Monthly Cookbook Excurson – June 2010: Quickie Chicken w/ Jacques Pépin

Hello again everyone! I’m back again with another monthly cookbook entry! This month’s cookbook is from a chef I used to enjoy watching as a kid when all those awesome cooking shows would come on PBS on a Sunday afternoon. My three favorites were Jeff Smith (of Frugal Gourmet fame), Mary Ann Esposito (Ciao Italia!), and Jacques Pépin.  My recent trip to the library revealed a book by Pépin that I could not pass up. Ladies and gentleman, here is this month’s cookbook:

Click on the photo above to be taken to the book's website for recipes and videos

Quickie recipes made by one of my favorite public television chefs! How could I not get this book?

Luckily, an opportunity to use this book arose this afternoon when I was delayed in getting home. I was starving, I was tired, and I did not want to put a ton of effort into making dinner.  Well, Jacques came to my rescue! I looked through his chicken recipes and found one that I could easily make using the ingredients I already had. I decided on the Roasted Split Chicken with Mustard Crust. However, this recipe called for a 3 1/2 pound whole chicken (I’m guessing cornish game hen?) which I did not have. Nonetheless, I frequently purchase Tyson’s frozen chicken breast tenderloins on my routine trips to Sam’s Club, so I figured those would make a suitable (and faster cooking) alternative.

All the recipe called for was to make a glaze, spread it on the chicken, brown one side of the chicken and bake the rest of it until fully cooked. Easy! Here is a look at the breast tenderloins just as I put my skillet in the oven:

Jacques recommended serving these with fluffy mashed potatoes. While I was not inclined to wash, peel, and mash fresh potatoes, I did have one packet of Idahoan Buttery Homestyle instant potatoes. I do like making, and eating, freshly prepared mashed potatoes, but if I need potatoes in a hurry, I’m partial to Idahoan brand because they actually make them using real Idaho potatoes (not like the “fauxtatoes” you tend to find with the other types).  So, while I was waiting for the chicken to roast, I prepared some instant potatoes in the microwave.  When the potatoes finished, I realized I needed a little something else to have along side the chicken and potatoes. I had some raw pearl onions in the pantry that I peeled and placed on the skillet with the chicken to bake during the final minutes in the oven.  Here was my final result!

Look at me trying to fancy it up with a little chopped parsley! This came out as a very yummy dinner that took only about 30 minutes. I was so pleased with the result, that I jotted this recipe down in my Moleskine Recipe Journal to add to my dinner repertoire. The photo of the chicken in the cookbook was actually a much darker brown than mine, but I feared if I let the chicken get that brown, it would be dry and chewy. Chicken breasts are nigh unpalatable if they’re overcooked and I have made that mistake before. These came out moist and tender. Perfect, if I may say so myself!

I definitely need to give Jacques his due. He has yet to disappoint me and always has some great recipes to try out! Thanks, Jacques, for the meals and the memories.

See you next dish!

The Head Spoon


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