Breasts and thighs

I’m pretty sure that caught my brother-in-law’s attention. Sounds like a bodice ripper or possibly the subtitle of a pornographic movie. Milkmaids in Milwaukee part three: Breasts and Thighs

A friend was coming over for dinner and she is eating for 2 (it’s her first) and she was looking for some easy cooking tips. I made 2 simple things (and she helped) chicken thighs roasted on potatoes, one of my go-tos. And sautéed chicken breast with white wine, caper and shallot butter glaze. It’s really hard to know which was better or easier. I think the thighs require approximately 15 minutes of active work but then, so do the breasts. It’s a toss up. They are equally fabulous not unlike Milkmaids in Milwaukee part two: Scouring the Bucket.

Recipe/process follows

Thighs. I deboned my thighs but you don’t really have to. You just have to cook them longer. You’re probably wondering how many, well, think about who you’re feeding. I generally plan on 2 thighs per person and 2 potatoes if they are smaller but the timing and process are the same no matter how much you make, the only difference will be the size of the pan you’re using. But will all get eaten. Guaranteed.

  1. Boil your potatoes. I used Yukon gold but any potato of a uniform size will work. Theoretically you shouldn’t really have to do this but I find that the potatoes are much better when they are cooked first, allowed to cool and then slice. You can do this part the day before and you don’t even have to refrigerate them.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350
  3. Generously salt and pepper your thighs, as well as the chicken thighs. Using a shallowish oven proof (not non-stick) pan just big enough to hold everything. You will want the chicken to be sitting up, if possible, above the edge of the pan. Sauté the chicken in a few tablespoons of oil, skin side down until lightly browned 5 mins maybe. And then flip over and sauté the non skin side for a few minutes.
  4. Put the potatoes in the pan in a vague circular pattern or not (I don’t care if they look a mess). Salting and peppering as you go. Put the chicken on top of the potatoes skin side up and put in the oven for 45-60 mins, longer if there are bones in them. Be careful about that pan handle.

You can if you want at this point, remove the thighs and keep warm as you brown the potatoes on the stove. You can also add herbs or spices as you prefer. I usually sprinkle dried sage and thyme on the thighs. You can do that before you sauté or just as you slap ’em into the oven.

Breasts. Bnlss, sknlss breasts. I butterflied them and then pounded them flat. You don’t have to do that but it makes for a more consistent thickness. On every single show I watch about this process they tell you to put them between plastic wrap sheets. I do not do this. A. more plastic. B. you’re pounding plastic into the meat. C. as I said, more plastic. I use the liners from crackers like Triscuits. It’s much stronger and therefor less likely to shed plastic into your meat. And, well, you’re already throwing it away. I wash them out and air dry them for this and all sorts of other reasons.

  1. Butterfly (or not) your breasts and pound them to a uniform thickness. Generously salt and pepper them. You can also season with herbs (see above)
  2. Put a TB or two of olive oil (or really any oil, or even use Pam which is what I used) into a preheated non-stick skillet and put the breasts (we’re talking 2 here) into the pan and sauté on high heat until you can see the edges of the meat are getting pretty cooked. This should take about 5 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is cooked. Another 5 minutes I think. Remove from pan onto a plate.
  3. Deglaze the pan with white, rosé or preferably flat champagne, let’s say a half cup. Add a TB of Dijon mustard and a TB of capers with their juice. Bring to a simmer and allow to reduce a bit. When it’s a bit reduced add 2 TBS of cold butter and swirl or stir until the butter is mounted (Please note the use of this term, mounted—see Saveur Magazine for an explanation)
  4. Add the chicken breasts back into the pan and allow to coat and simmer covered for 5 minutes. I can tell when things are cooked through, you may want to cut into the thickest part and check. Just leave them simmering covered for a few minutes more

I eat this with pasta, but potatoes or rice or, frankly, paper towel, if I had any in the house, would work. This shit is so fine.