense two days later when we had leftovers for dinner. I served it with butternut squash “noodles” and asparagus, but of course the chicken would go well with many different side dishes. For instance, Damaris paired it with a Southern risotto, very hearty.

This recipe would be great for a dinner party, as you can prepare it all in advance and place the meat in the oven half an hour before you want to sit down for dinner. Keep in mind not to over-process the pecans, so that you get a bit more crunch on the topping.  In typical Sally mode, I totally forgot that I have some pecan flour in the freezer. I bet it would be great to use maybe 50-50 with the bread crumbs, intensifying the pecan flavor.  Something to consider for next time…

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