Happy Monday, y’all! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Mine was all right, if lonely – Beloved is still out of town on business and won’t be home until Friday. I spent my time doing some housework, cooking and making some changes in my little corner of the blogosphere. Most notably, I moved all of my “old” recipes out of the recipe category and gave them their own page; if you look up at the menu bar you’ll see a new link: Real SAD. You can click on it if you want an explanation, and a listing of all the recipes posted prior to June 2010. There will be a couple of other changes, but you’ll see more of those later this week.
As for the cooking part of my weekend, this was dinner Saturday night – and my, was it good. I’d taken some boneless, skinless chicken breasts out of the freezer and was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them; if I asked The Young One, I’d have gotten the answer, “Smother them in bacon, barbecue sauce and cheese.” Which is pretty much how he got his. I, on the other hand, wanted something a little more sophisticated than my son’s favorite preparation of this rather bland but versatile source of protein – perhaps something with a nice sauce or gravy?
I found a recipe in a very old issue of Bon Appetit for Pan-Fried Chicken with Bacon and Thyme Gravy that sounded quite comforting and tasty, but it called for white flour, cornmeal, vegetable oil and canned chicken broth. I felt it had potential, though, and decided to try and make it my own with healthy ingredients. My attempt was successful; this is a lovely dish – the chicken is tender and moist, the thyme goes together really well with the sweet onion and smokey bacon and the gravy (well, I guess it’s really a sauce), while rich, is neither heavy nor overpowering.
I served this over grated cauliflower that I’d sauteed in a little lard with some onion and thinly sliced sugar snap peas, but it would go really well on a base of steamed rice or mashed potatoes, if you’re so inclined.
Pan-Fried Chicken with Bacon and Thyme Gravy
3 skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 5 ounces each
3 thick bacon slices, chopped
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon lard or other cooking fat
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons water
salt and pepper, to taste
Begin by butterflying the chicken breasts. Lay a chicken breast on a cutting board in front of you, smooth side down. Remove the tenderloin, if necessary; you will probably be able to simply pull it off, although you may need to cut if free at one end. Save the tenderloin for another use.
Turn the breast over with the narrow, pointed tip facing you and the thinner side opposite your cutting hand. Place your hand on top of the breast. Carefully insert the knife into the thickest part of the breast, and draw it almost all the way through the breast. Take care to keep the breast attached on one side.
Open the breast like a book and, if needed, use the broad side of a cook’s knife or the smooth side of a meat mallet to even out the butterflied breast, by lightly pounding the flesh until it’s an even thickness. Repeat until all 3 breasts have been butterflied; season lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.
Cook bacon in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion to the drippings in the pan. Cook until soft and golden, about 3 minutes; using the same slotted spoon, remove it to the paper towel with the bacon.
Increase the heat to medium high once more and add the lard or other cooking fat at to the pan. Add the chicken to the skillet and pan-fry until browned and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate, cover and keep warm.
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the chicken stock, bacon, onion and thyme to the pan, stirring occasionally until the mixture is hot. In a small bowl, whisk the arrowroot into the water with a fork, and add it to the liquid in the skillet. Stir constantly until the mixture is thickened to the desired consistency; taste, season with salt and pepper if needed and remove from the heat.
Slice the chicken breasts into strips; plate and ladle the gravy over top, and serve.
Posted in participation with Hartke Is Online’s Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival
Posted in participation with Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday