via "Magnolia Table" by Joanna Gaines
Chicken. Not just your typical, run-of-the mill chicken, but AH-MAZING, must-have, can't stop stuffing your face type of poultry. Fair warning, this is far from being healthy, but it's time to live a little and treat yoself on a Sunday (or any other night of the week for that matter). This life changing chicken can be served with pretty much anything, but I paired it with a pasta recipe found through Pinterest and a lemony arugula salad. "Mrs. Gail's Chicken" recipe is fairly simply; however, it takes a bit to prep since it's breaded. Oh... and prepare to get messy.
First things first, unless you've purchased chicken tender cutlets that have already been cut down to thin pieces, you'll want to slice the chicken breast into cutlet pieces that are between a half-inch to an inch thick. Now for the breading, I've found that the trick here was to use disposable tin baking pans that were large enough for the chicken cutlets to fit in without much maneuvering. Plus, it made for a super easy cleanup afterwards.
Another tip for breading chicken (or any other food that may call for breading) is to use a "wet" hand and a "dry" hand. That is... use your left hand to coat the chicken in the flour and then the breadcrumbs (step 1 and 3) and use your right hand to dip the chicken in the egg (step 2). That way, you avoid clumpy breading and a mod podge type of substance ending up on your hands (I learned this the hard way, see pictures below).
Once you've breaded all the chicken (took me about 30 minutes since I made enough for a small army), set it aside and pre-heat the oven to 220F. Using a large saute pan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until it's shimmering (it looks like it has this dreamy movement with mini-waves in it).
Place as much of the breaded chicken in the saute pan that will fit, without over crowding the pan (i.e. the chicken pieces don't touch each other). Fry until golden brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side) and remove from the pan onto a clean baking sheet. Continue this process until all of the chicken is cooked. Then pop the entire baking sheet into the oven for about 10 minutes (this is an extra step I took and kept the chicken crispy on the outside).
*Tip: I found that about halfway through frying the chicken, the later pieces didn't need as much time frying on each side because the oil was hotter. These later cutlets of chicken were also more crispy than the beginning pieces. Keep a closer eye on frying the later pieces.*
While the chicken was crisping a bit in the oven, I prepped the rest of the meal (pasta and salad) and cleared the counters. Before serving the chicken, make sure that the internal temperature has reached 165F to ensure that it's fully cooked.
Mrs. Gail's Chicken
Serves: 6-8 Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 pieces)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups panko or regular bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup olive oil, or as needed
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, or as needed
Preheat the oven to 200F (I preheated mine to 220F), if desired (see step 5).
To make the chicken: Lay a chicken breast on a work surface between two layers of plastic wrap or place it in a sturdy zip-top plastic bag. Gently pound it with a meat tenderizer until it is evenly 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. **this is where I cut the chicken into cutlet sized pieces about 1/2 to 1 inch thick. I did not thin the cutlet pieces using a tenderizer and everything came out just fine.** Repeat with the remaining breasts. If desired, cut the larger breasts crosswise in half so they're easier to handle. Lightly season them on both sides with salt and pepper.
In a large, shallow dish, whisk together the flower, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. In another large, shallow dish, beat the eggs. In a third large, shallow dish, whisk together the panko and Parmesan.
Working with one piece at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking to remove any excess **left hand**. Coat the chicken on both sides with the egg **right hand**. Let the excess run off and then dredge both sides in the panko/Parmesan mixture **left hand**. Place the chicken on a large baking sheet or platter and continue with the remaining chicken.
Line 1 to 2 large platters or baking sheets with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heath until the oil is shimmery and the butter is melted. Place as many pieces of chicken in the pan as can fit without crowding (you may be able to fit only two pieces, which is fine). Fry until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to the paper towels. Continue with the remaining chicken, adding more oil and butter as necessary so that there's plenty in the pan for each batch. (If desired you can place the chicken in the oven while you finish the dish, BUT REMEMBER to remove the paper towel from the baking sheets before putting in the oven).
Serve the chicken with whatever your heart desires.