Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

Pesto Chicken

This recipe is adapted from what might be my new favorite cookbook. It’s called High Flavor, Low Labor by J.M. Hirsch. It’s full of mouth-watering recipes that were created for those time crunched weekday meals, but don’t mistake this for your typical “quick and easy” cookbook. You won’t find any processed foods in these recipes, he makes good use of super flavorful “real” ingredients, and some unique techniques to make super yummy meals a reality for the weekday dinner. This particular recipe simply requires some planning ahead.

3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

red pepper flakes

1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (about 1 full breast  – 2 halves)

about 1/2 cup flour

2-3 Tablespoons butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil

In a food processor, combine the garlic, olive oil, basil, salt, pepper, vinegar, Parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until well combined (but not completely smooth).

Transfer about half of the pesto to a glass baking dish. Cover the remaining pesto and refrigerate until ready to use.

One at a time, lay each chicken breast on the counter and carefully slice across the center horizontally to create 2 thin halves (you want them to be about 1/4 inch thick – if not then place them between sheets of plastic wrap and whack’em with a heavy skillet until they are about 1/4 inch thick).

Place the chicken in the baking dish with the pesto, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours.

When you’re ready to make dinner, place the flour in a wide shallow bowl (or on a plate). Lightly dredge each piece of pesto chicken through the flour, lightly coating both sides.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, combine the butter and olive oil, and heat until sizzling.  Fry the chicken a few pieces at a time until lightly browned on both sides.

I chose to serve this yummy pesto chicken on top of a salad dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette. YUM!

It is also really good over pasta that has been mixed with some of the leftover pesto.

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I tend to get chicken quarters (leg and thigh) at the Farmer’s Market more often than I get chicken breast or any other meat. Mostly because they are cheap, they are typically the perfect size, and they are hard to mess up. This recipe is just one of the simple ways you can make  chicken quarters.

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken quarters
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey

    In a bowl, toss chicken with olive oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper and marinate 1 hour (or up to a day).  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roast chicken, skin side down, in a roasting pan, 20 to 25 minutes; flip and roast 10 more minutes.

    Stir together grainy mustard and honey and season with salt and pepper. Brush glaze onto chicken and broil 5 minutes.

    I served this with a salad of local tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and goat cheese, and some sweet corn on the cob.  Another quick, cheap, and easy local meal.

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    This is one of my favorite recipes, I have made this one many times. It comes from Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis.  She is one of the Food Network chefs. The real recipes calls for a whole chicken, but since there is only 2 of us, I rarely cook a whole chicken. Usually I will get 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, or like this week I got one french cut chicken breast.  It’s the full breast, skin-on and wing still attached, but the ribs have been removed. So, it is a bit easier to work with.  Here is my adapted version:

    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

    2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

    2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    1/3 tsp salt

    1/4 cup olive oil

    Whisk all of this together in a big enough baking dish to hold your chicken breast.  Add the chicken and turn a few times to make sure every part is coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, 6 is better.

    Pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Roast the chicken uncovered until just cooked (use your meat thermometer to make sure it’s done, but not overcooked). Transfer the chicken to another plate and carefully pour the liquid into a small sauce pan. Boil until the liquid is reduced by about half. Pour this sauce over the chicken. Yum! This sauce is also great over mashed potatoes.

    Tonight I served it with roasted heirloom sweet potatoes and garlicky chard/kale and an heirloom tomato salad.

    It was all so yummy I forgot to take pictures. Sorry.

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