Hey there! It's me. Don't remember who I am? That's ok...half of the time I don't remember either. For real. Life can really pack a wallop. Sometimes when we are in the thick of it we lose pieces of ourselves, and getting them back.. and fit into place..is difficult. That is where I am right now. But here are a few of the definite things I know...I am Jessie, I love to cook and bake, I am passionate about real food (my definition may differ from some), and I love to write. How that all comes together and makes sense...I am not sure.
Speaking of packing a wallop...you should totally make this bruschetta baked chicken I conjured up this weekend. It's a flavor wallop. And, like me, it's having a bit of an identity crisis...is it Italian, with its tomato basil garlicky topping, over melty mozzarella ...or is it good old fashioned, chicken-and-mashed-potatoes, American comfort food? It's not sure. But it is amazing.
See how I did that? Slid that in there and tied it all together. Smooth transitions are what I am all about.
Identity Crisis: Bruschetta Chicken Over Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2 cups of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful of fresh basil, chiffonade cut
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt to taste
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Toss to coat.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds of red potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream (possibly more)
3 tablespoons butter
1 head of roasted garlic
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Sea salt and pepper
1 cup of good quality (I hate when Ina does that, but it could not be avoided) balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of brown sugar
4-5 chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rings
8 oz. fresh mozzarella
Sea salt and pepper
I am not tech savvy, and I do not possess the kind of resources to post this recipe in a fancy schmancy way. I know it may be a problem for some...but hey, I am doing the best I can with what I have.
First things first. The balsamic glaze for this recipe can be made up to a few days ahead of time...but, to be honest, I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants on this one, so I made it at the same time as everything else. I would not recommend this. The glaze did not have time to thicken up. If you don't want to make it that far in advance, it really only took about a half an hour for it to cool and thicken.
Here are the instructions...
Simply peel a few of the outer layers of skin off of a head of garlic, then cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top. Place the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with about a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, and wrap it loosely in the foil. You can put this into a small oven safe dish, such as a ramekin, or just place it right on the middle rack of your oven. Roast for 30 minutes. This should be done a few hours before you prepare the chicken. Because one thing you do not want to do is squeeze piping hot garlic out of the skin. Unless you enjoy a good second degree burn which will erase your fingerprints for a week.
Next, I like to always have everything washed, chopped, and ready to Tango. Kitchen chaos does not make for an enjoyable experience. This means that washing your potatoes, slicing the onion, and preparing the bruschetta topping should be your next priority.
We are ready to start bringing this bad boy together.
I suggest that you begin by boiling your potatoes. Depending on their size, you can either cut them in half or into quarters. I used new potatoes that I purchased at the farm market, which were about the size of a golf ball, so I cut them in half. They will take roughly 20 minutes to cook from the point at which they start to boil.
While your potatoes are cooking, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle the foil with olive oil and smear it around a little, to prevent your chicken breasts from sticking. Lay your chicken breasts, smooth side down, on the pan and season them with salt and pepper. Turn them over and season the top.
Place a few slices of onion on each breast and season them with more salt and pepper.
Pop them into a 375 degree oven.
After 20 minutes, take them out and top the onion with slices of fresh mozzarella. I used Bel Gioioso slices. They are the perfect size. If you do not have slices available, you can slice your own to about 1/4 inch thickness.
Bake for another 10 minutes.
At this point it will look like you have a soupy mess...the joy of working with fresh mozzarella. But I promise it will get better.
Turn the oven to broil, and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until the cheese bubbles and browns a bit.
It's time to discuss those roasted garlic mashed potatoes...which will likely be ready to put together while the chicken is baking.
Once they are tender, drain your potatoes and return them to the pan. Add the butter and heavy cream over top. Next, squeeze that delicious smelling garlic that you roasted earlier into the mix. Add some salt and pepper. Using a potato masher, mash them to your desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky. You can certainly add more cream...or a little whole milk...to thin them out if necessary. Taste to make sure that they are well seasoned. This is important! Sprinkle them with fresh parsley (I used dried, because it was all I had on hand), and give everything a stir to combine.
Finally, we plate this all up.
Place a scoop of mashed potatoes onto the middle of 4 or 5 (depending on how many breasts you baked) plates, and spread it out a bit. It should cover an area a little larger than the size of the chicken breasts. Next, place those cheesy chicken breasts onto the potatoes.Top with a generous helping of the bruschetta and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.
This is honestly one of the best dinners to ever come out of my head and onto a plate. My son is still raving about it. So if you want to impress your family with something a little different, and huge on flavor, I urge you to give this a try!
If you enjoyed this post, and would like me to start posting more, please let me know by leaving a comment.