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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CHICKEN IN GREEN PIPIAN SAUCE, SOUS-VIDE STYLE

This classic Mexican recipe was featured in Marcela Valladolid‘s show on Food TV, Mexican Made Easy. It pairs a delicious sauce of cooked tomatillos and pumpkin seeds with boneless chicken breasts.  I decided to adapt her recipe for sous-vide cooking, and was very happy with the outcome.  The meat ended up perfectly cooked, not a hint of dryness.  The sauce is simply to die for, if you are a vegetarian, skip the bird, but make the sauce. Roasted cauliflower would be amazing paired with a little pipian…

ChickenPipianSauce2
CHICKEN SOUS-VIDE WITH GREEN PIPIAN SAUCE
(adapted from Marcela’s Mexican Made Easy)

for the chicken:
4 boneless chicken breasts
4 little pats of butter (probably ok to skip it)
1 large lemon, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

for the sauce:
1 + 1/4 cup green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 Serrano chile, stemmed
1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
1 + 1/2 cups chicken broth, warmed (I used a lot less)
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, place them in sealable plastic bags, add a tiny pat of butter and a few slices of lemon over each breast. Seal the bags. Place in the water-bath set at 140 F for three hours.

While the chicken cooks, prepare the sauce (can be made a couple of days in advance). Preheat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot. Toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring constantly, until they have expanded and begin to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool. Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, simmer the tomatillos, Serrano and onions in salted water to cover until the tomatillos turn a dark green color, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, Serrano and onions to a blender and puree with the chicken broth, cilantro, sugar and toasted pumpkin seeds until smooth (the sauce will be a little coarse). Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, slice the chicken crosswise on the bias. Transfer to a serving plate. Spoon the green pipian sauce on top and garnish with the reserved toasted pumpkin seeds.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

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Comments: I am having a great time with my Anova sous-vide gadget. Most recipes I tried were big hits, a few disappointed me, but isn’t that true for any type of cooking?  You cannot win them all. For boneless chicken breasts, it is hard to come up with a better cooking method. I included butter in the bag, but it would probably be just as nice and tender without it. With sous-vide, you will never get the beauty of grill marks or that copper, enticing tone that roasting or broiling would offer.  But, in a recipe such as this one, in which the meat will be served under a sauce, the cosmetic aspect will be taken care of.  Imagine a very delicately poached chicken, boosted with the flavor of a spicy sauce with the crunchy pepitas on top: Mexican heaven, in sous-vide form! No sous-vide around?  Check Marcela’s original recipe using a regular oven.  I am sure it will be amazing too…

ONE YEAR AGO: Classic Shrimp Gobernador Tacos (another Marcela Valladolid’s recipe!)

TWO YEARS AGO: A Walk Towards the Sunset

THREE YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen

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FIVE YEARS AGO:  A Perfect Sunday Dinner

GOAT CHEESE-STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

Chicken breasts are often part of our week-night menu, so I’m constantly searching for new ways to prepare them. I adapted this recipe from Cooking New American, a compilation of Fine Cooking recipes that never seems to leave my kitchen.  Dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes, with an aura of sophistication and great flavors.  Not a bad to ending for a very frantic Wednesday…

CHICKEN BREASTS STUFFED WITH GOAT CHEESE AND SUNDRIED TOMATOES
(adapted from Fine Cooking)

3 oz. fresh goat cheese
1 Tbs. milk
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. chopped sundried tomatoes
fresh oregano leaves (or herbs of your choice), minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine

In a small bowl, mash the goat cheese and milk together until smooth. Mix in the garlic, red pepper flakes, sundried tomatoes, and the oregano.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

On the thickest side of each breast, cut a long pocket. Using your fingers, stuff the goat cheese mixture inside,  closing by pressing the flesh together.  If you want, close with a toothpick.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Cook the chicken on one side until golden brown, 5 to 6 min. Turn the breasts over, season with salt and pepper, and set a small lid on top of them (use a lid that is too small to cover the whole pan, but large enough to enclose the meat).  Continue to sauté until the chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 more minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a warm serving plate. De-glaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any sticky bits until the liquid reduces to a glossy syrup. Drizzle the reduction over the chicken and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Joanne Weir, the author of the original recipe, says that “this recipe is fun to play with.”   She definitely has a point:  just keep the basic method of thinning the goat cheese with a little milk, then flavor this mixture in any way that you desire.   The presence of the filling, and the fact that the meat cooks under a lid for most of the time, prevents the delicate chicken from drying out.

Sometimes I browse forums in which single guys and girls with little cooking experience ask advice on what to prepare  for that special someone coming over for dinner.   This recipe is a perfect choice: simple, elegant, and light. A little pasta, a green salad, not much else is needed. Of course, wine, candles, and good music… 😉

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Chicken breasts, coffee, and serendipity…

CoffeeBrine
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This past week we’ve had high temps above 100F every single day. My Brazilian nature does not mind the heat, quite the contrary, but meals have to match the weather: give me something light, refreshing,  maybe with a hint of spice in the background.  Preferably something I can cook outside on the grill, so the kitchen stays nice and cool. I had some boneless chicken breasts in the fridge, but usually grilling  them would not be my first option: they are so lean, it is easy to end up with dry, chalky-tasting meat. But, where there is a will, there is a way; in this case the way is called “brining”. You can read about the  method here and  here.
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For our dinner, I chose a recipe I had made before from Fine Cooking. I remembered that we both liked the way the chicken turned out, but thought that the flavor was just a little bland. Then, my friends,  serendipity hit: the TV was on,  and it so happens that Bobby Flay was showing Giada de Laurentiis how he liked to grill chicken breasts… No, he did not brine it, but before grilling he covered one side only with a mixture of dry spices, or as the lingo goes, a “dry rub”.  If you want to see his recipe, click here.
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That pretty much sealed the deal for me. I made a “mix-and-match” version that pleased 100% of the critics (those would be me and hubby, the dogs did not have a chance to taste it, even though they did beg).
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Grilled Coffee-brined Chicken Breasts
(adapted from Fine Cooking #59)

1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 cups water
4 slices lemon (1/4 inch thick)
1 Tbs. black peppercorns
1 Tbs. mustard seeds
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves2 T olive oil
dry rub:
1 T smoked paprika
1  t  ground fennel

To make the brine, combine the salt, sugar, water, lemon, peppercorns, and mustard seeds in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the salt and sugar dissolve, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium-large bowl, add the coffee, and refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes. Put the chicken breasts in the brine and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire.

Make a dry rub mixing the spices. If you don’t have adobo seasoning, feel free to improvise mixing flavors you are fond of  😉  Drain the chicken and blot dry with paper towels. Lightly brush both sides with olive oil, and coat one side with the dry rub mix. No need to make a thick coating, just sprinkle the spices all over. Place the breasts on the grill, spice side down, grill for about 3 minutes, rotate them 45 degrees (do not flip them yet) to get a nice pattern of marks, continue grilling 4 additional minutes. Now flip the breasts and grill 4 minutes with the spice rub up.

Remove from the grill and tent with aluminum foil for a few minutes before slicing at an angle.

but, but… what about the tomatoes?