Friday, February 02, 2007


(Chicken Breasts With Onions, Potatoes, and Bacon)

I love that the French have a cooking style called “bonne femme,” or “good woman.” From one exhaustive minute of Google research, I’ve gathered that “good woman” dishes are those prepared in a simple, hearty, peasant style. Because, you know, those good women don’t need to be doing too much thinking. And, if they're anything like me, they loves them some bacon.

This dish, from Bistro Chicken by Mary Ellen Evans, is indeed simple and hearty, as well as bacony. There are no seasonings except salt and pepper, unless you count the bacon fat that everything gets cooked in, but the basic ingredients—bacon, onions, potatoes—blend together perfectly and make what might be an otherwise dull chicken breast into a satisfying meal. I had cooked this a couple of times last year, but then somehow forgotten about it until this week. I’m glad I rediscovered it, and A is exceedingly grateful. Serve this with a big green salad, and you too can declare yourself a good woman.

The only downside? Thanks to incredibly poor signage and meager selection in the produce department at Vons, I ended up paying a whopping $5.99 for the pearl onions. Yes, they’re cute, and taste-wise totally worth it, but—boo!

2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup diced thick-cut mild bacon (2 to 3 slices)
4 (6-to-8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* If breasts are large, use 2 and cut each in half horizontally
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¾ cup whole baby onions, fresh or frozen (thawed, if frozen)
2 cups diced red potatoes (about ¾-inch dice)

1. Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender; drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the diced bacon; sauté until crisp, 4–5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.

3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet along with the onions. Sauté until golden brown on both sides, 2–3 minutes per side. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink in thickest part when cut with a knife, 4–5 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a warm platter; top with onions and cover with foil to keep warm.

4. Increase heat to medium-high. When the pan is hot, add the cooked potatoes and fry 4–6 minutes or until browned; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the bacon. Scatter the potato mixture over the chicken and serve immediately.

Serves 4

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