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trying to develop a recipe for chicken to be served at a restaruant

I need a killer chicken dish to add to a menu of a new restaurant. I want something made with a breast that is not over the top with fat, but over the top with flavor.I want something new an exciting not an old classic. I am asking all of you for help I am stuck.

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  1. I'm actually looking to use skinless boneless.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Analisas mom

      Pound the chicken breast to an even thickness. Put on a tbsp or two of garden vegetable or chive/onion cream cheese, or herbed cheese (e.g. Boursin), spread it out a little, and roll up. Place in baking dish seam side down. Cut a strip of bacon in thirds and lay them over the top of the roll. Bake at 375 until the bacon is crisp and the drippings and running cheese have made a sauce.

      This probably isn't low fat enough for you. But if you use turkey bacon and low-fat cheese, maybe? In that case I'd lower the heat to 350.

      I have also done this with chicken breast tenders or strips, with the bacon in half-inch slices, browned first and removed while the chicken is cooked in the bacon fat, then returned to the pan along with the cheese until it all blends. Served this over mashed sweet potato, rice, or couscous.

      1. re: greygarious

        Love the idea of serving this over mashed sweets. What a delicious sounding combo. Or the couscous, with lots of nummy herbs mixed in.

      2. re: Analisas mom

        Well that won't work then :-)

        Interesting you should say boneless. I'm thinking of making the orange ginger sauce for a bookclub group coming over in a few weeks and was thinking of making some kind of chicken piccataesque dish with the sauce drizzled over. Good luck with it. Great post idea as there are so many delicious looking recipes and ideas coming forth.

        1. re: Analisas mom

          This is a sweet-and-sour chicken recipe that originated in the Jewish ghetto in either Venice or Rome, depending on who's describing it, hundreds of years ago. Originally it was made with firm-bodied fish, but this is an updated version, using dipped and breaded boneless/skinless chicken breasts instead of the fish.

          Ingredient list:

          The chicken:
          * 2-2.5 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breast halves, all skin and cartilage removed, including the tendon in the mignon/tender piece, then pounded flat between sheets of plastic wrap or in a Ziploc bag.
          * 2 eggs
          * 1 heaping teaspoon salt
          * 1/2 level teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
          * between 1/2 c. and 1 c. of plain bread crumbs (enough for dredging chicken breasts)

          Wet marinade:
          * 1# red onions, diced
          * 1 c. red wine vinegar
          * 3/4 c. pure olive oil
          * 1/2 T. salt

          Dry marinade:
          * 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves stripped from stems
          * 7-8 cloves of garlic (just less than a whole regular-sized head), peeled
          * 1 c. raisins
          * 2 oz. toasted pine nuts

          To saute:
          more pure olive oil for sauteeing

          To prepare chicken breasts for sauteeing, mix eggs, 1/2 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper together in a bowl that has some width. Put 1/2 c. of breadcrumbs on a large, flat plate. Dip pounded chicken breasts in egg mixture until completely coated, then dredge in breadcrumbs until coated. Transfer dredged chicken breasts to another large platter. Use more breadcrumbs as needed.

          Transfer dredged chicken breasts to refrigerator to firm them up before frying. If you don't have enough platters, or enough room in your refrigerator for multiple platters of chicken, you can stack the chicken breasts on one platter between sheets of wax paper or parchment.

          Make wet marinade: Heat up 3/4 c. of olive oil in a large, heavy, non-reactive pot. I use stainless steel. A 4- or 6-quart size is perfect. If you use cast iron, make sure it is enameled, as vinegar will react with plain cast iron. When oil is shimmering, add onions and cook until translucent. Add red wine vinegar and cook covered until onions are completely soft, 45 minutes to an hour.

          Meanwhile, make the dry marinade. Pulse garlic in food processor until it is rough-chopped, then add parsley leaves to food processor. Pulse until you have tiny pieces of garlic and the parsley is completely chopped. Remove to bowl and mix with raisins and pignoli.

          After I make the wet and dry marinades, I take the time to clean up my kitchen a bit. By the time I'm done, the chichen is chilled to the perfect degree of firmness.

          Heat up a stainless frypan. Add olive oil to your pre-heated pan, and when it starts to shimmer, add your first prepared chicken breast halves. Let it fry long enough to develop a nice crust. Flip to the other side and let that side fry to a golden brown. Slice into the chicken to make sure it's cooked through.

          Remove each cooked chicken breast to a non-reactive container about 2" tall that has room for two chicken breast halves laid flat. 8" square or 9" x 13" pyrex dishes will work, as will a 9" square dish. Stainless is good, too. Just don't use cast iron, aluminum, or plastic containers.

          Sprinkle some of the dry marinade and then the wet marinade on top of the cooked chicken. Take the pan off the stove while you're doing this -- you don't want it getting too hot when there's nothing in it. Then continue sauteeing your chicken. Let the pan come back up to heat, then add more oil as needed. Repeat the process until all your chicken breast halves are cooked and then marinating in the dry and wet marinades.

          Cover and refrigerate. Serve no sooner than six hours later. It's especially good the next day.

          If you're having this for a sit-down dinner, serve whole pieces of chicken with marinade piled on top. Serves four.

          For a buffet item, slice 1/2" pieces on the diagonal, cutting slices in half if too big for bite size. (This is a great party dish. It's easy to eat with just a fork, and you have to make it ahead of time.)


          In addition to sweet (raisins, onions) and sour (vinegar), bitter (parsley, garlic, onion) and salty (salt) flavors are incorporated in this dish. You may find you want to tweak these flavors a little bit to your own taste the next time you make it, adding a little more (or less) vinegar, garlic, or salt.

          1. re: Jay F

            Is this chicken served cold? I don't see anything about re-heating it after the six-+ hours in the fridge - if it's re-heated would the chicken overcook easily? How do you do it, and what would you serve it with?
            Thanks Jay F.

            1. re: Lotti

              Yes, it's meant to be served cold; however, it is also quite delicious at room temperature, so if you were to finish the recipe within two hours of your eating time, you wouldn't have to refrigerate it. But you don't reheat it, ever.

              I like serving it with a bright green veg, such as green beans or broccoli, cooked plain or with just some butter, s&p. Also, orange is a nice color here, so carrots or squash wouldn't be bad.

              You could serve some kind of creamy pasta as a first course. There's no cheese in the dinner I've described above, so just a small bit of bite-sized pasta with butter and parmigiano-reggiano makes a nice starter. It's really my favorite thing to start with, as none of its ingredients gets duplicated in the main course.

              If you want to just serve a single course, you could substitute the pasta for one of the veg.

              I think in terms of color with this because the onions in the chicken become nearly purple as they absorb the RWV. It's very nice to look at.

              Saffron would provide another good color.

              Hope this helps.

        2. Start with skin on, bone-in chicken breasts.

          Brine them (mixture of salt, rosemary, ginger and crushed garlic).

          Mix together instant espresso, instant hot chocolate mix, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes. Place mixture into a shallow plate.

          Remove breasts from brine, dry completely, then place the chicken skin side down on the espresso-chocolate powder mixture.

          Heat up a cast iron pan has hot as you can get it by putting it under your broiler.

          Remove pan and place on stove, with the heat turned on high.

          Now, preheat your oven to 375 F.

          Place the chicken, skin side down, on your cast iron pan and let the skin crisp up to a nice golden brown. Do not flip the chicken at all. Just let it rest there.

          Finish off the chicken in your preheated oven.

          Serve and plate with a sauce of your choosing -- I prefer a chocolate vinagrette, but that's just me.

          Good luck.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Question, Ipse: proportion of water to brine ingredients? Sounds divine. Also wouldn't mind hearing more about that choco vinaigrette.

            1. re: mamachef

              For the brine:
              - 1.5 cups of kosher salt for each gallon of water (2 cups of salt if using table salt)
              - 5 large cloves of garlic, peel and crushed (not diced or chopped)
              - 1 medium ginger root (~3 inches), roughly chopped

              As to the chocolate vinagrette:
              - 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, pref. well aged
              - 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or champagne vinegar)
              - 1 ounce dark chocolate, melted (the darker the better, usu. I use 90% cocoa)
              - 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
              - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
              - Fresh ground pepper to taste
              Combine all ingredients and blend in food processor.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                "For the brine:
                - 1.5 cups of kosher salt for each gallon of water (2 cups of salt if using table salt)"

                Whoaa. You sure about that? Kosher salt is typically lighter and flakier than table salt, less dense, so you need less table salt vs kosher salt in a brine, not more.

                Per Cook's Illustrated, the usual formula is : "If using kosher salt, our rule of thumb is to use twice as much Diamond Crystal kosher salt as table salt and 1 1/2 times Morton's kosher salt as table salt." In addition, they say "We usually list both kosher and regular table salt in recipes that call for brining. Because of the difference in the size of the crystals, cup for cup, table salt is about twice as concentrated as kosher salt."

                Increasing the volume of salt going from kosher to regular salt would dramatically increase the total salt level of the brine. 1.5 cups of table salt in a brine vs the same amount of Diamond Crystal would be double the saltiness. 2 cups of table salt would be equal to 4 cups of Diamond Crystal, or 2.66 times the level of saltiness!

                1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                  You're absolutely right.

                  Brain fart on my part. The measurements for table and kosher salt should be reversed.

                  So, it shoud be 1.5 cups of table salt and 2 cups of kosher.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    grazie for correction. and, I'm such a sodiumhead that I'm going to make this for Sunday dinner, just the way you described, and I don't care if my eyes swell shut, that's how good it sounds. I have a question, though: am trying to think of appropriate sides for this since the choco and espresso make for an interesting mix and I don't want to over-or-underpower or clash. What do you usually serve with this fabulousness? And what would you consider an appropriate and appealing dessert?

          2. This Panko-Crusted Chicken With Mustard-Maple Pan Sauce from Bon App├ętit is really, really good.

            I also really like Nigella's Za'atar Chicken which you could probably adjust to boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

            And one more to play with.
            David Lieberman's Apricot-Glazed Sweet & Sour Chicken With Sage

            1. With boneless skinless breasts, pound into large, thin cutlets and trim square. Use the scraps for something else. Begin a velvet by marinating them in egg white, salt and cornstarch. Remove from egg/cornstarch mix, drain and fry until beautifully golden. Make finely pureed tomato sauce with peeled tomato, carrot, onion, and juice of the small citrus of your choice. Yuzu or meyer lemon is a good choice. Cut chicken into even, rectangular planks and stack. Pool sauce on plate and pour evenly over chicken stack. Top with deep fried, paper thin rings of the citrus used for the sauce. Optionally tempura batter the slices.

              The chicken will be extremely tender and the sauce should be bright and acidic. Clean tasting summery dish.

              1. I agree with a couple of the other commenters that, if boneless skinless is the plan, you should pound it thin. I think that just a simple breading of seasoned flour and then a simple pan sauce of wine, stock, lemon juice/zest and capers is dynamite. Fab served over pasta or rice pilaf or garlicky mashed potatoes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LauraGrace

                  LG, ever add a touch of anchovy paste to it? that little extra "something" totally rounds out the flavor.

                2. All these recipes sound soooo good, but here's my contribution: pound out 6-oz. breasts to 1/4" thickness, lightly salt and pepper. Make a stuffing of toasted breadcrumbs, tart sauteed apples and celery and onion seasoned with sage, moistened with chicken stock and butter. Put 1/4 c. stuffing at bottom of chicken cutlet, and roll, tucking in ends. Tie off with butcher's string. Dredge in seasoned flour and brown well on all sides over med. heat., about 15 minutes total. Place in baking pan, pref. glass. Pour 1/2 c. apple cider mixed w/ 1/2 c. white wine, seasoned with a bit of ginger, salt and pepper over; cover. Finish in 350 F oven for about 25 minutes til ljuices run clear; remove string and let rest 10 minutes. Slice crosswise into 1/4 " slices. Deglaze pan with a little extra wine or cider; mount with a little butter if desired and correct seasoning. Great with rice pilaf with raisins and walnuts and braised endives or spinach, and baked tomatoes with garlic and olive oil.

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: mamachef

                    Wherever you live, I'm coming over and you're making that and also teaching me how to make it. Ommmm nom nom.

                    1. re: LauraGrace

                      Can I come too??? That sounds DEADLY!

                      1. re: Chefalicious

                        Table for all, Chefalicious. always room for another CH. The beauty of this recipe is that it can be prepped all the way through the browning, and then 25 minutes is left, which sounds about right for a starter and some wine, and salad before the entree comes. As long as it gets fired, and not just called right away, it's a perfect restaurant-service adaptable recipe. Same thing can be done with the chicken, using a filling of chopped spinach, sundried tomatoes, toasted pinenuts and ricotta, basil and lemon zest. Yowzah!

                        1. re: mamachef

                          Nice! I am so excited to try this - thank you so much for sharing.

                      2. re: LauraGrace

                        LauraGrace, it would be my pleasure to have you at table!! But....seriously, if you need extra detail on the above recipe, I'd be most happy to answer any questions you have because this is one heavy-hitter, (You can also play around with Calvados and bacon and cream and fennel with this one.) Ask away, I'm always happy to help a fellow CH. : )

                        1. re: mamachef

                          I'll have the one w/Calvados, bacon, cream, and fennel please. (Can you get any more of my favorite flavors in?) That sounds like a great way to transform a chicken breast, MC. I'll be trying that soon.

                      3. re: mamachef

                        Mamachef, as usual with your suggestions, this sounds absolutely delicious! Would you mind sharing basic proportions/directions on both the apple stuffing and bacon/fennel/Calvados stuffing? :::::::::::::::::::::: wiping drool off keyboard ::::::::::::::::::::::

                        Glad to hear that you're feeling better!

                        1. re: mebby

                          Mebby, I'm off to the Doctah this morning for a checkup, but as soon as I get back I'll post the ingies. and props. off to you. glad you like.

                          1. re: mebby

                            Hey Mebby:
                            Here's what I usually go with. The proportions aren't perfectly exact; this is one of those "by feel" kinda recipes, but it's within a tablespoon or two of correct proportions.
                            For apple stuffing:
                            2 c. lightly toasted or dried breadcrumbs, any type (sourdough's great, also walnut bread)
                            1 large tart apple, peeled and diced
                            1/2 large onion, peeled and diced
                            1/2 c. chopped celery
                            roughly 1/4 c. melted butter
                            1/3-1/2 c. chicken stock (canned is fine for this).
                            salt, pepper, sage, a bit of thyme if you like that flavor
                            Saute apples, onions and celery in butter until just tender (I pre-cook so that the vegs. don't give up their water into the stuffing, thereby doofusing the flavor.) Add Breadcrumbs, and mix well. Moisten (starting w/ 1/3 c.) w/ chix. broth. Mixture should have moisture, but not be soggy, sort of what you'd do for Thanksgiving stuffing.) This will prove sufficient for 8 really good-sized chicken breasts, pounded to about a 7-8 inch diameter. Stuff, roll, tie and braise as indicated. I'm sending on the calvados recipe too, but hot tip? If you want to, you can sub. Calvados for cider in this recipe too. And, you can add some chopped toasted nuts to the filling if you really wanna gild the old lily; just enough for crunchy texture.
                            For the fennel version:
                            1&1/2 c. thinly shaved fennel
                            8 strips bacon, chopped and crispy
                            2 c. breadcrumbs (my sis. makes hers with Ritz crackercrumbs, and they are absolutely DELICIOUS that way, too)
                            1 c. Calvados, divided in half
                            1 c. heavy cream, divided in half
                            salt, pepper, a little fennel seed.
                            Saute the fennel in the bacon fat you've got left over, until just softening. Add rest of ingredients, reserving half the calvados and cream to pour over chicken. Again, filling should be moist, but not soggy. Fill, roll and tie that chicken: pour mixture of booze and cream over, and bake away. We really love the fennel version with orzo with a little sundried tomato chopped in, and some chives, etc.
                            Enjoy these. I suspect they'll become repertoire material. I know they did for me, once I got my grubby little hands on the idea.

                            1. re: mamachef

                              Mamachef: Thanks for posting the fennel version. Question: Did you just forget to mention the apples this time, or do you make this version without? (Sounds like the apples would work well w/the fennel, bacon, Calvados. Also sounds like the combo ould be great w/pork).
                              I'm guessing that with that amount of stuffing,you could stuff 4-6 breasts?

                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                You caught the brainfart, nomadchowwoman. Yep, add that diced apple too - it's all about that and the salty bacon and creamy calvados sauce. And yes, proportions given are perfect for 6 large breasts, well-pounded.
                                Mmmmmm: pork would be an awesome pairing. How would we do this? Use tenderloin, and flatten it? Or maybe do a layered thing, with browned bone-in pork chops? That would be a little more rustic, but I'm all about rustic. What do you think?

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  I could see it rolled in pork "cutlets" (from the loin or just rolled right into a loin roast--or, rustic, as a bed for the bone-in chops you mention. Rustic sounds good to me.
                                  At any rate, I copied your recipe into my files--and when I went back to it today to make the notes re: the fennel version, I found I had inadvertently left out a word--"chicken"--when naming it, so it wasin my recipe file as "Mamachef's Breasts"!

                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                    you should just keep it like that, and then someday, when your ancestors are thumbing through the old family recipes, they'll find it and just freak right out. My kinda humor.

                                    1. re: mamachef

                                      I will, then, since I haven't offended--it sure gave me a start and a chuckle when I saw it.
                                      It reminds me of taking my 5 YO niece to the FM, and at one of the stands, a guy was selling and offering samples of a convection he called Venus's Nipples. My niece looked him straight in the eye and asked "What is that?" He replied, "it's candy. Have a piece." Not satisfied, of course, she pressed me for an explanation of the odd name. I, beiieving in trying to give honest explanations to children (as opposed to some of the cockamamie ones I heard as a child), explain who Venus was, that nipples are on breasts, etc., and why a sweet might be named that. When I deposited her to her mother later, my sister asked her what she'd done at the FM. She reported that she had had a sample of chocolate milk, petted a rooster, and tasted some beauty queen's breasts!

                                      At any rate, hope you are resting and recuperating, Mamachef. I'm sure the boys are missing you and your culinary delights.

                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        Oh oh OH I'm so glad you shared that, NCW!! Years ago, I worked for a chocolatier up in the wine country, right after Chocolat came out, and of course she developed her own "Nipples of Venus" confection. My son Daniel used to make a daily habit of stopping by the shop on his way home from school, and one day I was in the process of wrapping a customer's purchase of a dozen of them. He asked what they were. I told him. Evidently he didn't have his goodest listening ears on, because then when the customer left, he asked me if he could try "one of those nickels of Venus." WWWWWWWWWWWaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahaha!
                                        What delightful memories, I wonder if your niece remembers? Because, as we both know, it will become part of the family lore.
                                        I am feeling better daily. Getting kinda used to being "done for", though Mr.'s always been a pretty 50/50 kinda fella. Taking next week off too. We've eaten the meat loaf the guys brought over for ML sammies all week long, and it wasn't bad. Which, considering it's from the recipe book I keep at the Frathouse, isn't too suprising. Still, they had a light hand, didn't treat it like a football or play-doh, and it tastes nice. : )

                                        1. re: mamachef

                                          Nickels of Venus--that's pretty good! (And I just realized I used "convection" instead of "confection"--not so cute.) Art Linkletter was right, kids do say the darnedest things.
                                          Finally, the weather's turning. As soon as I can get my hands on some decent fennel, I 'm on that Mamachef bacon-fennel-Calcados-cream recipe. Mentioned it to DH, and he said, "soon, please."

                          2. Wow I'm getting so many great ideas pleas keep them coming I'm opening up test kitchen next week and I want to try several of these so far.

                            1. Pound the breast into a paillard--s & p. Heat some oil & garlic in saute pan. Cook chicken a few minutes on each side until done & remove chicken to plate to keep warm (cover w/foil). Deglaze pan with lemon juice, turn off heat & add a big hunk of goat cheese which will melt into a wonderful sauce with the chicken drippings & lemon juice. Put chicken back in pan & turn over to coat. Serve with sauce and top w/ either chopped chives, fresh thyme or fresh chopped basil. Really simple but is so good.

                              1 Reply
                              1. Why would you serve boneless, skinless chicken breasts at a restaurant? I would, at the very least, change it up to airline breasts.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jameshig

                                  Do you mean a French-cut breast, with the wing attached? It is an elegant presentation, that's true, but she may be thinking about evenness of cooking because a French wing can be hard to do ala minute. I do agree about the skinless part though: Analisas Mom, you should leave that crunchy stuff on there! Granted, no one goes out to a restaurant seeking fat saturation, but by the same token, I don't think the general population goes out looking for the lowest-calorie thing they can find. I might be wrong about that; it's just a thought. Meanwhile, boneless breast is a great choice that lends itself to myriad preps. and methods.

                                2. A few pretty basic questions that might help us along:
                                  What type of restaurant? Specialties? How upscale? Any other chicken on the menu already? Does the chicken dish have to be healthy? Have any idea of price range for the dish?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                    Second the questions! I've had ideas to respond, but have always second-guessed how appropriate they were.....

                                  2. A lot flavors going on but I have a sort of saltimbocca/marsala/piccata dish where I flour paillards lightly, brown in olive oil, top with fresh sage leaves, prosciutto, and fontina, add a healthy few grinds of black pepper, douse in marsala and a bit of fresh lemon juice and cover just long enough to melt the cheese. I know it sounds sort of Olive Garden, but it is delicious.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: tim irvine

                                      Saltimbocca's a classic; doesn't sound Olive-gardenish to me at all. My one caution would be to make very sure that the madeira isn't too sweet; otherwise this is an outstnding dish.