A medley of flavors — Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Almonds and Peppers

9 Sep

Tania and I have just recently returned from quite the adventurous vacation, and while that experience will inspire several future blog posts, right now I’m just enjoying the comforts of home and of the familiar. In light of that, when the time came to select a recipe for dinner recently, I opted for something tried and true: Balsamic Chicken with Peppers and Almonds.

Originally taken from Cooking Light (I think), this recipe has become a reliable component of my cooking repertoire.  The blend of sweet and salty stemming from the combination of peppers, raisins, toasted almonds, and balsamic vinegar make this a recipe that covers all of its flavor bases.  Add to that the flavor complexity provided by the Parmesan cheese in the breading on the chicken, and the result is a recipe that is sure to please.  As should be obvious, this isn’t an especially fancy or gourmet recipe.   But does that really matter when it tastes good?

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that I’m objectively bad at making this dish.  Thankfully, it seems to be (mostly) idiot proof.  For one thing, I always manage to miscalculate the timing on this dish.  It’s not a particularly difficult or involved recipe, but there are several discreet steps and each one takes time to both prepare and execute.  You have to prepare the peppers/almonds/balsamic portion of the recipe before putting them together.

Once that all has been done, the chicken requires pounding, dredging, and finally cooking.  I’m very bad at elements of this step—specifically, the dredging.  Be it this recipe, or any other that calls for a similar procedure, dredging and coating chicken always causes me problems.  Usually, these problems take the form of running out of coating long before I use up all the things that need to be coated.  Thankfully, that problem bears an easy solution: increase (usually double) the amount of available coating.  And even though I follow the practice of using only one hand for the process, somehow I always manage to get coating on both hands, as well as lots of other places that it shouldn’t be.

The last thing that I usually screw up is I always forget that my pan is too small to cook all the chicken breasts at once.  It’s easy enough to cook the chicken in two batches.  If you plan ahead that is.  What I usually do instead,  however, is bread one too many pieces of chicken and then struggle to figure out what to do with the extra piece while I cook the ones that are already in the pan.

So, let my struggles be a lesson for you.  Or, if you’re stubborn, don’t.  At the end of the day, even if you wind up making the same mistakes I always do, the result should still be a delicious dinner.  At least that’s what always happens to me.

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Almonds and Peppers

2 large red bell peppers

2 large green bell peppers

2 tsp olive oil

1/3 cup raisins

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup slivered almonds (toasted)

6 (4-oz) bonless skinless chicken breast halves (buy  a 3-pack of breasts and then cut each in half after the flattening step)

3 tbsp dry breadcrumbs (double if you wish)

3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (double this one too)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour (by now, you know the drill. Double.)

2 egg whites

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp water

Ingredients (at least, most of them), all set out and ready to go!

  1. Cut bell peppers into 2×2 1/2 inch strips. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add peppers; sauté 8 minutes.  Add rasins; sauté 1 minute.  Add 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and black pepper.  Cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat; stir in almonds.  Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Place each piece of chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap.  Flatten to 1/4 inch thickness.  Combine breadcrumbs and cheese in a shallow dish.  Place flour in a shallow dish.  Dredge each piece in flour and dip in egg whites.  Dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture.
  3. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cooke for 3 minutes on each side, or until done.  Remove from heat.  Place the chicken and bell pepper mixture on a serving platter.  Set aside and keep warm.
  4. Add 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and water to the pan; stir to loosen browned bits.  Spoon mixture over chicken and bell pepper mixture.
Balsamic Chicken with Peppers and Almonds

The finished product, sweet, salty, and delicious.

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One Response to “A medley of flavors — Balsamic Vinegar Chicken with Almonds and Peppers”

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  1. Columbus Events Sept 13 – 19 « - September 11, 2012

    […] Are Round (recipe): A Medley of Flavors – Balsamic Chicken with Almonds and Peppers […]

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