Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Better Than Comfort Food

Growing up, we had dinner as a family almost every night of the week. My mom was a trooper. Until I was 18, she worked midnights and would sleep all day, wake up, cook dinner then go to work for the night. My dad was a big meat and potatoes kind of guy so we could always expect some rendition of that. My all-time favorite was breaded chicken, mashed potatoes and corn. It was like a mini Thanksgiving dinner and tonight, I had a craving.

Breading and baking chicken is fairly easy so I picked out a new recipe from Food Network to try out: Parmesan Chicken with my version of Aaron McCargo's funked smashed potatoes. DEEE-lish!

You'll see in the recipe below that you add parmesan to the bread crumb mixture. This added a delightful subtle parm taste to the meat which went great with the robust flavor in the mashed potatoes. (I'm pretty sure I will forever make my mashed potatoes just like this!)

Parmesan Chicken Recipe:
4 to 6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 extra large eggs
1 tbsp water
1 1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
unsalted butter
olive oil

1) Pound chicken until they are about 1/4 inch thick, using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
2) Combine flour, salt and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tbsp of water. On a third plate, combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Coat the chicken on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides in egg mixture then dredge both sides in bread crumb mixture, pressing lightly.
3) Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and cook over medium low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through. (I struggled with this. Every time I went to flip the breasts, more and more skin fell off. I was able to save 2 pieces from total destruction, but really enjoyed eating the scraps while I cooked.) ;)

Mashed Potato Recipe:
*I eyeball this dish depending on how many potatoes I feel like cooking (and eating) each night, so this can vary based on how many people you are cooking for.

4 to 6 yellow potatoes (Yukon Gold potatoes are great for this)
4 shallots, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2) Wash the potatoes. Add the potatoes to a large saucepan of salted water over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook the potatoes until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes, Drain potatoes.
3) In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, shallots, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Add them to a quarter sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven, allow to cool and then smash.
4) Toss cooked potatoes into a sauce pan. Add the cream, butter and garlic in a medium and cook over medium heat. (This is where you can determine how much cream to use depending on how smooth you want your potatoes. I like them a little chunkier so I stick to about 1/2 cup of cream.)
5)Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste, then transfer the potato mixture to a serving bowl.

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