Mom’s Garlic Chicken was my all-time favorite dish for dinner. Remember, the Banana-Chocolate Chip loaf was my favorite dessert. Are you starting to discover a pattern here? Of course I had to start my culinary expedition cooking meals that were my highlights. That softens the blow a little bit, right? I don’t consider this cheating but rather, like getting that long summer reading list from school and only starting with the books of interest. If I could purchase the Cliff Notes for all of Mom’s recipes I would, but, since that’s not a possibility, I’m starting with my notables.
Whenever I was about to go on break from college Mom would call me the night before my arrival and ask the perfunctory question, “what do you want for dinner when you get home?” She’d always chuckle because she really knew the answer. I guess it was our little game. When I’d arrive, usually weary from the flight and seemingly endless car ride from the airport, the house would be wafting with the sweetest garlicky aroma. And, somehow, Mom always timed the confluence of my arrival with dinner perfectly.
There, in the center of our very average-sized dinner table, lay the largest Pyrex dish ever seen (to me at least). It would be overflowing with at least 10 plump, moist, boned chicken breasts basting in a bubbly brown garlic marinade, coated with the crispiest breadcrumbs. I still chuckle at the memory of getting my hands slapped once or twice for trying to sneak eat a piece before the meal. To foil me, Mom would have the chicken arranged in perfect rows in the dish so she could see if any piece was manipulated. I alone could eat at least two full breasts at any sitting and, there were rarely any leftovers.
My big splurge for this cooking adventure: a Pyrex dish. I was adamant that I had to replicate the same dish Mom used. After an unsuccessful search upstairs in the Zabar’s kitchen section, I desperately begged an unsuspecting employee to go back to the stock room to check their inventory and dig out the last one they had in stock!
In hindsight, I realize at Zabar’s I was in crisis mode. This rash behavior further supports my theory that novice cooks are petrified to take risks, or to deviate from a plan i.e recipe. Would a different size baking dish really make any difference in the outcome? If it wasn’t a Pyrex dish and merely a name brand dish, would that matter? Obviously, in moment of panic, everything mattered. However, as fearful as I was, I did manage to make an executive decision to cook the chicken breasts without the bone (contrary to Mom’s suggestion). I guess I was anticipating a strong approval rating and therefor, needed to approach the meal presentation through the lens of its consumers – my kids. There’s no way they would eat meat on a bone, plain and simple.
While in prep mode, I scanned the recipe (see, I’m learning) and smiled as if I discovered a long lost secret. The recipe calls for stick and a half of butter! Aha. How could this not taste great with so much butter? While I do consider myself to be health conscious, I pledged allegiance to myself, my mom and this cooking blog that I would stay authentic to all the ingredients. I was also thrilled at another realization! This was the first time in my life I had to travel back to a food store to purchase an ingredient that had been used up on another recipe (aka – marinade for the flank steak). I’ve never bought any ingredient with the intent to cook, ever. I’m starting to have purpose.
Within minutes, that stick and a half of butter, the Worcestershire sauce, and the garlic bulbs were boiling together over top the meat in the oven.
Simultaneously, those sweet familiar aromatic smells transported me back to my house, 20 years ago. And, like in Mom’s kitchen, the kids just happened to rush in from school right when I was taking the finished masterpiece out from the oven.
“It smells good in here,” Alex sang out as he dropped his backpack and coat in the middle of the kitchen floor.
“Is this meal going to be over-cooked like the flank steak?” he asked, unabashed.
So much for my devoted beta-testers….
Judy’s Garlic Chicken
- 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- ½ cup of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp of lemon juice
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 2-4 eggs
- olive oil
- salt/pepper/parsley to taste
- 6 chicken cutlets (Judy preferred thick breasts with the bone, no skin though)
- panko flakes or bread crumbs (Judy preferred panko flakes)
- Chop garlic into very small pieces
- In medium saucepan melt butter, add garlic, chicken stock, Worcestershire, lemon juice, parsley and cook over medium heat till lightly boiling.
- Crack eggs and mix thoroughly.
- Place panko flakes and flour on a plate and mix together.
- Season cutlets with salt, pepper, oregano garlic powder.
- Dip cutlet in egg wash, drain excess egg, flatten cutlet in flour/panko flake mixture.
- Heat olive oil in saute pan on stove on medium heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly fry the cutlets.
- Saute each side of the cutlet until breading begins to harden, leaving middle of chicken no totally cooked.
- When complete, add chicken to glass pyrex dish.
- Generously cover the chicken with the sauce from the stove.
- Cook in oven at 375 degrees for approximately 25-30 minutes.
- Let cool 5 minutes and serve.