November 09, 2010

Chicken Francese with Wilted Spinach

If doing a complete 180 is having "Girl's night in" and having a meal like this... I'll never choose going out again. This meal was on the menu lineup as one I thought Mr. Sideline Chef would have enjoyed it. He received a phone call late on Saturday night informing him he had to pack his bags for Dallas, TX for Sunday morning. I wasn't going to let this recipe roll around in my head any longer than Sunday night. A good girl friend as company would be equally nice and much needed.

That morning I spent a good three hours cleaning the house top to bottom and then when the hunger monster hit I stood in the kitchen 2 1/2 hours making Potato Pierogies thinking that would make a great snack. After that project was over it was time to make myself presentable for my guest. That only entailed throwing on a pair of jeans and a shirt without any bleach spots on it and what the hell, I straightened my hair. No makeup thanks to good genetics a giant zit. Now that I had a clean house, looked halfway decent, and had a snack in my system I was ready to begin dinner.

After the 2 1/2 hours already spent preparing something, Rachael Ray's Chicken Francese with Wilted Spinach, sounded like more work than it actually turned out to be. 20 minutes! The entire meal was prepped, prepared, and plated. I am a notorious non-mise en place kinda girl and it was still an under 30 minute meal like her cookbook says. Just what I needed after a busy day of "homemaking".

The chicken took an egg bath and was fried in olive oil. As it was cooking I was hesitant since it looked like a chicken omelet being cooked. Pushing on. After they were done cooking a wine wine sauce was made which splattered all over the stove and then was poured on top of the chicken. Plattered and sitting under foil. The wilted spinach made for a quick and easy side dish. A little garlic added to hot oil and then the spinach wilted down, obviously why they call it wilted spinach. Popped a couple pieces of crusty Italian bread in the toaster and dinner was served. Family style. We dug in.

Both of us are "watching" what we eat and both plated what was 1/2 of a serving size to start. It was love at first bite. Neither of us talked. Who are we kidding? We just stuffed our faces. We ended up leaving Mr. Sideline Chef a meager portion of the spinach and two tiny pieces of the chicken. It was just too good to stop eating. The chicken was moist and flavorful and the sauce was mopped up with the bread. My chicken when cooked on a stove top has never turned out like this before. Thank god it was girl's night in and after the food coma set in after the kid was already in bed so I could crawl to my room for the night.

I would rate this recipe as being nice enough to serve to guests and elegant enough for a romantic sit down with your guy. Poor Mr. Sideline Chef had to listen to me rant and rave over the phone about how wonderful this dinner was only to take two bites of it reheated the next night for dinner. Looks like a dinner remake is in order.

Chicken Francese with Wilted Spinach
Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners
Makes 4 servings, that is unless you have two ravenous women who claim it is their "day off" from "dieting".

Stars of the Show:
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast cutlets - I cut 3 chicken breasts into 4 pieces each so 12 total pieces for easy portioning of serving sizes.
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour - Could even use half the amount.
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk - I think using one egg and the egg yolk would be enough.
  • A splash of milk or half-n-half - I used half-n-half since it was sitting in the fridge getting close to it's 7 days since opening date.
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, 1 crushed, 2 chopped - Mine were all just minced since I buy it in the jar.
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine - Sauvignon Blanc was used.
  • A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley - I used dried since that was what I had on hand.
  • 1 pound spinach, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • crusty Italian bread for mopping up the sauce
And Action:

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper and the poultry seasoning. Dredge the chicken in flour. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolk with the splash of milk or half-n-half and season with a little salt. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to the skillet, then add 2 tbsp of butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the crushed garlic clove to the skillet. When the garlic sizzles in the oil, coat the chicken in the egg mixture, then add to the hot pan. Cook the chicken on both sides until golden, 6-7 minutes total. I did 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Add the wine, step back, and deglaze the pan by whisking up the drippings. Reduce the wine for 1 minute, then add the remaining tbsp of butter and the parsley to the pan. Pour the sauce over the chicken.

Return the skillet to the heat. Add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, then add the chopped garlic and let it sizzle. Wilt in the spinach, turning it to coat, and season with the salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Serve the spinach alongside the Chicken Francese and the crusty Italian bread to mop up the sauce. Or after the guests have left lick the plate clean.

*In the cookbook Rachael Ray had added a tidbit about Limoncello being a great after dinner dessert on it's own or drizzled over lemon sorbet or vanilla ice cream. I had sent Mr. Sideline Chef to the liquor store to pick some up for me on Saturday night because I "had" to have it. I attempted to drink it on it's own and I guess I am what they refer to as "weak sauce" because I couldn't bring myself into my college partying days of throwing shots back. I've turned into a cheap date and thus don't drink unless we go to Hooters and the guys are buying me shots of Patron. Stories for another day.

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Jeanette said...

This sounds like a quick and easy dish that would be nice to have as a "go-to" recipe for company.

Pretend Chef said...

Jeanette - That was exactly what I was thinking. It is so easy to prepare and the fact that the clean up is a breeze makes it that much better.

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