Skinless, Boneless and Shameless

If there’s one entree to the world of foodiedom it’s scorn for the boneless skinless chicken breast, the cut Escoffier called Supreme de Vollaile. I know McDonalds and every fast food joint in the country has some crappy Chicken Caesar going on.I know this cut is lean and can be transformed into chicken shingles if it’s overcooked by a minute. I know it’s the protein of choice for Sex and the City wannabees, lazy home cooks and the fast food mafia.

But they’re still Supremes.

At my two blocks away independent grocer they’re on sale for 1.49 a pound. Tonight it’s just gonna be a drift through some flour, a quick sautee, a quick Marsala and mushroom sauce. Skinless boneless must be breaded or sauced. or pounded flat, stuffed and rolled. What they can’t be is scorned.

My fave part of a chicken is the drumstick. but a drumstick is a nibbling thing with bones and connective tissue. A skinless boneless is a purty piece of protien, amenable to so many sauces and treatments. It’s a tabula rasa, a blank canvas that can be , depending on the treatment, Malay, Chinese, French, Italian or Lebanese Yes, it pains me to read all that stuff about how chickens are being bred to have such big boobs that they topple over when they try to walk.

But I’m poor, and I can make a really civilized dinner for peanuts from those poor chickens. The best part of all is that the discarded drumsticks are really, really cheap.

Do you have something swell you do with the infra dig skinless boneless?

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6 Comments

Filed under Five bucks or fewer, Food, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Skinless, Boneless and Shameless

  1. erin garnhum

    Chicken Marsala is the ne-plus-ultra way to deal with a chicken breast. If you do happen to have the grace of the skin, however, a quick pan-fry with a nice sear; a cut into eight pieces with a sharp knife; a smothering of chopped green onions and minced cilantro, then a dousing of shiso or yuzu ponzu is not the worst thing to do with it.

  2. peter

    I’m more of a leg man. Chicken breasts are about as interesting as a block of tofu, there needs to be something above and beyond to make them exciting. These days, I favour the pound/stuff/roll/grill approach.

  3. I’ll let Caro tell you when she’s home tomorrow—she does some kind of marinade which leaves them salty/rich/juicy/smokish/delicately scented with garlic or herbs or both.

    A quick turn through the non-stick, and onto a lovely croissant or roll, or keeping company with a spritely Spring salad and some Summer vegetables—it’s juicily delicious—no need for dressing.

    Her cabinets are filled with all manner of Asian and Indian and MidEastern herbs and spices and bottles whose labels I cannot decipher—so I’ll bow to her expertise with the much-maligned BSCB.

    And those who scoff—well, more for us.

  4. Ya, the poor Supremes, being disparaged all around. Good on you for standing up for them, M.

    I came to like them back learning how to cook classic things like blanquette de veau… learning, or re-learning, how INTENSE subtlety of flavor can be. The quiet umami meaty gelatinous flavor is quite striking in its singularity, I think.

  5. Caro

    Hello Ms. Maggie,

    In our conversations, Mama is always mentioning you , and after all of your posts on Egullet I feel as if we are old friends.I have recently taken to visiting some of mama’s favorite blogs and find myself visiting your’s quite often.

    First, let me say amen to the sad, lonely box of frozen spinach. It has become a mainstay of my diet and cooking. I find myself buying a box or 2 a week. A WW friend of mine shared a Sephardic recipe of hers and it has become a regular in my repertoire.

    As to the boneless skinless chicken breast, I don’t know how I would do without them. There are innumerable possibilities. I have always love them and found them to be so versatile and was amazed that others found them to be so dull and lifeless ( @ least the gullet contingency).

    The version mama mentions liking so well is sort of a simple brine. I take the breasts, lay them flat on a cutting board and with a very sharp knife, slice them into 3 even layers. to allow for easier quicker cooking, and it takes the brining faster.

    The marinade/brine is a simple mix of soy sauce ( app.2/3-1 C and water app. 1 1/2-2 cups. Add granulated garlic to taste , maybe 1T, some onion powder if you like and then a sweetener. I use Splenda ( app 1/3-1/2C) but you could use sugar to taste. Just like any other brine, you want a balance of salty/sweet. A bit of acid is also good, some sort of fresh citrus, lime, orange etc…
    Once you have the proportions as you like them then you can branch out. Sometimes I add 5 spice powder, sometimes crushed red pepper. Allow the breast a couple hrs. to marinate if possible.
    Sometimes I buy the chicken ( if it is on sale, but I know I won’t be cooking it for a few days ) I make up the brine, but double the water, and allow the chicken to set even longer. A couple of days is not unheard of. I does give the chicken a different texture, more dense and compact, but still moist and tender.

    When ready to cook, if grilling, it can go straight from marinade to grill. If cooking stove top, remove chicken from brine and pat dry on paper towels, and heat a nonstick skillet on a high heat, spray with PAM, and cook until done . Mine usually take 4 mins. first side and flip for and additional couple mins.

    One other way I like to make it is the same split layers, sprinkled with Bolner’s Fajita Seasoning. Can be purchased at some stores, but I can’t find here, so I get it online. Cook the same as above.

    Other times I take the breast, slice thinly into strips, and season with same fajita seasoning, chili powder, garlic powder, and a bit of olive oil and mix well ( a gloved hand works well) let sit overnight, and when ready, sear in small batches in a firehot skillet, sprayed of course, and then do the same with some sliced up onions and peppers , 1/2ed grape tomatoes as well. Mix all together and serve.

  6. Caro, I’m delighted to welcome you here. Through your mother I feel as if I know you, and I admired that fantastic spread you made and Rachel immortalized over at Lawn Tea.

    I’m going to print out this page for your recipe — it sounds amazing! Next time skinless/boneless are on sale, I’m all over it.

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