Saturday, May 28, 2011

Two For This Week

Did anyone see Darius on Cooking for Real this past weekend? Always cool to see a fellow blogger being recognized on TV. I’d say he’s just as cool a guy on screen as he on the internet.

I’m amazed at how a food blogger can receive national attention like that just by catching the right person’s eye. How can I do that? I want to be on TV and have people love my blog.

Hey Sunny Anderson, I know you are one of the few television food personalities who actually reads the blogs of ordinary folks and participates in ordinary forums (or is that fora?). If you’re reading this, can I be on your show? I can be at the FN studios within the hour if you just say the word.

Anyway, I was glad I watched the show because I was definitely inspired by it. Anderson made smothered steaks. After cooking off some gorgeous ribeyes (and I want to convince Darius and the other guest on the show that a rare steak is a true joy), she made a gravy with onions, herbs, and sour cream. Wow did it look good! It was pure, fattening, comfort food at its best.

It definitely put the bug in me to make something similar. Smothered steaks would be out of the questions in a dinner for two, but there are plenty of ways to make smothered chicken.

I found a ridiculous numbers of ways to make smothered chicken on the internet. It’s amazing how many baked, stewed, and fried chicken recipes can be “smothered”.

I decided to start with the most basic and comforting chicken recipe out there: a coated and pan-fried chicken cutlet. On top of that I would put creamy and onion-studded gravy.

I coated my chicken with the standard flour-egg-crumb mixture. I used rice flour and nut meal in place of AP flour and crumbs. These were fried up and kept warm while I worked on the gravy.

Onions were cooked down to a nice sweet softness and then I thickened up some chicken stock. Wine, mustard and heavy cream finished it off.

A week ago this meal would have been totally appropriate. Even though it’s almost Memorial Day, comfort food weather has stuck around for most of the spring. It has been consistently chilly and rainy for most of March, April and May. This week, in typical New York fashion, summer has decided to arrive. It’s hot and sunny and I’m thinking more of veggies and grilling than of chicken and gravy, but I am the DisOrder Cook and I don’t do what’s expected of me.

I admit the gravy looks a little weird, but it was pretty tasty. 

Anderson served some seriously rich mashed potatoes on the side. I decided to give our arteries a break and use roasted fingerling potatoes with garlic and lemon and parsley and then just some green beans on the side.

Smothered Chicken Cutlets


  •  4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded lightly
  • Flour for dredging (I used rice flour) + 1 Tbl
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 Tbl oil, divided
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs, almond meal, or hazelnut meal
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 Tbl Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup heavy cream
Mix flour with salt and pepper and dredge chicken breasts well.  Dip in egg and coat well with crumbs/nut meal. 

Heat 2 Tbl olive oil in a large pan.  Cook chicken breasts  till cooked through, about 5-7 minutes per side depending on thickness.  Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add remaining 2 Tbl of oil to pan.  Cook onions until soft and add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Move the onions to one side and add flour to the pan.  Cook a few minutes until it is nicely toasted.  Add wine and chicken stock,  Whisk in quickly and keep whisking over low heat until sauce is thick.  Add mustard and cream and mix in well. 

Serve chicken breasts with gravy on top.

Moving Right Along...

Wow.  I actually cooked two new recipes this week!

I had a huge craving later in the week for my roasted pepper cream sauce.  So far I have made it plain and with tomatoes.  I decided to try another way - with pesto.  I still had some pesto in my freezer (used up the last of it just in time for me to start growing basil on the balcony again) so I thought about a roasted red pepper pesto sauce.

I wanted gnocchi, but couldn't find any gluten-free gnocchi at the store and wasnt' inclined to make any.  I used regular pasta and to give it more substance added some Italian sausage (shrimp for the hubs).

The only thing that takes any time here is the prep for the peppers, which can be done ahead of time. The rest of the recipe can just be whirred together in less time than it takes the pasta to cook.

Red Pepper and Pesto Cream Sauce

  • 4 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and  halved
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce (not too hard to make your own, just saying)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound of your favorite pasta, cooked
  • Sausage, shrimp, or whatever meat you like
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush peppers lightly with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes or until skin starts to blister.  Place peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit 20 minutes.  Carefully peel off the skins.

Add peppers and all remaining ingredients except cream and proteins to the food processor.  Blend until well mixed thoroughly.  Add cream.  Pour over cooked pasta.  Add protein if desired.

1 comment:

bellini said...

I have followed Darius throughout his blogging "career" and he has always strived for just that. I am happy for him that all hus hard work and videos has paid off. As for the chicken pass me a fork!