Do you have a food nemesis? I do – and embarrassingly, it’s the wimpy boneless skinless chicken breasts. There was a time when I couldn’t cook one decently to save my own life – they were always either too dry or pink and icky in the middle. Ha ha. I said “was a time”… like I can cook one now. Regardless, it was a super unfortunate stage because I went through a weird “no red meat” period for a couple of years in my early 20’s and chicken was the only meat that I would eat.
Back then, eating all that chicken had its problems. Sometimes by Thursday or Friday, it seems like there are only 3 ways too cook chicken – and I did that on Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I still find myself in a rut when it comes to chicken these days. Last week, I ran across two recipes for glazed chicken that sounded intriguing – a balsamic chicken drummet recipe from Giada de Laurentiis.
I really don’t know what it is. I was never able to cook chicken decently on a Foreman grill – tough and dry. I can’t cook them in a saute pan – no matter how low I turn the heat down, I always seem to get a browned outside and a pink inside. I seem to do a wee bit better over open flame on our back patio, but that’s only if we’re not having margaritas… I have a tendency to walk away and forget that I’m grilling. And the oven is just as hit-and-miss, so when I do make a decent chicken, the world gets to hear about it!
Rice is a super quick-fix for a side and it doesn’t have to be boring. I like to toast it before cooking to enhance the flavor. The balsamic glaze is rich and so very flavorful. I ended up dipping my broccoli and scooping some of my rice into it.
Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Toasted Rice
A rich, flavorful glaze for "plain" chicken breasts. Speed up the process by marinating the chicken the night before.
- For the chicken:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- For the rice:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
- Combine the balsamic, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, rosemary, and garlic cloves, in a large, re-sealable plastic bag. Shake and squeeze the contents of the bag to dissolve the honey and the brown sugar. Add the chicken to the bag and seal with as little air as possible in the bag. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the juices run clear, 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, place the marinade in a small saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil (in order to kill bacteria). Reduce the heat to simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15-20 minutes. Reserve.
- Use a pastry brush to brush some of the cooked marinade on the cooked chicken. Plate the chicken on top of a spoonful of sauce and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
- To make the rice:
- Add oil and garlic to saute pan and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Turn flame to med-high and add rice, stirring to coat with oil. Cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally (6-8 minutes). When rice begins to brown, keep an eye on it - it goes from toasted to scorched in two minutes flat. Add chicken stock, dodge the steam cloud, turn heat down, and stir until all liquid is dissolved. Stir in chopped parsley and serve.
Yields: 4 servings
Estimated time: 3 hours