Sunday, April 04, 2010

Lemon-Ginger Chicken

I was trying to come up with a main dish for our “Pairings” dinner when one day “Lemon-Ginger Chicken” popped into my head. I have no idea where that came from. I don’t believe I’ve ever made, or even eaten, it before. But it sounded good. Maybe because it was winter and spicier foods were more appealing just then.

As with the Ginger Carrot soup, I had a little trouble finding a recipe in which lemon and ginger were the only main flavor components, but finally found one on the Betty Crocker website. In honor of the occasion, I decided to buy real gingerroot instead of just using the powdered stuff. I’d never used it before, and was pleasantly surprised at the lemony fragrance that arose as I was grating it. Ah, now I see why this is paired with lemon….this pair has a lot in common! Hmmm, I thought, I wonder if this stuff tastes lemony too….YYAAAHHH!!! I’d momentarily forgotten about things like ginger beer…Okay, so this couple has some differences too…

Both the chicken and the sauce proved to be very quick and easy to put together. Especially when you don’t bother to flatten the chicken breasts first. In this case, however, you do need to be sure you cook the chicken long enough that it’s cooked through. Following the suggestions of some of the reviewers at the original website, I doubled the sauce recipe.

The chicken itself proved disappointing. I couldn’t taste the lemon or ginger at all, and I did taste an off-flavor that I thought might have come from the oil. The sauce was good, though.

A day or two later, when I had the leftovers for lunch, the off-flavor was gone, but I still couldn’t taste the lemon or ginger on the chicken itself. Maybe I should have applied the breading more heavily; there was a fair amount of it left over. The sauce had so much cornstarch in it that it had thickened to about the consistency of aspic, even after reheating, and the lemon flavor in it now seemed too strong. Also, there was really more of it than was necessary.

Although I think the lemon-ginger combination has serious potential for a good long-term relationship, this particular dish doesn’t show them off to best advantage.

Verdict: What were they thinking?

Lemon-Ginger Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 1/4 lb)
1/2 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1/4 cup Progresso® plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon grated gingerroot
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Lemon Ginger Sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon grated gingerroot
1 drop yellow food color
Lemon slices, if desired

Between pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, place each chicken breast smooth side down; gently pound with flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick.

In shallow bowl, mix Bisquick mix, bread crumbs, lemon peel and gingerroot. Pour 1/2 cup water into another shallow bowl. Dip chicken into water, then coat with Bisquick mixture.

In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook chicken in oil 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F).

Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, mix lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, the sugar, cornstarch, gingerroot and food color. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and bubbly. Pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with lemon slices.

High Altitude (3500-6500 ft):
Cook chicken in oil 11 to 13 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of chicken reads 170°F.

Recycle: oil bottle

Compost: rest of lemon

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