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Is This the Best Chicken Parmesan Recipe Ever?

I admit I am no real expert when it comes to any type of Italian cooking. Since I don’t eat cheese or pasta myself I am hard one to ask to judge whether the dish is good or not so I have to rely on my pasta and cheese eaters Sean and Michelle to let me know whether the dish is worth making again or not. I had seen this recipe for chicken Parmesan on the Internet from Serious Eats that says it is the best chicken Parmesan recipe out there and was curious about it. What makes this recipe better than any other. in my opinion, chicken Parmesan is a pretty basic dish on its own that anyone can make pretty successfully, so what made this one stand out? The difference with this seems to lay in the use of a buttermilk brine for the chicken and a whole lot of Parmesan cheese in the breading, along with some buttermilk in the breading to change things up. The results were pretty impressive.

The Best Chicken Parmesan

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 3/4 cups buttermilk, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 loaf crusty Italian bread, crust removed, sliced into 1/2 inch slices

5 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 quart tomato sauce, homemade or your favorite store-bought brand

10 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, basil or a mix of herbs

With a sharp knife, split the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Working with one piece at a time, place the chicken inside a plastic zipper-lock bag and pound the chicken with a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy skillet until the chicken is an even thickness of about 1/4-inch. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and repeat the process until all of the chicken pieces have been pounded.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk and the minced garlic to the bowl with the chicken. Season with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Turn the chicken with your hands until the salt, pepper and garlic are evenly incorporated and all of the chicken is coated in the buttermilk mixture. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a large zipper-lock bag, press the air out of the bag and seal the bag. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Meanwhile, place the Italian bread slices on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Leave out the bread on a counter for at least 4 hours and up to overnight until it is mostly dried. The next day, break the bread into rough pieces and combine the bread with 4 ounces of Parmesan cheese in a food processor. Season the mixture with black pepper. Process the bread until it is finely ground, about 20 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large shallow bowl or pie plate.

Place the flour in a second shallow bowl or pie plate. Whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk and 1 tablespoon of the flour in a third pie plate. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk over the breadcrumb/Parmesan cheese mixture and incorporate it with your fingertips. The mixture should be mealy, but hold together in clumps if you squeeze it together with your hands.

Working with one piece of chicken at a time, remove a piece of chicken from the bag and add it to the flour. Turn the chicken to coat it, shaking off any excess, and then add it to the egg mixture. Turn the chicken to coat it, letting the excess egg mixture drip off, and then add it to the breadcrumb mixture. Turn the chicken to coat it, piling crumbs on top of the piece and pressing down firmly so a thick layer of breadcrumbs adheres to the chicken piece. Transfer the coated chicken to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining chicken breast pieces.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the sauce in a medium saucepan and heat it over low heat, stirring occasionally until it is barely simmering. Remove the sauce from the heat and set it aside.

Heat the vegetable or canola oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat until the oil registers 375 to 400 degrees on an instant-read or deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches so you do not crowd the skillet, carefully add the chicken pieces by lowering the cutlets away from you into the oil. Add as many cutlets as will fit in one layer (depending on the size of your skillet, this can be anywhere from 2 to 4 pieces). Cook, swirling the pan gently and using a thin flexible spatula to loosen the chicken if it sticks, until the chicken is golden brown and crisp on the bottom side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a thin metal spatula and a fork, carefully flip the chicken and cook until it is golden brown on the second side, about another 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and repeat the process with the remaining chicken pieces.

Spoon 1/3 of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a casserole or oven-safe serving dish. Shingle the chicken pieces on top of the sauce. Top the chicken with more sauce, forming a line down the center. Combine the mozzarella cheese and the remaining 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese in a large bowl and toss to coat. Lay the cheese mixture over the chicken in a straight line down the center. Transfer the dish to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and immediately grate fresh Parmesan cheese on top. Allow the dish to rest for about 3 minutes, top with the chopped herbs and serve immediately.

I did try a little bit of the chicken and I have to immediate using the buttermilk brine does improve the overall flavor and the tenderness of the chicken. Sean and Michelle both really enjoyed the breading on the chicken and the cheese combination of the mozzarella and the Parmesan was just right for the meal. As I said, I am not an eater of dishes like this, so I did have a piece of chicken I kept separate with just the breading and I thought it was great. They both enjoyed the meal over pasta and I served it alongside of the onion focaccia bread I had made. I would certainly do this recipe again, though you do need to plan this one ahead to do the brining if you want the taste difference.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

chicken parm

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pasta, Poultry

 

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A Fine Feast of Onion Focaccia

I was making chicken Parmesan last week for dinner one night (for which I will be posting the recipe tomorrow) and wanted to make some bread to go alongside of the meal but I wasn’t sure what I really felt like. I didn’t want something that was too labor intensive since I have been  pretty busy with work and the holidays and with Michelle traveling a lot recently, so I decided on this recipe I found on Williams-Sonoma for a basic onion focaccia. I have made focaccia from them before and the recipe turned out pretty well and this one seemed just as easy so i thought I would give it a try to see how everything came out.

Onion Focaccia

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing

1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

4 to 4 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of sugar in 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let this stand at room temperature until the mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining water and sugar, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the table salt and 1 cup of the bread flour. Beat the mixture at medium speed until it is creamy, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the bread flour and beat on medium-low speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the onion and switch the mixture attachment to a dough hook.

On low-speed, beat in the remaining bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms and starts to pull away from the bowl. Knead the dough on low, adding flour 1 tablespoon at a time if the dough sticks, until it is moist, soft and slightly sticky, about 6 minutes. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and allow it to stand for 20 minutes.

Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with olive oil. Turn the dough out onto the prepared sheet and with oiled fingers press and flatten the dough into an oval about 1 inch thick. Cover the dough loosely with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rise at room temperature until it has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

With your fingertips, make deep indentations, about 1 inch apart, all over the surface of the dough. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the dough. Cover the dough again loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise again at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Place a baking stone on the lowest oven rack and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle the bread lightly with coarse salt. Place the pan on the stone and bake until the bottom of the bread is lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve the bread warm or at room temperature.

The focaccia went perfectly with the chicken and even though it does not seem like a lot of onion in the recipe the onion flavor really comes through in the bread. The dough rises quite a bit so I had a very large focaccia and ended up freezing some so we could have it at a later date. You could easily sprinkle a little cheese on top before you bake it if you wanted to go that route, but I think it turns out perfectly just the way it is and it makes an excellent addition to all kinds of Italian dishes.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

focaccia

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2014 in Breads, Cooking, Side Dishes

 

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Christmas Dinner Recipes | SAVEUR

Christmas Dinner Recipes | SAVEUR.

When we think of Christmas dinners, many of us immediately think of having a nice roast for the family and guests. There are all kinds of great roasts you can make (I’ll be making a prime rib roast this year) and Saveur has put together 28 Christmas dinner recipes using various roasts of pork, lamb, beef, turkey and chicken. You can find something to fit every type of meal you are looking to make. Check it out!

 
 

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Best Holiday and Christmas Dessert Recipes : Cooking Channel

Best Holiday and Christmas Dessert Recipes : Cooking Channel.

Are you looking for something new to make for dessert this Christmas? Cooking Channel has put together 65 holiday and Christmas dessert recipes so you can find all of the cakes, cookies, tarts, pies and more to suit whatever that you might be looking for. Check it out!

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2014 in Cakes, Cookies, Cooking, Cooking Websites, Dessert, Pie

 

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A Super Holiday Appetizer – Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze

Finding just the right appetizers when you are hosting a holiday party or having everyone over for a holiday meal can always seem like a challenge. You want to go beyond just having cheese and crackers or chips and dip and want to put out something memorable that makes a great snack before the main entrée or a fantastic addition to a buffet table. One of my favorites is to always do something different with meatballs. You can do so many different things with meatballs and a great sauce and then all you need is a platter and some toothpicks and you have the perfect finger food. I came across this recipe recently from the New York Times and decided to try out the recipe for scallion meatballs with a soy-ginger glaze. I initially made a batch and we had some for dinner that night and I froze the rest to have on hand for appetizers at a later date. They are easy to make, make great use of turkey and the glaze is out of this world.

Scallion Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze

For the Sauce:

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup mirin sweet rice wine, or 1/2 cup sake with 1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup chopped peeled ginger

1 teaspoon ground coriander

4 whole black peppercorns

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground turkey

4 large or 6 small scallions, finely chopped

1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil

To make the sauce, bring the brown sugar and 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan set over medium-high heat, stirring the mixture until the sugar melts completely. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the soy sauce, mirin, chopped ginger, coriander and the peppercorns. Simmer, stirring the sauce occasionally, until the sauce has been reduced by about half, about 30 minutes. Strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the solids and discard the solids.

To make the meatballs, mix the ground turkey, scallions, cilantro, beaten egg, sesame oil and the soy sauce and several grinds of black pepper in a bowl. Roll tablespoons of the mixture together into balls. in a skillet set over medium-high heat, generously coat the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, place the meatballs in the pan and cook, turning, until the meatballs are browned all over and cooked through inside, about 8 minutes per batch. Arrange the meatballs on a heated platter and spoon a little sauce over each meatball and serve the meatballs with toothpicks. If desired, keep the meatballs in the sauce warm in a 200 degree oven until you are ready to serve.

The meatballs themselves are very tasty with the scallions adding a nice layer of flavor to them, but the sauce is the real winner in this dish. The ginger, soy sauce and mirin really stand out to make the sauce sweet and a little sticky and packed with flavor. I could see using this sauce over a variety of other items, such as a pork tenderloin or pork chops or even chicken pieces or boneless chicken breasts. The meatballs are a perfect appetizer for any type of party and you can make them and keep them warm until you are ready for the party.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

soy glazed meatballs

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2014 in Appetizers, Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Holidays, Poultry, Sauce, Turkey

 

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A Sunday Spectacular with New England Pot Roast

Sunday dinners can be a fantastic time to try out new meals that you have wanted to experiment with but don’t have the time during the week, but they can also be the ideal occasion to roll out family favorites and comfort food meals that everyone loves. That’s what I decided on recently when I made some pot roast for dinner. I haven’t made a pot roast in a while since it makes way too much food for just the three of us and frankly the roasts have not been a good buy at the supermarket. However, Sean asked if he could have pot roast as his birthday dinner when we were having family over so I went on a hunt for a roast and found a perfect one that was a great size for a large group of people and had just the right amount of fat to it. I then decided I was going to try out a recipe Geoffrey Zakarian from his new cookbook My Perfect Pantry. It was for a New England pot roast very similar to what I always make with a slight difference in the gravy he makes in the end. It promised to be quite tasty.

New England Pot Roast

One 3-pound beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 medium onions, cut into 2-inch chunks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cloves garlic
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 cup dry red wine
6 cups beef stock
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 2-inch chunks
1/4 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Season the roast with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the roast and sear it on all sides until the roast is well browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the roast to a plate.

Add the celery, carrots and onions and saute until they are caramelized on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and rosemary. Stir the mixture to incorporate the flour into the oil and cook until the flour smells toasty, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the wine and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the roast back to the pot, along with the beef stock and the potatoes. Bring everything to a rapid simmer and cover the pot tightly. Place the pot in the oven and cook, covered, until the meat is just tender (a knife will slide out easily with no resistance), about 2 hours 30 minutes. Remove the meat to a cutting board and tent it with follow and allow it to rest while you prepare the sauce.

Let the sauce sit for a few minutes, and then spoon off any fat that has risen to the surface (or pour the sauce into a fat-separating measuring cup, pour off the fat and add the sauce back to the pot). Return the sauce to a simmer. Whisk in the mustard and horseradish and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Discard the bay leaves and stir in the parsley, if using.

Carve the meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices against the grain, and serve with the sauce and vegetables.

I di use a much bigger roast than the recipe so I increased the time to 3 1/2 hours instead of 2 1/2 since I had almost a 6 pound roast. I also did not use the red potatoes as Sean wanted mashed potatoes with the meal instead. The meat was cooked perfectly and was very tender, just the way you want it. The sauce had great flavor thanks to the horseradish and I really enjoyed it as a change of pace from the regular gravy we make with a pot roast. I think it was perfect with the rest of the meal and would certainly try it that way again for the flavor.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

NE pot roast

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2014 in Beef, Cookbooks, Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Sauce

 

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The 20 Most Popular Recipes of 2014 – NYT Cooking

The 20 Most Popular Recipes of 2014 – NYT Cooking.

Here are the 20 most popular recipes for 2014 in the New York Times Cooking site. I have tried a bunch of recipes from NYT Cooking this year and they have all been fantastic, so you are likely to find some great ideas for something new or a way to change up a classic recipe you have been using for years. Check it out!

 

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