Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chris Kimball GOOD, Bowties BAD

I think if I ever met Christopher Kimball, I'd probably give him a big hug. The man sure knows how to run a company, and that company sure knows how to write a cookbook. The bow tie, however, has to go...I'm a huge nerd and I don't wear bow ties regularly.

Anyway, tonight's culinary delight was another offering from the Best of America's Test Kitchen 2007, which was Chicken Breasts with Bacon, Rosemary and Lemon. Honestly, you had me at bacon. As always, I followed Bonnie's Rule of Cooking #2 (since I was making it for the first time) but I halved this recipe. I'll give the method I followed, with the recipe halved, then reflect (oooooh! reflective practice!) on what I'm planning on doing differently next time. Here we go...

2 slices thick-cut bacon
1/8 c flour
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/2 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, sliced very thinly
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, chopped (the recipe called for fresh, so much for the rules!)
dash red pepper flakes
1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (NEVER EVER use the bottled stuff!)

In a non-non-stick skillet, fry up the bacon over low until crispy and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes, and transfer it to a piece of paper towel to drain off the fat, and chop into small pieces. While the bacon is cooking, season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken in it, shaking off the excess. Pour off all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat, add the butter and heat to medium-high. When the butter stops foaming, add your chicken, and cook 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken, tent with foil. Lower the heat to medium, add the garlic, rosemary and red pepper, and cook until the garlic is golden brown, about 1 minute or so. BE CAREFUL not to let your garlic overcook - it will turn disgustingly bitter and ruin the entire dish. Add the broth and lemon juice to the pan, scrape off all the tasty fond from the bottom of the pan, and simmer for 3 minutes until thickened. Add the chicken back to the pan and cook until the sauce is thick, another 3 minutes, while turning once or twice. Serve (we had egg noodles).

What I'm going to do differently the next time I make this (and there will be a next time):
1) Chicken cutlets - the time you put in on the prep end by cutting the breasts into cutlets gets realized on the cooking end with quicker cooking times. As always, cutlets need to be monitored carefully to make sure they don't dry out.
2) When the chicken came out of the original saute, it had a bit of a crust from the flour, which turned soggy when it was put back into the sauce to simmer. I think next time I'm just going to saute off the chicken, make the sauce, then add the chicken back to the sauce *right before* I'm about to serve.
3) More bacon. Can't go wrong by adding more bacon (as Stephanie just reminded me)


Bakerloo said...

wait, why no bottled lemon juice?

Also: this sounds awesome and I think I need to try it. We are very pro-bacon in Casa de Clown.

Alex said...

@Bakerloo: The sauce is supposed to have a bright, lemony taste to it. You can't get that from the lemon-shaped squeeze bottle.

If you're worried about wasting the rest of the lemon, you can always toss it at the bottom of a glass and use it to flavor your ice water.