Monday, March 15, 2010

Chicken & Broccoli Bake

Yesterday I was tearing up my house to find my Chicken cookbook from Williams Sonoma. My wonderful husband bought it for me ~13-15 years ago and I have cherished it ever since. Unfortunately, I am notorious for lending out my cookbooks to help inspire my friends to become foodies, too. [I have created many converts!]  So, back to the story...I must have lent it out, and I fail to remember who may have it!  So, I must recreate the Chicken & Broccoli bake recipe without it.  I won't be following it completely (in my head that is), and I know I am already going to be making many changes, but the end product....was amazing!  Hope you enjoy the recipe, too!


Chicken & Broccoli Bake 
partially adapted from Chicken Cookbook by Williams Sonoma
6-8 cup frozen broccoli (I prefer florets, and get a big bag from Costco)
4 chicken breasts, skinless & boneless (cut these in half to make 8 pieces)
8 slices ham (you can use pancetta, bacon, Canadian bacon, prosciutto)
Dredging station (see below and you decide what mixture you have on hand)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup vegetable stock/broth
1/4 cup vermouth, white wine, or marsala wine
fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350*F (325*F for convection). In a baking dish (like a sheet cake pan), place broccoli and set aside.
Now, set up a 3 plate dredging station of the following:

  • Station 1 - flour (plain old all purpose flour seasoned with S&P)
  • Station 2 - mayo (oh I know, but I did not want to use up all my eggs and mayo works as a great binder! Season this with herbs, S&P, and garlic powder. I used 1/4tsp sage,  1/4 tsp thyme, and 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
  • Station 3 - panko bread crumbs (again, season with herb mixture)
Note: in order to bread a product you generally need to dust it with flour, then dip into a binder (like egg, mayo, buttermilk), and then dip into outer coating (more flour, panko, cornmeal, cornflakes, etc.)

Dredge all of your chicken in the above mixture.
In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil.  When it's hot, add chicken pieces.  All you want to do is brown the pieces on both sides. Once browned (2-4 minutes on each side) place on top of broccoli.

Note: avoid over crowding the pan, because this drops the heat of the oil and your food will absorb more oil. 

In the skillet, place crushed garlic, broth, and wine of choice.  Turn the heat to medium high and allow mixture to simmer and reduce (about 5 minutes).  Taste and season as needed with more herbs or S&P. Meanwhile, place ham slices over chicken.  Ladle thickened sauce over chicken & broccoli.  Top each piece of chicken with 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly.  Internal temperature of chicken should read 165*F if you are worried about an undercooked product. Top with parsley and serve!

If you have a lot of people coming for dinner serve with rice or pasta.   I sliced up my tomatoes from my garden and served it with naan bread instead. Let me know what you think!!

PS--I'll post a picture soon. I forgot to last night when I was serving it, so today I will get a photo of the leftovers.  It still looks really yummy!  Is it lunch time yet???