I didn’t want to cook last night….but I did. My initial thought was to bake some chicken breasts and serve them with mashed potatoes & vegetables – not creative, but fills the belly and is comforting, but then I interwebbed. And into the vortex I dropped. I found brown sugar crusted chicken in several places and, while interesting, wasn’t really what I was after. Then I stumbled across a recipe for Creamy Garlic Chicken Breasts on cafedelites.com and decided it sounded good….completely not what I started out doing.
I did the recipe as written and I have tweaks for next time, but let’s do this the original way.
- 2-3 large chicken breasts (boneless/skinless), halved horizontally to make 4 – 6 (could use 4-6 boneless/skinless thighs)
- 4 TB flour (whatever you have)
- 4 TB finely grated Parmesan cheese….or the stuff in the green container
- 2 tsp salt (with the amount of Parmesan, I did just a pinch – 2 seems like a whole lot more than needed)
- 1 tsp garlic powder (or more – it’s good for the immune system)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper (fresh cracked is the best flavour, but use what you have)
For this, season the chicken with salt, pepper & garlic powder then dredge in flour & cheese. I just mixed the flour, cheese, salt & pepper and the garlic powder in a bowl and dredge each piece of chicken in it, both sides. I actually had to make up another batch of the flour mixture to get all the chicken coated….I lost quite a bit of the coating to my fingers.
- 5 TB olive oil
- 2 TB butter (or margarine)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (or as best you can if it fights back…..my onion caused hurtin’ tears almost immediately and I’m lucky I got further than just chopping it into quarters)
- 1 whole head of garlic, peeled (10-12 cloves) (it seems like a lot, but it really is not, breaking up only 6 cloves keeps it mellow)
- 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/4 cup half & half, heavy cream or evaporated milk….nut milk would work, but will not make the sauce thick unless cornstarch or flour was added or it was cooked down for considerably longer
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (or the stuff in the green container)
- 2 TB parsley to serve (completely forgot this)
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil & 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Cook 2 – 3 chicken breast pieces until golden on each side and cooked through (no pink). 4 to 5 minutes per side – adjust heat as necessary. Wipe out pan with a piece of paper towel, add more oil & butter and cook remaining chicken.
Reduce heat to medium and saute the onion in the remaining oil & juices until softened.
Smash 6 whole cloves of garlic. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and add the garlic, both smashed and not, and cook til fragrant (2-3 minutes).
Add the broth, deglaze the pan, scrape the browned bits off the bottom. Let simmer & reduce for about 5 minutes (should be about half gone)
Reduce heat to medium low and pour in the cream. Bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Add in the Parmesan cheese and let simmmer for 2-3 minutes until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. Taste for seasoning. Add salt & pepper as needed.
Add chicken back in and let simmer another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with some fresh pepper & parsley and serve.
It turned out really tasty and the chicken was not dry (yay).
Tweaks for next time……I’m going to skip the breading – at least a quarter of mine dropped off along the way and then cooking it, even for only 2 or 3 minutes, in the sauce softened it up enough that it was barely noticeable. It was a nice touch, but I’m not sure how much it added other than time.
What I will probably do is give the chicken a quick brown on both sides, take it out, get the sauce together to the chicken broth stage and put the chicken back in to poach. Then carry on the rest to the end. It won’t save a lot of time, but the fewer steps, the better.
I think this could be done in the oven, uncovered, and be more hands off. Just put all ingredients except the Parmesan cheese for the sauce into roasting pan and let it bubble away til the chicken is done, take it out, add the cheese, give it a thorough stir and serve.
This recipe also tastes good next day, so leftovers for a lunch are a winner winner, next day chicken dinner!