What’s Cooking – Chicken Pronto

Jeanne Briggs

Jeanne Briggs

by JEANNE BRIGGS

Quick cooking is a way of life for all of us these days. But that is no reason to cut corners on taste and quality. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts and thighs are the answer to the harried cook’s dilemma. Just a few years ago, if you wanted skinless, boneless chicken, you had to do the job yourself, a task that required the skill of a surgeon. These cuts of chicken cook in just a few minutes. In fact, overcooking is the most serious problem here. Now get moving – you have 30 minutes until dinner!


Chicken Breasts with Apricot-Cherry Compote

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries
3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

Season chicken with salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme. In a large frying pan, melt 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and nearly cooked through, about 12 minutes. Add apricots, cherries and remaining thyme. Pour in broth and wine. Partially cover pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring often, until fruit is nearly tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover and simmer 1 minute. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Serves 4.


Chicken Amandine

1 pound thinly sliced chicken breast fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2-1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, melt 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until white throughout, about 6 minutes. Remove to a platter. Add remaining butter, reduce heat to medium, and cook almonds and shallots, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove nuts and shallots and sprinkle over chicken. Add nutmeg, wine and broth to pan. Bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits clinging to the bottom. Boil, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes to reduce. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4.


Chicken Diane

1 pound thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup minced shallots
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Season chicken with salt, then pat on the pepper. In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until white throughout, about 5 minutes. Add shallots, and cook, stirring until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Remove frying pan from heat and pour Cognac over. Carefully ignite Cognac. Spoon flaming sauce over chicken until flames subside. Sprinkle with parsley and serve from frying pan. Serves 4.


Rosemary and Citrus Chicken

1 pound boneless chicken thighs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Orange and lemon slices, for garnish

Season chicken with salt, pepper, and half of the rosemary. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until cooked throughout, about 6 minutes. Remove from pan. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add broth, wine, orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, lemon zest, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary. Bring to a boil, stirring up brown bits from bottom of the pan. Boil until sauce is reduced by one-third, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to pan and heat through, about 1 minute. Serve chicken and sauce, garnished with orange and lemon slices. Serves 4.


Open Sesame Chicken

3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1 pound thinly sliced chicken thighs
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
Parsley sprigs for garnish

In a shallow dish, combine milk and Tabasco. Add chicken; turn to coat completely. In another shallow dish, combine cornmeal, flour, sesame seeds, parsley, salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in cornmeal coating, patting onto chicken with your hands. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken and cook, turning once, until cooked throughout, about 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and repeat with remaining oil and chicken. Stir wine into pan drippings, scraping up browned bits clinging to bottom. Simmer, stirring, 1 minute. Season with additional salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley sprigs. Serves 4.


Beer Batter Fried Chicken

1 cup flour
3/4 cup beer
3 teaspoons McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning
Vegetable oil for frying
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves and/or thighs

In a bowl, whisk together flour, beer and seasoning. In a deep 12-inch frying pan, heat 1/2 inch of oil to 375F or until a cube of bread fries golden in about 30 seconds. Dip chicken, one piece at a time, into batter to coat completely. Let excess batter drip back into the bowl. Carefully add to hot oil and fry, gently turning once with tongs or a slotted spoon, until rich golden brown on both sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 6.

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