Do you ever have one of those days where the thought of rustling up something in the kitchen seems akin to sitting for an important exam that you failed to prepare for? We've all been there.
Maybe you're tired. Maybe you'd rather just drink because it was one of those kind of days. Or maybe you just have no creative juices left. And yet, you still have to put food on the table because you have a household of people counting on you?
Honey, this recipe is for you. Chicken Paillards are an "I-don't-give-a-damn-about-dinner-tonight" kinda recipe, but you'd never know it by tasting them.
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These little bad boys require a total of just 5 ingredients, including the chicken. I can almost guarantee that you have everything in your pantry right now - flour, eggs, bread crumbs/panko, herbs/spices, and some chicken breasts. While you have complete freedom over how you season your paillards, I happen to be a sucker for premixed flavor bombs that reduce my workload even further.
My go to flavoring for this application is a magical mixture called Johnny's Garlic Spread & Seasoning. I literally always have it in the spice cabinet. I get it from Costco in 18 oz containers, and I'm on the third one since I discovered it last year. It has garlic, parmesan, salt, "spices," and parsley.
And y'all, you know I'm not one to proselytize. But you should BUY IT. NOW. It's a kitchen workhorse. Here's a list of just a few ways I use Johnny's every week. If you're wanting some garlic bread on the fly but don't feel like making a compound butter? Use this instead. Want to jazz up that box of mac and cheese to taste a little less like toddler snacks? Shake a little Johnny's magic in there. Need a fast WFH lunch? Add a spoonful of Johnny's into some tuna with olive oil or mayo and eat it with salad or crackers. Have a craving for flavored popcorn? Johnny's is here to help. It's. So. Good.
Depending on the kind of day you had, this first step might be the best part. Either using the heel of your hand or a meat mallet, pound out those breasts down to about a half inch thickness. However thick they are, just make sure they're even. And get out your aggression. It helps.
Now, this next part might seem fussy to you because it takes three separate bowls. Don't be fooled. You won't need to scrub anything to clean them up. Just tip whatever is left over in the bin when you're done, give them a cheeky rinse and throw them in the dishwasher. Trust me. The three bowl method is necessary and will make these adult worthy chicken tenders delicious.
In the first bowl, you'll add your AP flour plus a hefty sprinkle of salt and pepper. In the second bowl, you'll whip up an egg or two with a bit of water. And in the third bowl, you'll put your breadcrumbs or panko and whatever spices you want. Again, I'm here to plead ol' Johnny's case. He will make your life so much tastier and easier that you could imagine. But like Fleetwood Mac said, you can go your own way.
This dipping system also seems fussy at first glance, but it isn't. It also isn't super important, but it will prevent your hands from getting all caked up with chicken crust. Here goes: Using your dominant hand, dip the first piece of chicken in the seasoned flour. Transfer it to the egg bowl, keeping your dominant hand away from the eggs. Use your non-dominant hand to get the egg mixture all over the chicken piece, then transfer it to the bread crumbs. Going back to your dominant hand, pat the crumbs into place all over that egg mix. Set the chicken aside and repeat until all pieces are fully coated. Easy, right? Now all you have to do is pan fry those beauties in batches until they're golden brown.
Depending on who you're sharing a table with, you can choose what pairings you want to offer with the chicken paillards. I personally think you can never go wrong with a simple green salad, and my personal favorite leaf is arugula in almost every context. It's delightfully peppery, nice and dark green (meaning it's full of fiber, folate, iron and all kinds of other good-for-you vitamins), and pairs well with bright vinaigrettes (which also happen to be my favorite type of salad dressing) and some shaved parmesan. But if you're feeding a toddler, maybe ranch or BBQ sauce is more appropriate served with a side of steamed broccoli. You could also throw them in a wrap with some greens, cheese and pickled red onions. They'll be delicious no matter what.
In any event, I can almost guarantee that any omnivorous human will love these chicken paillards. And you can feel like a hero feeding them to your loved ones because they are healthy, unprocessed, and you can control how much fat and sodium goes into them. And the best part? They literally take 20 minutes from the time you pull that packet of chicken out of the fridge until they're ready for eating. And that's if you take the time to leisurely sip on that well-deserved glass of wine while you're making them.
So if you've got yourself a case of the Sunday Scaries tonight, or if a night later this week has you feeling defeated, don't fret. Pour yourself a generous glass, turn on some happy tunes, and pull this recipe out. Dinner will be ready before you can pour your second. Till next time, friends, I hope you have a delicious and healthy day.
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Easy Chicken Paillards
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- ¼ C AP Flour
- Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 Egg
- 1 tablespoon Water
- ½ C Bread Crumbs or Panko
- 2 tablespoon Johnny's Garlic Spread & Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Oil for pan frying
- Using the heel of your hand or a meat mallet, pound chicken breasts to even thickness, about ½ inch.Cut chicken vertically into evenly sized strips. (This step is optional, but makes it more like "chicken fingers" for kids)
- Set up your breading station. Pull out three shallow, wide bowls (pasta bowls are perfect). In one, add AP flour, salt and pepper. In the second, beat the egg with the water. In the third, add the breadcrumbs and seasoning.
- Using your dominant hand, dip a piece of chicken in the flour mix, turning to coat it. Place it in the egg mixture, being careful not to get the egg on your dominant hand. Using your non-dominant hand, cover the chicken in the egg mix, then place in the bread crumb mix. Use your dominant hand to coat the chicken in bread crumbs. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.
- Heat oil in sautée pan until shimmering. Add chicken in batches, making sure to give enough space for the chicken to not overlap. Cook until breading is golden, about 3-4 minutes, then flip. Cook until other side is golden.
- Serve with your favorite sides. I prefer mine with a simple arugula salad dressed in lemon vinaigrette and topped with shaved parmesan. Enjoy!
Let's taco 'bout it.