Friday, June 12, 2009

Just Ask Rosie. And Angela Did. And We're Having Chicken Parmigiana For Dinner.

My new internet friend, Angela from Wisconsin,
has requested another recipe
from Just Ask Rosie -
Chicken Parmigiana.
I've never made this before,
so I thank you, Angela,
for introducing this to me.
And my family thanks you too.
Here's the meal
with two different types of Chicken Parmigiana -
above left is a fried chicken tender strip,
above right is a baked boneless chicken breast. Both have the same sauce and both have Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, but the baked chicken has a little something extra.
So, on to the recipes.
Up first is a basic tomato sauce.
Use this for lasagna, spaghetti,
or anytime you need a tomato sauce.
My ingredients:
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 celery stick
1 carrot
1 onion
5 cloves of garlic
my fresh herbs:
4 bay leaves
I heated some olive oil in my pan,
and added the finely chopped carrots and celery.
(The carrots give a natural sweetness to a tomato sauce.)
Chopped onions and garlic went in.
I stirred for about a minute ...
then I added the can of crushed tomatoes.
I added in my bay leaves.
Here we have chopped parsley on the left,
oregano at top,
and thyme on the right.
Herbalicious goodness and flavor went into the sauce.
And a can of diced tomatoes.
Whenever I add a can of tomato sauce, or paste,
or crushed, or diced,
I always swirl a little bit of water
in the can to get all the tomatoey yumminess.
Waste not, want not.
Then I added about 1/4 cup of a nice Cabernet Sauvignon,
which gives the sauce a nice depth and body to it.
I barely simmered for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
If your sauce gets too thick,
just add some water or another can of diced tomatoes,
or even better,
chop up some whole, peeled tomatoes.
My first chicken will be a baked chicken breast with the tomato sauce and Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Now, most Chicken Parmigiana recipes call for fried chicken, but I'm going to try something a little different here.
Check out the price of my chicken breasts - $3.02 for almost 2 pounds.
I coated the bottom of my baking dish with olive oil, then added freshly ground salt and pepper, 3 minced garlic cloves, and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.
The chicken breasts went on top.
Then I covered the breasts with the tomato sauce.
I had grated two nice piles of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
And I sprinkled a layer of cheese on top.
Then I went through my cabinets and pulled out assorted croutons.
And I sprinkled the croutons over top.
Added more cheese.
And this is now ready to go into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes - 55 minutes.
Not quite done at 45 minutes.
And here's the finished product,
garnished with some basil. While my first chicken dish was baking, I prepared my second Chicken Parmigiana dish - a more traditional Chicken Parmigiana.
My chicken breast tenders, just a tad over a pound, set me back a whopping $1.60.
Here's my battering station:
The tender strips will go in the milk first,
then the seasoned flour,
then the egg (which will be beaten),
then the breadcrumb mixture.
I seasoned the flour with just salt and pepper.
My breadcrumb mixture is
a combination of Panko
and a handfull of Ritz crackers crushed.
I rinsed off the chicken tenders,
patted them dry,
then salted and peppered.
One of the most important things
about cooking is organization.
Have everything ready to go,
particularly important when you're frying.
My assembly line. I am a well-oiled machine.
The chicken went into a milk bath first.
Then a dredge through the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.
Next, into the beaten egg.
And the Panko and crushed Ritz.
And finally into the hot oil
for about 1 1/2 minutes each side.
I used vegetable oil
to get a nice brown crust.
Then I drained on paper towels.
I grated two large piles
of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
First, I poured a layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan,
then placed a layer of the fried tenders, more sauce, and cheeses.
A second layer of the remaining tenders went on ...
... along with more sauce ...
and more cheese.
All that remains for this dish
is a quick turn under the broiler
to melt the cheeses.
And here's the finished Chicken Parmigiana, garnished with fresh basil.
Here's our Chicken Parmigiana dinner. Fried chicken tenders on the left and the baked chicken breasts on the bottom, with two of Schwann's Baguettes, or as Mr. Hawthorne calls them, briquettes.
We love these baguettes. They come three to a package and are frozen. I usually slice them, brush some butter/olive oil over top, then add parsley and garlic.
Now for the taste tests. Both chickens were tender and moist. I loved the juicy, crunchiness of the croutons, juicy since the bottoms had soaked up some of the tomato sauce and chicken joos; crunchy since they're croutons. And I loved the lightly fried chicken tenders. My tomato sauce was very flavorful. And what's not to love about melted Mozarella and Parmesan cheeses?
Bottom line: Mr. Hawthorne and I tended to prefer the more traditional fried Chicken Parmigiana. Daughter Hawthorne and Youngest Hawthorne preferred the baked. As they said, "It's spicier." If you recall, that was the one with the red pepper flakes on the bottom. Middle Hawthorne got home from work about midnight. I'd left him a note that there were two types of Chicken Parmigiana in the fridge and to try both out and tell me which one he liked better. The next morning, I found this note from Middle Hawthorne: "Both are really good. It's hard to decide but I tasted one that was particularly spicy in the meat. That was my favorite. Thank you. Awesome and delicious."
And thank you to Angela from Wisconsin for requesting Chicken Parmigiana. Remember, if anyone wants me to try out a recipe for them, JustAskRosie, at I'll give it my best shot.

1 comment:

Donna-FFW said...

I love the idea of this column. Now I know where to turn to for a specific recipe. LOVE this feature. no doubt Ill be using it. Your chx parm looks divine!