I debated about writing tonight. The Husband’s dad died today. Although he was relatively young, he’s been in declining health for awhile. No matter the circumstances, it’s never easy. At first I was going to skip tonight, but then I remembered when The Neighbor Wife’s dad died, she came here looking for a distraction (bathing beauties!), and as Nicholas and I sit and wait for The Husband to come home, a distraction it is. I’ll tell you about a new chicken recipe we had earlier in the week, Rachael Ray’s Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Cheddar-Mustard Sauce (a recipe I found in Rachael’s 365: No Repeats, but she also made on her show on an episode with Jessica Simpson, which you can watch right here).
The chicken could not have been more moist or yummy. The sauce? Pass. Cheese sauce should be thick, rich and creamy. This was none of those and a waste of three cups of grated cheese. But the chicken, totally worth it, and as Madeline says, “it’s a keeper.”
Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Cheddar-Mustard Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray
4 quart-size plastic food storage bags
4 small, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 5-ounce bag of salted pretzels, any shape
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3/4 pound, about 2 1/2 cups, sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
2 heaping tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, a generous handful, chopped
1/4 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large sour dill pickle, finely chopped
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Yields: 4 servings
Preheat a large non-stick skillet with a 1/4-inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle a little water into four medium food storage baggies. Place 1 chicken breast in each bag and seal it up, pushing out excess air. Use the bottom of a heavy pot or pan and pound each breast until flat, just shy of busting out of the bag. Repeat with the other 3 chicken breasts.
Place the pretzels in a food processor or blender and grind until fine. Transfer the ground pretzels to a shallow dish, add the thyme and some salt and pepper. Crack and beat 2 eggs in a second shallow dish with a splash of water. One at a time, coat each chicken breast in the egg and then the ground pretzels.
Add the pretzel-coated chicken breast to the hot oil. Cook in a single layer, in 2 batches if necessary, about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear and breading is evenly browned.
While the chicken is frying, in a medium saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to it. Cook flour and butter for 1 minute and then whisk in the milk. When the milk comes to a bubble, stir in the cheese and mustard with a wooden spoon. Season with a little salt and pepper, and remove cheese sauce from the heat.
Transfer the fried pretzel-crusted chicken breast to a serving plate, drizzle with the mustard cheddar sauce, then sprinkle with a little parsley, finely chopped onion and sour dill pickle. Serve lemon wedges alongside.
Cate’s Notes: Skip the sauce.