When it comes to classic Italian comfort food, few dishes can rival the delectable taste of Chicken Parmesan. Also known as Chicken Parmigiana, this dish features tender chicken cutlets coated in a crispy breadcrumb crust, smothered in rich marinara sauce, and topped with melted mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. The result is a mouthwatering combination of flavors that will have your taste buds dancing with delight. In this article, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to prepare this delightful Chicken Parmesan recipe that’s sure to impress your family and friends.
Preparing the Chicken Cutlets
Start by preparing the chicken cutlets. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, slice each breast in half horizontally. This will give you thinner cutlets that cook more evenly. Next, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the chicken and pound it with a meat mallet until it reaches an even thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
Creating the Breadcrumb Mixture
In a shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Mix the ingredients well, ensuring an even distribution of flavors.
Coating the Chicken Cutlets
Dredge each chicken cutlet in all-purpose flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip the cutlet into beaten eggs, allowing any excess egg to drip off. Finally, press the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture, ensuring it is evenly coated on both sides.
Cooking the Chicken
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Carefully place the breaded chicken cutlets into the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until they turn golden brown and crispy. Once cooked, transfer the cutlets to a plate lined with paper towels to remove any excess oil.
Preparing the Marinara Sauce
While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the marinara sauce. You can either use store-bought sauce or make your own from scratch. In a saucepan, heat the marinara sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Layering the Chicken Parmesan
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce. Place the cooked chicken cutlets on top of the sauce. Spoon more marinara sauce over the chicken, and then sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
Baking the Dish
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Then, remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.
Garnishing and Serving
Once the Chicken Parmesan is out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh basil leaves for a burst of flavor and a pop of color. Serve the dish with spaghetti or your favorite pasta, along with some garlic bread for a complete Italian feast.
Tips for the Perfect Chicken Parmesan
- For an extra crispy crust, you can double coat the chicken by repeating the egg and breadcrumb process.
- Use homemade marinara sauce for a more authentic and flavorful experience.
- Experiment with different types of cheeses, such as provolone or fontina, to add variety to the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?
Yes, you can use chicken thighs if you prefer dark meat. The cooking time may vary slightly, so ensure they are fully cooked before serving.
2. Can I make Chicken Parmesan ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the dish ahead of time and refrigerate it. Just bake it before serving to ensure it’s hot and the cheese is melted.
3. Is Chicken Parmesan spicy?
The dish itself is not spicy, but you can add red pepper flakes to the marinara sauce if you prefer a kick of heat.
4. Can I freeze Chicken Parmesan?
Yes, you can freeze the cooked and cooled Chicken Parmesan. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing.
5. What side dishes go well with Chicken Parmesan?
Chicken Parmesan pairs well with a variety of side dishes, such as salad, roasted vegetables, or even a side of pasta.