I’ve found so much joy in cooking lately. It’s been great for me to be able to pick up spring-fresh ingredients and think of new dishes. In days that waver between warm and sunny and cold and dreary, it’s soothing to explore the colors of cooking and move away from the somewhat colorless dishes of winter. And amidst the uncertainty of a world in recession and in a state of violent flux, it’s one of life’s consistent pleasures to be able to cook a meal for family and friends and enjoy conversation and friendship. I’ve served the following meal twice this week to friends and each time it varied a bit (me and my inconsistent measuring skills) but it’s a very forgiving recipe and you can alter it as much as you want!
Chicken with Balsamic Dressing
- 4 skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 cup flour, well seasoned (I add about a tablespoon of Spike)
- olive oil
- 2 red onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 6 stalks celery, thinly sliced
- 4-6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 3-4 sweet red chilis, thinly sliced
- 2-3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- parsley, chopped for garnish
Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally – you’ll now have eight thin slices. Depending on the size of your chicken breasts, it may be helpful to roll them thin with a rolling pin so that you have nice uniform pieces. Dredge in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Heat some olive oil in pan and brown the chicken on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan (don’t rinse it) add the red onion, celery, garlic and chili and cook for about five minutes or until the celery and onion begin to soften.
Add the tomatoes and cook over medium high heat until tomatoes begin to break down, about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir sauce to mix flavors. Season to taste (I usually end up adding a little salt here but you don’t need to add a lot). Return the chicken breasts to pan (just lay them on top of sauce) and simmer for about 5 more minutes so sauce thickens. Place two chicken pieces on each pan and spoon sauce over. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with green vegetable (I like french green beans steamed until tender-crisp and drizzled with a little olive oil and lemon juice with fresh parmesan shavings on top). Serve with fresh, hearty, wholegrain bread to soak up the excess sauce.