Saturday, March 13, 2010

Back to Basics: Chicken with Caramelized Onions

When you just don't feel like making a fuss about dinner, don't have a lot in your kitchen, but don't want something from a box, it's really easy to make some basic pan-fried chicken.  But pan-fried chicken on its own is boring!  So, add some onions to it.  Raw onions, of course.  If you close your eyes and bite into one like an apple, it will taste great.  Trust me.

Just kidding.  Don't do that.  Unless you're into the book/movie Holes or something.

We are going to caramelize our onions today, folks, and you will thank yourself for doing so.  I guarantee that when you are out of ideas for dinner from now on, you will just caramelize some onions and be good to go.  That's my philosophy of cooking, at least.

Now, if you don't have onions in your pantry at all times, close your computer, buy a bag, and then come back and keep reading.  The same goes for potatoes, by the way.  Always have a bag of onions and a bag of potatoes on hand!

Since you just exhausted yourself running to get some onions at the grocery store, it's a good thing that the Chicken with Caramelized Onions recipe is super simple.  Let's get cooking, shall we?

What you'll need:
  • One or two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on if you want one or two)
  • One medium to large onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and yum-o other seasonings (like garlic and onion powder! And seasoned salt!)
How to make it:

This recipe can be a one-panner or two-panner.  We'll treat it like a two-panner, for now.

1.  Season the chicken on both sides with seasoned salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.  Don't drown the chicken, but you want to have some flavor.  Paprika is good too!

2.  Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and place chicken in pan.  After 5-6 minutes, turn over the chicken.  You want the meat to be almost fully cooked, but you will add it back in later, so make sure it won't be dried out.  Remove to plate and cover with aluminum foil.

3.  Slice up the onion into long strips.  You don't want them too big, but it's nice to have some larger pieces that you can grab with your fork.

4.  Heat olive oil in pan #2 over medium-low heat.  Cook the minced garlic for about 30 seconds and then add in the onions.  The trick here is to have enough oil that the onions won't start to burn.  You also want to keep the heat on the lower side to also avoid burning.

5.  Continue to stir the onions periodically as they cook.  In order to really caramelize the onions, you have to let them cook for awhile.  When they turn brown (good brown, not burnt brown), add a little salt to taste.

6.  At the very end, add the chicken into the pan and cover for about 3-5 minutes.  This will finish cooking the chicken and meld all of the flavors together.  When the chicken is cooked, it's ready!

Recipe Review:

This recipe, as I said, is really easy and simple when you just want to throw something together.  Plus, once you caramelize onions the first time, you'll want to add them to everything.  Burgers?  Steak?  Rice?  Pasta?  All good candidates for caramelized onions, baby.

When you're short on time and energy, what do you throw together for dinner?

Coming soon: Many unhealthy, delicious, wonderful, time-consuming spring break meals... complete with pictures!

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