Monday, May 2, 2011

Recipe: Lombardi chicken


I got this recipe out of Better Homes and Gardens' Our Best Recipes cookbook.

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3-4 tbsp a/p flour
3 tbsp butter or margarine
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions.

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cut each breast half in half lengthwise. Place each between 2 pieces of heavy plastic wrap; working from center to edges, pound with flat side of a meat mallet to 1/8 inch thickness. Remove plastic wrap. Coat chicken lightly with flour.

2. In a 12-inch skillet, melt 1 tbsp of the butter over medium heat; add half the chicken pieces, cook for 4 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a 2 quart rectangular baking dish. Repeat with another 1 tbsp of the butter and remaining chicken pieces; transfer to the baking dish.

3. Melt the remaining 1 tbsp butter in the skillet. Add mushrooms. Cook and stir until tender; add wine, broth, dash of salt & a dash of pepper. Bring to boiling; boil gently about 5 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup including mushrooms. Pour over the chicken.

4. In a small bowl, combine mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and green onions; sprinkle over the chicken. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Serves 4.

What you need to know:
I think 20 minutes is insufficient for baking this recipe. I like the cheeses on my Lombardi chicken to get browned and a little crispy around the edge of the baking dish. To get this texture, you'll need to bake it for at least 25 minutes.

The ingredients call for 3 tablespoons of butter or margarine. Kyle and I always end up using twice this much. Once you flour the chicken, it seems to drink up the butter very quickly. When faced with adding more fatty butter or burning my dinner, I always have my spoon at the ready.

The quality of marsala wine that you use in this recipe will really impact the saltiness of the finished dish. If you buy the $2-$3 cooking wine from the baking aisle of your grocery store, you better not put any additional salt into this dish.

The ratio of parmesan to mozzarella cheese can be reversed according to your liking. Keep in mind that the mozzarella will make the dish gooey - and too gooey can be a bad thing. You don't want to have to pry it out of the pan.

The dish is pictured in the cookbook as being served with fresh tomatoes, and I always serve it with this simple side-dish. Lombardi chicken is a rich main course. You don't want to put something fancy or with a vegetable with a sauce alongside it (God forbid).

Instead of using a 12" skillet, I use my large saute' pan. Most of the time I can't fit all the chicken in a 12" skillet, and end up having to brown several batches of chicken before moving on to the next steps. This recipe takes about 40 minutes to make, so I prefer to streamline the initial cooking as much as possible.

Verdict: Thanks to the Wisconsin BH&G reader who submitted this. It truly belongs in their Best Recipes cookbook.

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