Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Out of the fire and into the saute pan

Tired of chicken, but can't wean yourself from it, financially? Here are some new twists to perk up that bird.
Defined as “cooking food quickly in hot fat over moderate or high heat,” sautéing is usually done in a wide pan with straight sides. It is one of the easiest and most popular ways to cook chicken, as it imparts the delicious flavors of oils or butter directly into the meat. There is little technical difference between the sauté and fry methods of cooking, although sautéing usually involves using less oil.

It also helps give chicken a little crust -- and a boost in the flavor department.

Chicken Cutlets Sautéed with Arugula, Raisins and Shallots is a new twist on the Italian favorite, chicken marsala. Start with boneless skinless chicken breast halves that are either cut thin, or pounded to about one-half inch in thickness. Coat with flour and sauté. Add sautéed shallots and a sauce blend of marsala wine, golden raisins and chicken stock. Just before serving, add bittersweet arugula leaves to the pan and sauté to wilt. Serve the sauce poured over the chicken and greens. A side dish of rice is a nice accompaniment that will soak up the delicious marsala sauce.

Another beautiful dish is Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Edamame and Mushrooms. Begin by flavoring chicken stock with star anise, ginger, scallions, sesame oil and a packet of white miso soup mix. Bring to a boil, reduce down to about one cup, and strain. Coat pounded boneless and skinless chicken breast halves in panko crumbs and sauté in a combination of canola and sesame oils. Finish by sautéing sliced Portobello or shiitake mushrooms and shelled edamame (soy beans). This dish is also delicious served with white or brown rice, or with baby potatoes.

Chicken Cutlets Sautéed with Arugula, Raisins and Shallots
Serves 4
8 chicken cutlets (breast halves sliced thin), about 2 pounds ½ cup Marsala wine
3 TBLS golden raisins
2 TBLS butter, divided
2 TBLS olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsps salt, divided
½ tsp black pepper, divided
1 cup chicken stock
3 cups baby arugula (about 4 ounces)
In small bowl, combine Marsala wine and golden raisins. Set aside and allow raisins to soak.

In large sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until golden brown. Remove to small bowl.

In plastic bag with zip-close top, combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Add chicken cutlets and shake well until coated evenly. In same pan used to cook the shallots, add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil; warm to medium heat. Shake extra flour from chicken and add to pan. Saute for 2 – 3 minutes; turn to other side and sauté for additional 2 – 3 minutes. Remove to plate.

In same pan, pour wine and raisins. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until wine is reduced by half, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Boil until stock is reduced to almost half, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Add arugula to pan and stir until just wilted, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and shallots back to pan to warm well. Spoon sauce over chicken to coat.

Remove chicken and arugula to plate. Spoon sauce over chicken to serve.

Nutrition Information, Per Serving:
520 calories; 18 g fat; 6 g saturated fat; 30 g carbohydrate; 9 g sugar; 50 g protein; 1 g fiber

Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Edamame and Mushrooms
Serves 4
4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless (about 1 ½ - 2 pounds)
3 cups chicken stock
2 pieces star anise
1 package instant white miso soup mix (.50 ounces)
1 tsp sesame oil
3 pieces sliced fresh ginger, about 1/4” thick each
1 TBLS sliced scallions
1 egg
1 tsp soy sauce
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 TBLS sesame seeds
3 TBLS canola oil
3 TBLS sesame oil, divided
¼ cup sliced scallions
5 ounces shiitake or Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 cup shelled frozen edamame (soy beans), thawed

Preheat oven to 200 F. In large saucepan, combine chicken stock, star anise, soup mix, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ginger pieces and 1 tablespoon sliced scallions. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat slightly and cook until stock is reduced to about 1 cup (about 25 minutes). Strain solids from stock and set aside.

While stock is reducing, pound chicken breast halves to ½ inch thickness. If breasts are large, cut in half length-wise. In small bowl, beat together egg, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon water. In medium bowl, combine panko and sesame seeds. Dip each chicken piece in egg mixture and then in panko mixture, pressing crumbs to chicken to adhere.

In large saucepan over medium high heat, warm 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Place chicken in pan in one layer and sauté for about 4 minutes per side. Remove to oven-proof platter and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil for second batch. Place all chicken in warm oven.

In same pan, add remaining tablespoons canola oil and sesame oil. Add ¼ cup scallions and sauté over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms; sauté over high heat for about 3 minutes until mushrooms are softened. Add edamame and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes until heated throughout. Add reserved stock to pan; bring to a boil and cook 3 – 4 minutes to reduce liquid by about ¼ cup. Serve by spooning sauce and vegetables onto platter, topped with warmed chicken.
Nutrition Information, Per Serving:
620 calories; 34 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 23 g carbohydrate; 1 g sugar; 52 g protein; 4 g fiber

Recipes and photos courtesy of the National Chicken Council.