Thursday, March 24, 2011

Double Take: Panko Crusted Chicken with Mustard Maple Pan Sauce

As a society, we're pretty visually driven. I'd say its pretty rare to go to a movie without having seen the trailer with key scenes to convince us we need to see this movie. Its similar with books. Imagery in the title or the cover is used to convince us we should read it. I'd like to say I'm immune to that but I'm not. Some of the last few sets of books that I've picked out to read have caught my eye with the cover or title imagery.

While its slightly embarassing, I've come to like a series of Mennonite murder mysteries by Tamar Myers. The draw? All the titles are food puns and every 5 chapters integrates a recipe. Who can resist titles like No Use Dying over Spilled Milk and Too many Crooks Spoil the Broth? The recipes tend to have funny comments scattered inside and after noticing one such funny comment, I started reading the recipes rather than skimming through only if the title was interesting. The comment that drew me is was one for a pie, and well rather than spoil that entirely, I'll save it for an upcoming post. Suffice it to say, the food pun titles drew me to the satirical mysteries which drew me to reading and making recipes I would have otherwise overlooked.

As a second book example, I've noticed myself drawn to murder mysteries that have cats. If there's a cat on the cover, I'm most likely going to try at least one book in the serious. I know, this must me embarass myself day. My coworkers seem to tease me quite a bit for both my mystery interests, cooking and cats. The point is both are mechanisms to draw us to trying something. The whole five toe running shoe trend got started by a book with a guy who met tribal indians who ran well. Born to Run has managed to attract not only runners but also readers interested in a unique culture. Imagery is powerful.

On the note of the power of imagery, sometimes the difference between a recipe being tasted and enjoyed vs. going completely unnoticed comes down to one item....a picture. I subscribed to Bon Appetit for the last two years but over the past year, a lot of changes occurred. A major part of those changes was reflected in more recipes (yay) but more white space came along with it, not more photos. Saddo. It wasn't until this post that I associated how much I was influenced by the lack of pictures. The only recipes I made from Bon Appetit last year had pictures in the magazine that got my attention. Somehow other things just got glazed over and I discovered this week that it was a major loss. If I'd seen a picture of this chicken in the magazine by the recipe, I'd have made it sooner. I'm a fan of mustard and while mustard and maple together wouldn't have occurred to me, the combination with panko would have intrigued me, as it did this week. I went back to the original recipe in Bon Appetit and saw that they did take a picture of the recipe, but only had it on the internet. I enjoy internet searches for recipes but I'm unlikely to go back to a magazine's website for a picture to decide if I want to use the recipe. I'm glad that Culinary in the Desert tried it out for me and took a picture that made me compelled to wait no longer.

Panko Crusted Chicken Breast with Mustard Maple Pan Sauce (with modifications from the original recipe in Bon Appetit magazine and Culinary in the Desert)


2 8-oz boneless skinless chicken breasts sliced in half crosswise (through the thickness of the breast)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I prefer Greek)


1 large egg
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
~1/2 tsp salt
~1/2 tsp black pepper
1 c. panko


1 c. chicken broth
3 Tbsp maple syrup (This is just fine with a thick, flavorful pancake syrup of your preference)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp plus 1 teaspoon of coarse grained mustard or mustard seed (bust the mustard seed up a bit, if using)
1 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter

How To:

1. Beat the chicken down using a meat mallet or rolling pin to 1/3 to 1/2" thickness

2. Whisk egg, parsley, and Dijon mustard amounts listed under coating in a small bowl.Dip each piece of chicken in the sauce, salt and pepper to taste, then roll in the panko and place on a plate or wire rack. Let the chicken rest 5-10 minutes before cooking.

YAAAAWN! This chicken is now well rested. Proceed.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Gently place the chicken in the pan and cook 3-4 minutes per side until brown and thoroughly cooked.

4. While the chicken cooks, whisk together the first four ingredients of the sauce in a medium sized bowl.

5. When the chicken is done, place it on plates.

Sure, it looks good but just wait.

6. Pour the broth into the skillet and cook about 3 minutes to reduce it by 1/4. Remove from heat. Whisk the butter into the broth until melted.

7. Spoon sauce over chicken and ENJOY!

Now, wasn't it worth the wait for the sauce. Fabulous!

Response: I'm glad you asked. This recipe was so good, I called people. Seriously, I took a bite and called three people to tell them how great it was. Today was a rough day in the lab but this chicken made the other parts of the day melt away. They'll be back tomorrow but for tonight the chicken dominated. I don't really know how to describe it other than a sweet and tangy sauced chicken with a crunchy layer that only panko can give you. My advice to you is to try this chicken soon. If you really really really hate mustard, it might not be for you. One of my sister's really hates mustard. If you're neutral to mustard, this is a treat. If you love mustard, you're probably going to want to call people. You might even invite them to come try it, right then. You won't be offended if they don't take you up on it though....more for you! This would go in my favorite chicken recipes of all time list. Don't get me wrong, I'll change it a little more the next time I make it. I'd like the sauce to be a little thicker so I might add some extra panko or flour to the pan and toss in a little milk before adding the rest of the sauce. I know its unhealthy but gravy is good.

Another great point about this recipe that I have somehow neglected in the time. The original recipe touted this as a 30 minutes meal. Most of the time, I've found 30 minute meals to be a bit of a joke. They're 30 minute meals IF you can chop like a robotic iron chef. Not so here. I cooked some broccoli along side the chicken, piddled around the kitchen (a little), and still this meal was on the plate in 35 minutes flat. I was shocked.

Conclusion: 30 minutes to some of the sweetest, tangiest and crunchiest chicken I've ever had. Yum! I had to restrain myself not to go for seconds. This recipe is best fresh but it reheats pretty well.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for quick delicious meals! And yay for panko. I'm never going back to regular old breadcrumbs. These are worth the extra trip to the Asian store.