Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts

Well, in my quest to ferret out bad food bloggers, I ran across one who is actually pretty good. Her website, simply recipes, has some great looking stuff, but I did run across a recipe which I found to be completely WRONG!!!!! She posted a recipe for Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts with mushroom sage sauce. Now, the sauce looked good, and easy to prepare, but please, NO ONE SHOULD EVER USE BONELESS SKINLESS CHICKEN BREASTS! They are dried out, rubbery messes! Taking the skin off robs the breast of the only thing keeping it moist. Removing the bones takes away substantial flavor. You can cook plain chicken breasts if you want to, but at least leave the skin on. You can even remove the skin after you cook it, but give the bird a small chance at being moist and flavorful.

Now there are those of you, my friends, who will say, "But June, they cook so fast and they are better for you." Guess, what? I don't care! Ease of preparation should never be an excuse for serving shoddy food. Unless I need to make dinner for my kids in 10 minutes flat. Then out comes the ramen noodles.

Mario Batali was once asked if there was any food he would not cook. His reply? Boneless, skinless, chicken breasts. So there, dear readers, is my justification. How about using chicken thighs instead? The tasty, moist, dark meat will take just about any preparation for which you would use breasts. If you don't have a lot of time and haven't shopped for any special ingredients, try making a chicken fricassee. The basic preparation method allows for endless creativity, or not, depending on the contents of your pantry. It is a great fall or winter meal served with some soft, herbed polenta. One of Hannah's friends like it so much, she ate four pieces one night. And then another day said she would do a favor for Hannah if she could get her mom to make "that really good chicken' again. Come on over, I can have it on the table in 30 minutes. Matter of fact, this is what I am making tonight. I'll add the polenta to pour the pan juices over and some roasted broccoli. And a salad. Because my mom would kill me if I didn't serve a salad.

Chicken Fricassee

Heat 2 T olive oil (I don't have to say extra virgin, do I?) and add 6 well-seasoned chicken thighs, skin down. Brown well. Throw in a clove or two of chopped garlic, and/or chopped onion, carrot, or celery and cook until vegetables are softened.(See, it I told you you could get creative) Add about 1/2 cup white wine and some fresh herbs, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. I like thyme and rosemary, but tarragon, marjoram, oregano, or chives also work well. You can use dried herbs if it is the middle of winter and you can't fight the two foot deep snow drifts to go the twenty minutes to Wegmans to get some fresh ones. Put a lid on the pan and cook for about twenty minutes. At this point you can add some fresh mushrooms or kalamata olives and cook another few minutes, or just serve as is, with the pan juices. You could also add a little cream or butter to the pan juices, but I find it not really necessary. Adjust the seasonings and serve with pan juices.

Here is my favorite polenta recipe.

And this is how I roast broccoli: Cut broccoli into florets. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic glaze, if desired. My kids LOVE this broccoli.


Anonymous said...

there, I found you... I posted a comment on an older entry, so I'll write it again here. June, you gotta get your own show, 'cause not only are you a great cook, but you are hysterically funny... my side is splitting from laughing so hard.

Your southern sister-in-law.

The Mendon Foodie said...

You are too nice, SSIL (southern sister in law! We'll see if you feel the same way after I find a way to insult YOUR cooking! (Just kidding, everything you've ever made me has been very good)

Anonymous said...

What in the hell are you talking about. I use boneless skinless chicken breast all the time. If you cook it properly it tastes good, really good.
Love you


The Mendon Foodie said...

Most people don't cook it right. I do cook chicken breasts, I just find it better to stick to the ones with bones and skin.