Sunday, January 8, 2012

Restaurant Quality Chicken Parmesan

Edit: This now has pictures! I can finally use my camera, but I have gone so long without using it that I neglected to use it when I made pizza last night and when I made this Chicken Parmesan from Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain tonight. Both recipes will definitely be made again in the future so I will add pictures at that time. LSH has been craving Italian food for a while and when he saw Chicken Parm on my list of possible recipes for the week, he said he definitely wanted me to try that one. I never got to it during the week, but it seemed like a great idea for a Sunday night. We were not disappointed. Like with most Italian food, we were stuffed by the time we finished. LSH rubbed his belly as he said this was better than any restaurant Chicken Parmesan he had ever had. I asked if this recipe was a keeper and he said "Definitely...all the days!" That's how I know a recipe is a keeper.

Next time I will definitely serve smaller plates. I'm also anxious to see how it tastes as leftovers since it seems like the type of food that would get richer the longer it sits. This recipes is pretty easy, but does take some time because you make the sauce from scratch and it is best simmered for a bit. If you love a good chicken parm and have a bit of time on your hands, I would definitely try this.

Time: 90ish minutes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup red wine
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
Black pepper and any other desired herbs (I went with oregano, basil, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper)

4-6 chicken breasts
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp butter

1 cup parmesan cheese (not the kind in a can; we used the stuff in a bag and it was fine)
1 8oz block mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 lb fettuccine or other long noodle (we used angel hair)

Heat your stove to medium-low heat. Pour your 3 Tbsp olive oil into a wide deep pan or a pot. You need something big enough for all the sauce. Add the Tbsp of butter and let it melt completely. You could probably leave out this extra butter and just use the olive oil, but why would you leave out butter? Once the oil is warm and the butter melted, add in the onion and the garlic. Saute until the mixture is fragrant and tender.

Add the wine (steal a sip or two from the bottle) and let the mixture bubble. Once the wine has reduced by about half, add in the cans of tomatoes with the salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix it up and you can choose to add your seasonings now or later. I added them now because I wanted the flavors to simmer all together. Let mixture simmer on medium-low heat for as long as you have. 30 minutes is a good minimum time. I covered the pot while it simmered because it was bubbling all over my stove.

While the sauce ingredients get to know each other, you can start on the chicken. Start by pounding the chicken breasts until they are about 1/4 of an inch thick. I recommend putting the chicken in a bag or putting it between wax paper or plastic wrap. It eliminates ickyness. Once the chicken is nice and flat, trim off the extra fat and whatnot.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Now comes the fun part of dredging. Mix together the flour, salt, and pepper and put it on a plate or in a shallow dish. Beat the eggs into a bowl. Finally, put the bread crumbs on another plate or shallow dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and toss them in the flour. Tap off any excess flour and dip into the egg. Let the egg drip off a bit and then completely coat the chicken breasts in the bread crumbs. Let the chicken breasts hang out on a plate while you get the next step ready.

Don't forget to stir your sauce! If you think it is done you can take it off the burn and let it chill out. Now back to the chicken....pour the 1/2 cup of olive oil into a pan and add the butter. Once it is all melted and hot, gently place the chicken in the pan.

There is no need to cook all the chicken at once, cook it in as many batches as needed. Let the chicken sit for about 3 minutes on one side and then flip and sit for another 3. There should be a beautiful golden brown crust on both sides of the chicken. It really is a beautiful sight.

Finally it is time to assemble it all! Pour about half of the sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place the breaded chicken breasts on top of the sauce. Now top the chicken with the rest of the sauce.

Now it's time for the cheese. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top of each chicken breast and then top that with slices of mozzarella. Now you should see a pan of sauce with mounds topped with cheese. Yum!

Place the pan into the oven and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is completely done and the cheese is melted. While the chicken bakes, prepare your pasta according to the directions.

Once the chicken is done serve it hot on top of the pasta with some extra sauce.

I recommend starting with eating half of a piece of chicken. LSH and I both ate a whole piece are are now uncomfortably full. It was delicious but pace yourself!

Also, if you halve the chicken in the recipe, I would halve the sauce too. I made a half recipe of chicken but made all of the sauce because we like a lot of sauce. With this recipe it was definitely too much. Enjoy the deliciousness!


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