I laughed so much making this dinner, Dennis said, "I'm not sure I want to eat something that you're laughing at that much."
It's not that there's anything particularly funny abut the recipe (the third and final recipe from this book). It's just that, looking at it, I assumed it was going to be terrible. It wasn't setting up right, even after I took it out of the oven, and it just looked like a soupy mess.
Don't worry, though. It's really good. And if you can hold off eating it for 10 to 15 minutes, it does eventually solidify enough to not look like baked chicken soup.
In other news, Rachael Ray tried to do it to me again. I'm not sure exactly what vendetta lemons have against me, but they are all bound and determined to ruin my recipes with all of their citrusness. When I put the lemon on the salad, it overpowered it. All you could taste was lemon.
I was not going to lose the Lemon War again, so to fix it, I added balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to the salad. Dennis loved this. He said it was the best salad ever. He had eaten all of his before the chicken was even done. As such, I'm not going to include the full amount of lemon in the ingredients, and I'll add balsamic vinegar. It really was a good salad. And good (if ugly!) chicken, too!
Chicken au Gratin
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
A "handful" flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Juice from one lemon (COOKER BEWARE!)
A few splashes balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
Greens for two salads
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add the thyme, chicken, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes.Add the onion and cook 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cream.
(Now. . .the recipe says to cook for 5 minutes after adding the stock and cream. However, after 5 minutes, mine looked like this:
That doesn't look even remotely done to me. So I simmered it for quite a while, until it reduced down.)
At some point, when it's reduced down as you'd like it to, add the parsley and cook for another minute.
In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the cheese. Pour the chicken mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle the top with the breadcrumb-cheese mixture. Dot the top with cold butter pieces.
(At this point in the cooking process, I'm dying laughing, because it looked like this:
What is that even? I don't even know.)
Place the dish under the broiler and brown, 1-3 minutes. (Mine was closer to 5.)
This is what it looked like after 5 minutes under the broiler:
For those of you keeping score at home, that looks exactly like the pre-broiler dish, except with browned breadcrumbs and melted butter.
Finally, make your salad. Mix your greens with some lemon (BE CAREFUL!), the remaining olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.
I promise, this is really tasty. Ugly, but delicious. Give it a few minutes to settle, and it'll come around.