Our Favorite Large Family Recipe, Chicken Francese

This is my absolute favorite meal (besides Beef Stroganoff), and everyone enjoys it……..except poor DJ (I make him BBQ chicken instead).  Two years ago for my Dad’s and sister’s birthday, the whole family went to this nice Italian restaurant.  Not wanting to get the same thing that I always order, which is spaghetti with meatballs, I ventured on a little dish called Chicken Francese.  Boy, am I glad that I did!

It was described as breaded chicken, smothered in a lemony mushroom sauce, and served with your choice of pasta.  It was a great meal, and it somewhat smoothed my ruffled feathers, as we do not make a habit of spending $17 on one person’s dinner.  Knowing that it would be a long time before I would get the chance to order such a feast again, I raced home and scoured the internet looking for a worthy duplicate recipe.  I found one even better 🙂

This recipe omits the mushrooms, but you could add white button mushrooms if you like.  I have tripled the recipe in order to serve 12 people.  It is time consuming, but so worth the chore, and if you are capable of juggling large dinner parties when the meal must be made in stages, it makes a wonderful meal for the extended family.  Finally, it is not a frugal meal…….I calculated the cost, and it runs roughly $37 for the meal, and around $3 per person…….but, it sure beats the restaurant price!

CHICKEN FRANCESE:

Serves 12

6 large FRESH (never frozen) boneless chicken breasts

3 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup white wine (the alcohol burns off)

1 large bottle of lemon juice

9 to 12 eggs

4 to 5 small bags of grated Parmesan cheese

all-purpose flour

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1.5 cups (3 sticks) butter (NOT margarine)

Canola oil

fresh, chopped parsley

2 to 3 boxes of linguine noodles (this will depend on how much you like pasta!)

SET-UP:

1.  Set up a prep station on a table close to your stove (or on the counter by your stove, if you have lots of space).

2.  Filet each chicken breast into (3) thin slices, and transfer them to a large serving dish.  Place on the prep table.

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3.  In (1) large, shallow bowl, put 1 to 2 cups of flour mixed with some salt and pepper (to taste, but I use 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper).  Place on the prep table.

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4.  In (1) large bowl, mix 3 eggs and some of the grated Parmesan….until it has the consistency of pancake batter.  Place on the prep table.

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5.  Place a large platter, a roll of paper towels, and a clean dish towel on the prep table.

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6. Place a set of tongs beside your stove.

7.  Get all of the sauce ingredients together in separate bowls, to make prep time quick and efficient.  Ingredients are butter, chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice bottle, garlic, and parsley.

8.  In a large saucepan (or two large saucepans if you are making this for a dinner party), pour in enough Canola oil to reach 1/4 of an inch in the bottom of the pan(s).  Heat on medium-high until oil is ready for frying (drop a little of the egg mixture in to see if it bubbles furiously, and if it does, it’s ready).

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

1.  Dredge chicken in flour, then in the egg mixture.  You will need to take your hands and pat the mixture onto the chicken to make sure it is evenly coated with the cheese.

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2.  Place into the hot oil.  Only prepare enough of the chicken breasts to fit into the pans at one time (my pan will hold 5 to 6 pieces).  Cook on one side for 5 minutes, then flip and cook on other side for 5 minutes.  DO NOT OVER COOK, or chicken will be tough.  You are looking for a golden brown crust, so if it’s burning, turn your heat down.  ALWAYS cut into the chicken to see if it’s done before taking it out.  With your tongs, remove chicken and place on the paper towel-lined platter.  Place another paper towel over top of the layer of cooked chicken, then cover with the clean kitchen towel.

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3.  Repeat the process until all of the chicken is cooked.  Only prepare enough chicken to cook right then, and you will need to mix more egg mixture as you go along……always with the ratio of 3 eggs, and enough Parmesan cheese to get a pancake batter consistency.

4.  When you are on the last batch of chicken breasts, boil your linguine noodles until tender, and then drain right before you serve your meal.

SAUCE DIRECTIONS:

1.  When all of the chicken is cooked and under the towel, throw out all of the oil in the saucepans by pouring it into a large bowl, letting it cool, and then putting it into the trash can.

2.  Place all sauce ingredients, except for the lemon juice and parsley, into (1) large sauce pan.  On high heat, whisk constantly until butter is melted.  Slowly add lemon juice……I LOVE the lemony flavor, so I am very heavy handed with this.  You can start with 1/2 cup, and add more to your taste.  Finish by adding salt until seasoned to your taste.  Let simmer until slightly thickened (not too much!)

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CRUNCH TIME:

1.  Place chicken on a pretty serving platter, ladling a bit of the hot sauce over top, and garnishing with chopped parsley (I only do this when I am throwing a dinner party!).

2.  Put drained noodles into a large serving bowl.

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3.  Pour sauce into gravy boat(s).

4.  YOU DID IT!  Serve and enjoy!

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**Clean up later, and I hope you have help 🙂

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