Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Creamy Orzo

As I was perusing my cooking magazine, I saw that they had an entire section on the art of crusting chicken. Parmesan crusted chicken is one of Hirsh's favorite things to order in a restaurant, so I decided to give it a try. I paired it with another recipe from the magazine for creamy orzo with feta and sun-dried tomatoes. We really liked the orzo and the chicken was good, but it seemed like a lot of work for a relatively simple tasting dish.

I will probably try the chicken again with some modifications. The bread crumb mixture did not want to stick to the chicken, probably becuase the bread crumbs were too big. I would probably use store-bought crumbs instead next time since I know they stick well and it would cut out having to make the homemade ones! Also, it didn't seem to have enough flavor, so I definitely would add some additional spices. Finally, I would saute the first side a little longer to get a better crust.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken
2 deboned chicken breasts
2 egg whites
2 tsp corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 C coarse, dried homemade bread crumbs
1/2 tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 C grated parmesan
Zest of 1 lemon
Olive oil

1. Prepare homemade bread crumbs by putting chunks of bread (ideally, semi-soft with a chewy crust) in the food processor until fine.
2. Spread bread crumbs on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees for 15 minutes to dry crumbs.
3. Combine 1 C crumbs with parsley, salt, pepper, parmesan and lemon zest in a shallow dish.
4. Combine egg whites, corn starch and lemon juice in a bowl.
5. Cut each chicken breast into two halves and pound to 1/2 in thickness.
6. Dip chicken in egg mixture and then in crumb mixture, coating both sides.
7. Place on a rack and put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to help crumbs adhere to chicken.
8. Preheat oven to 450.
9. Heat olive oil in oven proof skillet (enough to cover the bottom of the pan).
10. Saute chicken on one side about 3-4 minutes.
11. Flip chicken over, put skillet in the oven and bake for about 8-9 more minutes until cooked through.
12. Remove from oven (use an oven mitt!) and serve.

Diffulty: Medium-hard
Debbie's Rating: 7.5
Hirsh's Rating: 8.5

Creamy Orzo with Feta and Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
1/2 C orzo
2 tbsp minced oil-packed sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

1. Bring broth to a boil in a small sauce pan.
2. Add orzo and boil uncovered about 9 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
3. Remove saucepan from heat and add feta and tomatoes. Serves 2.

Difficulty: Easy
Debbie's Rating: 9
Hirsh's Rating: 9

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