Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don't Cry For Me, Argentina

...I'm eating just fine! The General and I (well, ok, I don't think the General cared all that much) had a goal of getting to 20 by the end of March. With the conclusion of Italy and the Philippines, and our succesful and unexpected excursion to Sweden, we only needed one more country to make it to our goal! Jacalyn and I did a few look ups on her DS cooking coach in the hopes of finding something wherein I could use up the red wine we had leftover from the bolognese sauce, but there were a lot of stews, which the General is not too keen on. So I returned to my handy "national food list" and looked up the national dish of Argentina, since that is where the stews were from on the DS. I clicked on each recipe and found one for milanesa. SOLD!

From Wikipedia:

In Argentina, Bolivia,Paraguay, and Uruguay, milanesas are frequently served hot with fried or mashed potatoes, this dish is known as milanesa con papas. They are often used as a sandwich filling, with salad. Lemon juice is also commonly used as a seasoning. Their low cost and simple preparation make milanesas a popular meal.

"Milanesa a la napolitana" with French fries.By adding tomato paste, mozzarella cheese and sometimes ham, a dish called "Milanesa a la napolitana" (Milanese alla Neapolitan) was created. "Neapolitan" is not taken from "Neapolitan Pizza", but because it was first made and sold in Pizzeria Napoli owned by Jose Napoli in the 30s.

So we decided to make milanesea a la napolitana and serve it with mashed potatoes. This worked out great because we had all the ingredients in the house and I didn't have to go to the store, which was key to my enjoyment of my Sunday. I decided to use this recipe from Popular Traditional Argentina Food.com. I love these little recipes which are written in somewhat broken English or are in other ways incomplete. I discovered some fun things along the way while making this.

So, to start, we needed pound out some chicken breasts. However, since the General and I love chicken cutlets, I usually buy the thin sliced ones already. And lucky for me, BJ's had them in bulk, so all I had to do was defrost a couple! The directions get a little shady here. The ingredient list calls for flour and bread crumbs, without listing any amount. And the directions say to put them in a deep dish, but that it's not necessary to use them all. Um, okay, so how much should I use? I finally decided on a half cup of each. In a second bowl, you beat three eggs and add garlic, oregano, and parsley. In the ingredient list, milk is listed, but it's never mentioned again in the directions. I assumed that it must probably go into the egg mixture, so I threw in a splash of that too.

After that, it's just a dipping game! What I liked about putting the garlic and herbs in the egg is that you can really see it stuck on there. I was surprised, but the minced garlic really adhered to the chicken. Each piece of chicken is dipped twice--egg, then flour, then back to the egg, then back to the flour.

After this is done, you fry them up! In the meantime, I'd put on the oven because once they are done frying them, you have to bake them.

Aren't they beauties already? So I decided not to use the Ragu that was pictured and instead got out a bottle of Newman's Own tomato sauce that I already had open. It had some peppers and stuff in it that gave a little bit of a kick, so I thought maybe that would be a little more Argentinian than just plain ole tomato sauce. I smeared it on and covered it with a little bit of mozzarella cheese. The recipe called for a full pound of 'port cheese', but a) I don't know what port cheese is and b) I didn't have any and c) I wasn't going to the store. Since my other sources called for mozzarella, I figured "good enough". I set them in the oven to bake at 350 and made up some mashed potatoes.

As you can see, this made 4 good sized chicken breasts. I just made Betty Crocker potatoes, nothing fancy. I figured I'd earned my cooking points the day before, and the milanesas were what I wanted to be authentic so I decided "good enough!"

The milanesas came out of the oven about 20 minutes later and they looked awesome. They were SO crispy and the cheese was all melty.

We eat a lot of chicken cutlets, but I have never made them this way. Wow, they were good! YUM! It's been a while since I posted a plate of my food, so here ya go:

Mike gave them two thumbs up. We froze the two leftover pieces for another meal sometime--I am DIGGING having a freezer. These will be so good some night when I don't feel like cooking! We're keeping this recipe bookmarked for future use, you can count on it. It was perfect chicken. You know how so often when you cook chicken breasts, they're kinda dry or flavorless? Not these puppies. I'm sure the frying helped, but these were really darned good. Try them yourself the next time you need to do something good with plain ole chicken!

No comments:

Post a Comment