Last night was the inaugural night of my challenge to myself to cook the entire book “Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.” Being that it WAS MLB Home Run Derby night (congrats Big Papi!) and I wasn’t dining alone, I decided my first recipe would have to be something low-key enough for both the hubby and I to enjoy. When it comes to food, we’re very polar – I eat anything set in front of me – and he eats anything as long as it’s chicken, beef, or a potato. Challenging I know. So, I set out to make the Crumbled Chicken Breasts with Swiss.
I told myself that there’d be no use of box ingredients if I could absolutely avoid it, so I bought lovely toasted bread cubes at my local HEB for the crumbs. And I also got a yummy 8 oz block of Emmentaler swiss – because the recipe called for 4 oz. I highly believe in quality assurance of anything I cook with. Or maybe I just like to snack while I eat. The swiss, chicken, and breadcrumbs came together nicely – I made them an hour or so early so I wouldn’t miss all of the Derby.
The recipe called for a side of steamed broccoli, but seeing as my husband has a fear of those green things that grow out of the ground, I put some yellow potatoes on boil for a simple batch of mashed potatoes. I did make the broccoli for me, however, and it was fantastic. BUT, I spent so much time trying to get the perfect picture of my finished product that the broccoli was cold. Shame too, it would have been great with a smattering of butter on top.
The recipe for the chicken itself was very simple – saute in olive oil for about 5 minutes each side, and I can tell you that two things contributed to a very crunchy crust on my chicken. The first were those damn fresh breadcrumbs. Toasty and yummy. The second? And not just because I work for a cookware company? A good non-stick pan. You see, I ditched all but 2 non-stick pans some time ago – a small All-Clad Ltd2 saute pan and some crummy 2 handled Calphalon pan – and because I had 4 chicken breasts, I was forced to used both. I only had room for one breast in the All-Clad, and that’s the one I used for my final picture. The crust came to a perfect golden brown, and the cheese oozed so perfectly.
After the saute, I popped the chicken in the oven for 10 more minutes to get a good cooking-through, so I used that time to run my potatoes through a food mill, added some cream, garlic, butter, and salt and voila! Creamy, basic mashed potatoes.
I’ll stop here to tell you that I highly recommend a food mill to anyone who makes mashed potatoes or tomato sauces on a regular basis. It’s one hell of an arm workout, but it makes for a great finished product. Mine is made by Rosle ($120, Sur la Table). It’s stainless steel and holds up to anything.
With the heavy work out of the way, I quick-boiled some broccoli and I was done. Total time? About 45 minutes for a great dinner. I think the recipe needed a little flavor – probably in the breadcrumbs.
Lessons Learned: How to properly stuff a chicken breast, the perfect pan saute.