A quick and flavorful weeknight meal that uses only three ingredients, plus the sauce, which uses only three more!
Although this budget-friendly dish is extremely quick to make and uses few ingredients, it can stand up to the scrutiny of company as well.
I cook mine in a cast iron frying pan, my trusty kitchen sidekick that was originally my grandmother’s. These pans heat evenly, retain their heat, and over time develop a non-stick finish. If you don’t have one, search your local flea markets for a bargain. You can also purchase already seasoned new pans at reasonable prices these days.
When I’m cooking chicken, I use local organic whenever possible.
Yes, it is more expensive than non-organic, but I’d rather serve the meat eaters in my family a smaller piece that was naturally raised, than a large factory farm meat product. I buy mine from my local farmer, so I know how the chickens are treated.
My trick with this dish is to pound out the breasts to even up their thickness; this allows them to cook evenly, and also expands their size, so they look a little larger to the meat-eaters’ eyes. You can also buy the larger breasts and cut them in half on a diagonal angle so that when you pound them out, or butterfly them, they will be roughly the same size. Some breasts today weigh nearly a pound! Needless to say, that is not a serving!
The potato flakes are something my mother always had on the shelf and she used them for a few kitchen magic tricks like thickening soups. They make terrible mashed potatoes, but the tricks are worth having them in your pantry, and crusting fish or poultry is their best one. The subtle fried potato flavor is there giving it heartiness, but it does not overpower the protein.
Roast your sides while the chicken is cooking
I like this served with simple roasted vegetables, also quick for a weeknight. Cut up your vegetables, coat with a little olive oil, heat your oven to 425, and roast them until they start to brown, turning them once. This can all happen while you are cooking the chicken. If you only want to clean up one pan, roast the chicken in the oven along with the veggies.
4 chicken breasts, 4 ounces each, or thighs if you prefer dark meat
4 tsp. or so Dijon style mustard
1/2 cup or so instant organic potato flakes (such as Shiloh Farms)
2 or 3 tbsp. olive oil for frying
2 tbsp. mayonnaise, regular or low-fat
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. orange marmalade
Milk to thin
Using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, or bottom of a small pan, pound out your chicken breasts to one thickness, and then pound just a bit more to expand the size. Sprinkle both sides with a little salt and pepper.
On each breast, smear about a teaspoon of mustard, rubbing into both sides; it doesn’t take much, think of it as a thin layer of edible glue. Coat both sides of the chicken with the potato flakes, pressing them into the mustard.
Wash your hands, and use tongs to handle the chicken from this point on.
Heat your cast-iron or large non-stick skillet to medium high. Once it is hot, add the olive oil, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, and add your chicken breasts. Cook for about five or six minutes, until a quick peek tells you the breasts are golden brown. Turn, cover, and reduce the heat. Continue cooking over medium to medium low (it all depends on your stove) until the chicken registers 160 degrees. You do not want them to brown before being cooked through, although they will cook quite fast because of their thinness.
Let it rest while you finish everything else
Remove from the pan to a wire rack, tent or cover, and let rest for five minutes or so. The temperature should rise to 165, and the meat will still be juicy and tender. The wire rack keeps the bottom of the chicken as crispy as the top.
While chicken is resting, whip up your sauce by mixing all the ingredients together and thin to your desired consistency. Top with a little diced tomato if you like, or a squeeze of lemon to brighten it up.
© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read
What a great idea! I have never heard of potato flakes….I’ll have to do a check next time I’m at the supermarket. I agree with organic being the way to go…as a meat eater I feel compelled to ensure the animals I eat have lived the best life possible, it is for this reason and to ensure I tread as gently on this earth as possible I seek out organic produce. How lovey to have something passed done from your grandmother… I treasure the few items I have from my Nanna.
Thank you for your comments, and I’m always glad to hear of others who seek out organic foods, for both health and humane concerns. Good luck in your hunter gathering for the potato flakes. They are wonderful to have on the shelf to thicken soups without flour and to crust chicken and fish.
This looks really moist! I will have to try it.
Thanks! And, it is moist because you pound out the chicken to an even layer so no part is going to cook first and dry out.
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