Chicago definitely offers a lot of fun things to do in the city. Not just the tourist spots, but also the nightly activities available. One option I’ve obviously taken a liking to is the cooking classes. I have found one place, called The Chopping Block, as my favorite with a great variety of classes. You’ll see mentions of The Chopping Block’s classes again on this blog in the future since I have may recipes from there I’d love to share.
It probably doesn’t surprise you that the first class I took was Chicken 101. Of all the fancy chicken we made in this class, including Tuscan braised chicken & whole roasted chicken, my favorite recipe was oddly the crispy chicken breast, which was probably the easiest version of chicken we made.
Crispy Mustard-Glazed Chicken Breast
Recipe from The Chopping Block
4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
½ c flour
½ c dijon mustard
2 c panko breadcrumbs
¼ c butter, melted
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh thyme, roughly chopped
¾ tsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped
3 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
Salt & pepper
Three things to note before starting. First, this chicken isn’t very mustardy at all! Second, stay tuned for the Orange, Almond & Arugula Salad pictured with this chicken. It is my next post! Third, while there may seem like a lot of steps to this, it’s actually quest fast. Taking only about 35 minutes to complete.
When breading chicken breast, the crispy covering to chicken ratio is important. So on that note, you’ll start off by pounding the meat. Side note: When I made this chicken, I was visiting my sister, Heather, who you’ll know from her guest appearance on the King’s Cake Rolls. We made many, many jokes at this point in the recipe about pounding meat. Insert your imagination here. 🙂
Take a breast in between two sheets of wax paper. With a meat pounder (or it can be done with a rolling pin), pound the meat to a little over ½ inch thick. The best way to do this is starting in the middle and working your way out. Consider this your arm workout for the day cause you’ll need to put some muscle into it. Trust me.
Next, prep the assembly line for breading the chicken. Grab a medium-sized (cereal) bowl and 3 plates. Pour the flour onto one of the plates. Then mix the mustard and eggs well in the bowl. Finally add the panko crumbs onto the second plate. Keep the third plate aside for the breaded raw chicken breasts.
Here’s where the magic begins. In addition to the mustard in the eggs, the breading isn’t just going to be the panko crumbs. First, chop up the herbs so they are ready. Then using a small saucepan, melt the butter and add in the herbs and paprika. Give it a stir then pour over the panko crumbs. To mix this up, I use a fork or two to work it in all together.
Ok, now to assemble. Start off with seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper on each side. Then make sure your set up in the right order. It will be flour then eggs then panko.
Cover each side of the chicken breast with flour then dip it into the egg/mustard liquid so it is covered. Then place the chicken on the panko crumbs, turning it over and pushing a bit so it sticks well to the entire breast. Repeat with each piece of chicken. Your fingers tips will get covered by the end. No need to clean in between.
Heat some oil in a sauté pan over medium-ish heat. I always seem to start with it too hot so it will start burning the outside a bit before it’s cooked in the middle. You can always adjust the heat as you go. Also, a note about grapeseed oil: The Chopping Block recommends it because it has a higher smoke point so it’s nice to cook with when in a normal kitchen that might not have great vents. Either it or olive oil works.
Place the chicken in the pan. If you can fit two breasts at a time without crowding the pan, do so. If not, do one at a time and cover the finished ones on a clean plate with some foil over them to keep warm.
Cook the chicken on each side for about 3 or 4 minutes. If you need to, you can cut a small slice in the middle to ensure it’s done. Try not to though since some juices may sneak out. On that note, when you’re done cooking the breast, make sure you let them rest for about 5 minutes before cutting into them.
In case you carnivores aren’t familiar, letting meat rest (aka sit there uncut cut) after cooking is surprisingly important in achieving moist meats. This allows the juices that were being drawn out by the heat work their way back in throughout the entire piece. This applies to basically all meats, especially steak. Although, I think with this recipe the mustard’s main purpose is to help keep the chicken super moist.
Once the chicken has had a few minutes to compose itself aka rest, serve it along side the Orange, Almond & Arugula Salad coming in my next post. Enjoy!