When Jerri’s family moved from their farm into the village of Rosalia, Kansas, they gave some farmer friends a chicken coop. The friends insisted upon paying for the coop—which they did with live chickens.
For the next couple of years, Caroline, who was in charge of the chickens, would stop from time to time at their home in town with a live chicken in a gunny sack. Jerri’s mother knew how to dress chickens, but she really did not like killing, plucking and cleaning those birds.
Jerri remembers her mother saying, when she saw Caroline’s car stop at their house, “I hope that she didn’t bring another chicken!” But Jerri’s mother was always polite and thanked her friend for the bird, and Jerri’s family had another chicken dinner.
If you have an extra chicken in the freezer, or really just a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, here is the way to turn them into a wonderful dinner.
About a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup all-purpose flour.
1/4 cup corn meal
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. tarragon
1/8 tsp. thyme
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/16 tsp. cayenne
1/16 tsp. black pepper
2 – 3 T milk
3 – 4 T vegetable oil
Cut the breast into serving-size cutlets, about a quarter pound each. I like to flatten the pieces a little with a meat pounder or tenderizer before breading them. If you don’t have one of these, you can use the side of a heavy knife or even a rolling pin.
Make the breading by mixing the flour, corn meal, salt and spices in a shallow plate or a small pan and put the milk in a shallow bowl.
Coat a skillet with the oil and set it over moderately high heat. Flick a drop or two of water into the pan after it has heated. If the water sizzles and bounces around, the oil is at the right temperature.
Moisten each piece of chicken in the milk and press it into the flour mixture. Put the pieces into the skillet and fry them for about five minutes on each side. When they are golden brown on both sides, the meat will be done.
Serve with your choice of starch, a glass of white wine and a salad. Beans and Rice go well with pan-fried chicken breasts, and Riesling is a good choice for the wine.
NOTES: Chicken has overtaken beef in the diets of Americans. On average, we now eat about ninety pounds of chicken each year. Chicken is low in fat and calories and has one of the smallest carbon footprints of any meat. Breading and frying the chicken adds some calories, but they are still healthful, better for the environment than beef or pork, and they taste wonderful.