Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mustard and Rosemary Chicken

Chicken breasts, split lengthwise and seasoned with a marinade of rosemary, whole grain mustard and garlic, are pan-fried for mere minutes each side, until cooked through and golden on the outside. This is a great weeknight meal when time is short! 

Here’s one of those recipes that came from a dear friend of mine who is Australian, an expat wife extraordinaire, who makes me believe, sincerely believe, that we can do it all.  She’s been a vegetarian since living in India many years ago (Apparently the meat that was available then, hanging in the market, full of flies, was enough to put anyone off forever!) but she still cooks animals for her family.  She is also a brilliant textile artist, although I don’t know if she knows that.  Because she is also modest to a fault.  If we could choose our families, she would be one of my first picks for sister.

Here then, her quick and easy recipe for chicken breasts.  Made, photographed and written up especially for another of my sister picks in Beaumont.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 teaspoons (1 Australian tablespoon) wholegrain mustard
4 teaspoons (1 Australian tablespoon) lemon juice
4 teaspoons (1 Australian tablespoon) olive oil
4 teaspoons (1 Australian tablespoon) fresh rosemary
1 clove of garlic
Sea salt
Black pepper

Mince the rosemary leaves.   Crush the garlic with the side of a knife and then mince.

Mix together with the lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, pinch of salt and a couple grinds of fresh black pepper from your grinder. (Don’t have one. Go buy one.  Right after you finish making this quick and easy recipe.) There is nothing to compare to the taste of fresh ground black pepper.

Give it a good whisk so it hangs together well.

Rinse your chicken breasts and cut off all the excess fat, if any.  Holding your left hand (assuming you are right-handed – if not, switch) flat on the chicken breast, use a sharp knife to cut it in two sideways so you have two more or less equal pieces, both breast-shaped.

Spread the seasoning mixture on the top of each breast half.  

Now stack them on top of each other, making sure to save a little mixture for the bottom of the bottom breast. (My Australian friend is saying, “What?!” at this point, because this is my embellishment.) 

This will mean that both sides of each piece have the seasoning, except for the bottom one.  At this point, you can pop the breasts in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook them or carry on to the pan.

Heat your pan pretty hot and drop the breasts in.  They will probably take at least four minutes a side but I hesitate to give exact times in case your breasts are thicker or thinner. When they are sufficiently browned, turn them over.

When you can see the cooked bit coming up the sides, you can probably turn them.

Cook until browned on the other side.  Once again, at least four minutes but if you have doubts, cut the thickest part before taking them off and check for pinkness.  Any pink, leave them on a little while longer.

I know you are worried about that last side without seasoning. When that piece goes on, make sure to put it seasoning side down and then finish the job with your reserved mixture. 

At home, I normally serve these along side some vegetables or salad and a starch. They are best friends with mashed potatoes!

But they also work great in a bun for feeding hungry swimmers and their supporters at a school tournament.  We sold out!

And you thought they were working up appetites swimming!

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