Wednesday, January 14, 2009
CHICKEN BREASTS WITH BACON, ROSEMARY, AND LEMON
I made this before Christmas but didn't have time to post it, what with all the frantic baking. From Cook's Country via RecipeZaar via Ezra Pound Cake, it's a great treatment for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, which are not one of my favorite foods but still seem to find their way into my kitchen on a regular basis due to their sheer usefulness. This recipe uses the big, bold flavors of bacon, rosemary, lemon, and red pepper flakes to combat the dryness and blandness of the chicken, transforming it into an exciting, sophisticated, yet still super-easy weeknight meal. If you're anything like me, you won't be able to restrain yourself from licking the sauce right off the plate afterwards.
My only complaint was with the 1 and 7/8 teaspoons of red pepper flakes called for by the RecipeZaar version of the recipe. While I totally wouldn't put it past the America's Test Kitchen people to require such a randomly precise measurement, that's a lot of red pepper flakes--even my red-pepper-flakiest recipe, Spicy Roast Chicken and Tomatoes, tops out at 1 teaspoon. We (especially A) are spice fans, and lord knows you'll have to pry my red pepper flakes from my cold dead hands, but we agreed that even the 1 1/2 teaspoons I cautiously used seemed way too overpowering for this recipe. Later I did a more thorough Google search and found that (although the official Cook's Country version isn't available for free) several other online versions of this recipe called for just 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, suggesting that's the correct original measurement. Nice typo, RecipeZaar poster! And nice detective work, me! That's a biiiiiig difference in measurement. But 1/8 teaspoon is way too wussy, so I'm going to go ahead and recommend that you use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
4–5 slices bacon, chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1. Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat.
2. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, dredge in flour, and shake to remove excess. Add butter to reserved bacon fat in skillet and heat over high heat, swirling to melt butter. When foam subsides, reduce heat to medium-high and cook chicken until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate (leaving fat in skillet) and cover loosely with foil.
3. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Cook until garlic is browned and crisp, about 2 minutes. Add broth and lemon juice, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
4. Return chicken and bacon to pan and simmer, turning chicken once or twice, until sauce is thick and glossy and chicken is cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Time: 30 minutes
Leftover potential: Medium. I can take or leave leftover chicken, but I have to admit that Ezra Pound Cake's recipe for turning these into sandwiches sounds pretty freakin' amazing.