Baked Chicken Parmesan

When we were kids, my mother used to make a broiled chicken dish which we called Chicken Parmesan. It was so good, we would fight over the drippings. Then my mother gave up wheat for 20 years and the recipe is lost somewhere in the deep storage of her mind, currently unaccessible. (By the way, this is the main reason I put recipes on the web, they don’t get lost or forgotten!)

We had a hankering for Parmesan chicken the other night so I hit the recipe books and Epicurious and came up with something really quite good. Not as drop-dead delicious as mom’s, and the reason why? Mom remembered as we were eating that she used to dip every piece of chicken in melted butter before rolling it in the breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture. Well no wonder we were fighting over the drippings! You can do the same, if you really want a treat. This recipe doesn’t do that, but if you want, just substitute the vinegar for melted butter and then add some more butter to the coating liquid.

Update: We recreated mom’s recipe for Parmesan chicken. Check it out for an alternative to this recipe.

Parmesan chicken is traditionally made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. We use breasts, but thighs too, if we are starting with a whole chicken.

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes (we use Muir-Glen)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Chicken:

  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (5-oz) skinless boneless chicken breast halves (or deboned thighs)
  • 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs (we make our breadcrumbs from old French bread)
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Method

1 Prepare the sauce. In a large saucepan, heat the garlic and oil together over medium high heat until the garlic starts to sizzle. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, oregano, sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer until sauce thickens a bit and flavors meld, about 10-12 minutes. Taste sauce, adjust seasoning if necessary, cover and keep warm.

2 Preheat oven to 450°F. Cut each chicken breast half in half for smaller pieces. With a meat pounder, pound the chicken pieces to flatten them to an even thickness - between 1/4 - 1/2 inch. You might find it easier to put the chicken between layers of plastic wrap before pounding.

3 Whisk together mustard, vinegar, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl, add the chicken pieces, tossing to coat well.

4 In another bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, grated cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix well and add in the melted butter. Transfer to a shallow plate. Dredge the chicken pieces 1 piece at a time in the crumb mixture, coating completely. Press the crumbs in gently to adhere and transfer to a stick-free baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Serve with a side of rice or pasta. Ladle sauce over the chicken.

Main Ingredients

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Cuisine