chicken · Dinner

Milanesa de pollo

This is a recipe that I picked up in Argentina. Before making this, I was of the opinion that chicken breast is kind of gross, often dry, and definitely boring. Then I realized: the secret to delicious chicken breast is to pound it flat and add lots of seasonings. Welcome to the best fried chicken tenders you have ever had.

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of panko bread crumbs (I made my own (gluten free-) recipe below)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp quality salt
  • 1 TBS fresh oregano leaves, or 1 tsp dried
  • 1/2 tsp white and black pepper freshly ground
  • Cayenne to taste (can also be left out for a kid friendly recipe)
  • 2-4 cups olive oil blend (depending on size of pan)

If you are making your panko bread crumbs, start on them first. The quality of bread is not important for panko, what sets them apart is their shape. They are little shreds, versus round tiny crumbs.

 

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Choose any old loaf of stale bread. White is traditional, but you can use any type of bread that sounds good. Either grate the bread or put it through the grater on the food processor. Line an ungreased baking sheet with the crumbs, and put in the oven at 300° F (150° C.) Bake for 6-8 minutes, flip, and bake for 5 more- or until they are dry. Take them out before they brown. They will be ready when they are completely dry- oven time will depend on how much moisture is still in the bread.

Cut your chicken breast so that it lies completely flat, and pound it to 1/4 inch. Either leave the breasts whole, or cut into smaller pieces or strips. While this dish is often served with mozzarella and marinara on top, I decided to bend the rules and make a caesar salad. (I heard zero complaints 🙂

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Try not to break the meat when you pound it, while still getting it as thin as possible.

Whip up the eggs in a medium bowl and add oregano, salt, ground peppers, chili (and cayenne if you’re using it.)

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Source your eggs locally if possible! 

Add your chicken breasts to the egg mixture.

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You can leave this to sit in the fridge for up to 8 hours- which really helps the prep if you are considering using this recipe at a dinner party. Otherwise, let it soak for up to 15 minutes, if you have the time. 

Pour some panko into a large bowl, add an eggy piece of chicken, and pour some more panko on top. Press the bread crumbs into the chicken as much as possible. Set it aside and repeat with the remaining chicken.

I used a cast iron to fry the chicken, but you can use whatever you’re most comfortable with. Heat 1/4 inch of oil to medium high- if a drop of water sizzles, then its ready. Add as many pieces will fit in one layer, without overloading the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the bottom is browned. Flip, and repeat on the other side. Remove and let sit on paper towels. If you are not serving right away, keep the chicken in the oven at 240°F (114°C.)

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If your chicken was truly 1/4 inch, this will be enough time to cook it through while still leaving it juicy. If it is thicker, check one of the pieces by breaking it open, and make sure its completely cooked inside.

How you serve this is up to you. Adding a stellar marinara, some fresh mozzarella, and giving it one minute under the broiler is delicious. You can also top it with a queso fresco, or even a mild feta. I chose to put it on top of a caesar salad, and double cast it as crouton and chicken all in one. It was divine.

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Looks like I added a little hot sauce to the mix.
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Pestos, sauces and spreads

Cilantro Pesto

I love pestos of all sorts, and cilantro is a nice surprise! It has a very fresh taste, and compliments tacos and burritos amazingly. If you are wanting a traditional pesto though, you can sub basil. Funny story about cilantro, (or coriander, depending on your location) sometimes I see people separate out the leaves from the stem! The most flavor is held in the stems of cilantro, so I always cut mine all up together because it saves time and tastes better!

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Ingredients:

2 Large bunches of cilantro

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup parmesan (sub cashews for vegans)

1 cup of nuts- I used almonds but pine nuts, walnuts and pecans work well

1-5 cloves of garlic to taste (5 will be spicy)

Dash of salt

Squirt of lemon juice, or white wine vinegar

Dash of cayenne (optional)

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The prep on this is pretty simple. If you used almonds, you can soak them overnight. Throw everything into the blender or the food processor. You can add more oil if your pesto is too dry, everyone likes it a little different. If your cilantro is bitter, you can add a 1/2 tsp of honey incrementally to taste.

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And voila! Cilantro Pesto!

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Served with marinated herb feta, tomatoes and seeded crackers
Beverages

Almond milk from scratch

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I love drinking dairy alternatives, but the ones I find in the store taste like plastic oil water. I just got confirmation from my roommate that this recipe is incredible.

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What you will need for this recipe:

A blender, a nut milk sack or cheesecloth, a bowl.

Ingredients include: 1 cup of almonds, a small handful of dates or 2 TBS honey, 1tsp vanilla, and a dash of salt.

It all starts the night before. Soaking nuts is such a wonderful habit to form, it makes the nutrients much more readily available.

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Here are the before and after soaking pictures of my dry, unsalted, raw almonds. They doubled in size!

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The next step is to take your ingredients outside and photograph them! Just kidding, its time for the blender. Add a quart of water (4 cups) with all the ingredients and blend it well. I often let it sit for a few minutes after, and blend it again.FullSizeRender-1.jpg

Pour the mixture into a nut milk sack or cheesecloth (folded many times) over a bowl, and wring it out.FullSizeRender-2.jpg

And voila! Delicious almond milk! The almond meal can be refrigerated and used in baking, recipes coming soon.

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You can also use other nuts for this recipe. Some of my favorites are hazelnut, brazil nut, and cashew nut, but go ahead and experiment. A friend once put blueberries in with her almond milk, and that was delicious as well.

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Bonus recipe: my daily smoothie! Combine 1 cup of whole milk plain yogurt (I like Strauss), 1 banana, two leaves of kale or two huge handfuls or spinach, 1 cup almond milk, 2 TBS raw hemp powder, 1 cup of frozen fruit, and blend! I drink it every morning, and my roommate often joins me.

 

Epilogue!

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This is Amy making almond milk. She testifies that Justine’s recipe is AMAZING.