Posts Tagged 'Potatoes'

Cooking Lesson 2: Chicken and Potatoes

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I love chicken. If I want to order a meal with meat, I almost always choose chicken. My favorite is chicken breast. Too bad most restaurants (and home cooks) overcook them. while looking through one of our cookbooks I found a recipe for Parmesan-Dijon Chicken. Chicken breasts are coated in dijon mustard then a Parmesan and breadcrumb mixture then baked. The recipe suggested Twice-Baked Potatoes as an accompaniment. Perfect. I love twice-baked potatoes and they seemed easy enough. Bake potatoes, remove inside, mix with cheese, put back into potato, and heat through.

The chicken turned out moist (benefit of cooking to temperature instead of time) though all of the breading sort of fell off. Next time I’ll use a more typical flour then egg then breadcrumbs approach. I’ll also add a bit more dijon as the taste didn’t really permeate the chicken. As for the potatoes, they were just about perfect. Using a food mill to mash the potato and heavy cream (in place of the suggested milk) created a fluffy filling. If you make these, be sure to be certain not to ruin the structural integrity of the potatoes as much as I did.

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Parmesan-Dijon Chicken
Adapted from Cooking Basics: Learning to Cook with Confidence

Ingredients:
1 split chicken breast
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup bread crumbs (make your own if you can)

Steps:

  1. Mix mustard and melted butter into shallow container. Place Parmesan and bread crumbs in another, similar container.
  2. Coat chicken in butter/mustard then Parmesan/bread crumbs.
  3. Place chicken in shallow baking dish and cook for 20-30 minutes at 375 F. If you’ve got an instant-read thermometer, use it to cook chicken to 160 F.

Twice-Baked Potatoes
Adapted from Cooking Basics: Learning to Cook with Confidence

Ingredients:
2 baking potatoes
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup grater cheddar (approx 2 oz by weight)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Steps: 

  1. Poke holes in potatoes and cook for 1 hour at 375 F.
  2. Scoop meat from potato (leave enough so it doesn’t fall apart).
  3. Mash potato and mix with butter, cream, and cheese.
  4. Put mixture back into potatoes. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.

Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet (Madame Cartet’s Potato Gratin)

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The first time I bought crême fraîche (at Trader Joe’s) I was asked by the cashier what I used it for. I had to admit that I had never used it before but that I was hoping to use it for some kind of gratin.

I had tried several different gratin recipes from a simple scalloped potatoes to Julia Child’s Gratin Dauphinois among others. And, most of the time, they ended up good but either the potatoes fell apart because of being parboiled or they didn’t get cooked all the way or were sitting in a sea of cream. It was just hard to be satisfied with them.

Because crême fraîche is initially a solid, it’s easier to get it to cover all the potatoes without it settling to the bottom of the dish. It also means you don’t need to parboil the potatoes so they don’t fall apart when you put them in the dish.

I appreciate this dish because it’s simple. I can throw it together in 10 minutes and put it in the oven and not worry about it until dinner is done. And cheese is always good.

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Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet (Madame Cartet’s Potato Gratin)
Adapted from Bistro Cooking

1 garlic clove, cut in half
2 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 cup crême fraîche
salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Rub the inside of a 6-cup gratin dish with the cut side of the garlic clove. Rub until the gratin dish is well lubricated with the garlic
  3. Layer half the potatoes in the bottom of the gratin dish. Spread half the crême fraîche over top. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the potatoes and season with salt.
  4. Repeat the previous step with the remaining potatoes, crême fraîche, cheese, and salt.
  5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  6. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.