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Monday, January 17, 2011

Pound Your Breasts

I grew up on chicken with bones and skin.  I think back in the 1960's and 1970's the idea of a boneless skinless chicken breast had not yet come into vogue.  In fact, I'm not sure how many chicken breasts I even was served.  I think we ate a lot more drumsticks and wings, and maybe an occasional thigh, in my house.

Now it seems that chicken parts have gone out of style in favor of the breast.  Gone are the bones and skin and in their place is the boneless, skinless breast.  I have to tell you that, yes, boneless and skinless breast meat is in fact figure friendly, but it always looks just a little naked to me.  I think if you're going to go "naked" then you have to do some serious browning to get any kind of flavor into the meat.

Brown food tastes better but it's hard to cook a breast evenly on the stovetop because there isn't a uniform thickness to the piece of meat.   This is where pounding your breast comes into play.  It's easy.  Just take your boneless, skinless breast (or actually any boneless, skinless chicken part,) and place it between two sheets of plastic wrap.  Lightly pound (more of a tap actually) the meat from the center out to a uniform thickness.  You'll see, it will cook much more evenly and you will become a fan of pounding like I am.  If you are really lucky, you might have a butcher like mine, Mark, who will do this for you.  But if you don't, never fear.  It's easy to do and reaps great results.

So, now you have these beautiful thin chicken breasts.  Here is a delicious recipe that's light and probably pretty low in calories, even though it has a little cream in it.  Make sure that when you're browning the breasts you get them to a dark, appetizing brown color.  Not only will they taste better, the whole dish will look far more appealing.  Remember, brown food tastes better.

Recipe:  Chicken Breasts with Rosemary Cream Sauce
(Adapted from Cooking Light)


2 teaspoons olive oil
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded thin
Kosher Salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup low sodium (or homemade) chicken stock
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, for garnish (optional)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Liberally sprinkle chicken with kosher salt and pepper.  Add chicken to pan, and cook 3 - 4 minutes on each side, or until well browned.  Remove chicken to a plate and keep warm.  Add 1/2 cup scallions, white wine, and rosemary to skillet and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in the chicken stick and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Cook for 2 - 3 minutes.  Add cream and return chicken to the pan.  Allow to cook over low heat until cooked through, 5 - 10 minutes more.  Garnish with 2 tablespoons of chopped scallions and serve with sauce.

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