COOK'S CORNER: Chicken: Not just for Sunday

Published 1:57 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007

By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
I can remember a time when chicken was reserved for Sunday dinner. A plate of fried chicken pieces would be placed on the Sunday dinner table with a big bowl of mashed potatoes, gravy and big plate of biscuits. However, with today's methods of cooking being somewhat upgraded over the years, chicken has become a part of meals on just about any day of the week.
It's amazing what can be done with a chicken - roast, bake, fry, grill, boil, stew, rotiss (is that a word?), and I'm sure there are many other ways to prepare a chicken, or any other kind of meat.
Last week, our July 4 cookout had several pieces of the bird on the grill. Just to give the meat a little variety, some were sprinkled with Cajun seasoning, some with Greek seasoning and some with just plain old salt and pepper. With the wonderful flavor grilling puts on a piece of chicken, sometimes seasoning of any kind is just a waste of time.
I was watching Food Network over the weekend (imagine that) and watched a competition of cooks who want to make it big as a star on the network. One of the challenges was creating a chicken dish. Some of the ingredients are ones that I would have chosen, and from what I could tell, the contestants should have done something different as well. However, that is the way recipes are created - trial and error, until you find what works for you.
After watching the show, I decided to try and find a few chicken recipes that would give my family a different taste for an everyday ingredient. The recipes that I've found for you this week are a little different from just sprinkling some ready-made seasoning on the meat and broiling, grilling or frying it. Although they are a little different, they aren't so different that it makes it difficult to prepare. The ingredients in each recipe are readily available at area grocery stores and are not priced out of reach.
Check out the following recipes and see what you think. Don't turn your nose up to them before you give them a little consideration.
Olive and Prune Chicken
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pitted prunes, halved
8 small green olives
2 tbsp. capers, with liquid
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 (3 pound) whole chicken, skin removed and cut into pieces
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
In a medium bowl combine the garlic, prunes, olives, capers, olive oil, vinegar, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spread mixture in the bottom of a 10×15 inch baking dish. Add the chicken pieces, stir and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dish from refrigerator. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and pour white wine all around chicken. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, spooning juices over chicken several times as it is baking. Serve on a platter, pouring juices over the top, and garnish with fresh parsley.
Anytime there is cheese and chicken involved in a recipe it has to be good. I love olives and prunes aren't bad, so this one must really be worth a try. Again, this recipe is a little out of the ordinary, but not weird enough to dismiss.
Chicken Rollatini
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 teaspoons butter
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
10 ounces sliced whole milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pinch black pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Pound chicken breasts flat, and lay them on work surface. Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese on both sides. Place a pinch of minced garlic and one teaspoon butter in the center of each breast. Cover each breast with a layer of prosciutto and mozzarella cheese. Reserve some of the prosciutto to place on top of the chicken. Roll up each chicken breast, and secure with toothpicks. In a 9×13 baking dish, combine white wine and olive oil. Arrange chicken rolls in dish. Place a small piece of prosciutto on top of each roll, and sprinkle with pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink, and juices run clear.
I hope that you'll give one of these recipes a try. If you do, I think your family may be pleased. The last recipe that combines the chicken and cheese along with the prosciutto should even be popular with the children in your family.
Next week, I plan to share recipes that have been handed to me by some readers of this column. I have gotten a few more recently. If you'd like to see your recipes here, forward them to me and I'll be glad to print them and give you credit.
Send your recipes to me by regular mail at P.O. Box 887, Brewton, AL 36427, by email at or you could give me a call and I'll take it down over the phone. Either way you choose, I'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next week, Happy Cooking!