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Video: Mangia! Try these Sicilian-style chicken breasts

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    >> easy fall recipes from her new cook book called lidia's common sense italian cooking.

    >> pleasure being here.

    >> you think entertaining family and friends one of the most important things we can do. a lot of people go in and get intimidated right off the bat.

    >> that's the whole idea. be comfortable and get in the kitchen and use your common sense .

    >> take chances too.

    >> a recipe, this is a perfect example. simple chicken . just a little bit of flour and -- are you ready to get in here?

    >> sure. absolutely.

    >> you're a common sense kind of guy.

    >> absolutely. sometimes too much. but that's okay.

    >> all right.

    >> so dredge them in flour a little bit.

    >> and put them in here. you notice here i put a little bit of oil and butter. low temperature . a lot of people cook things at very high temperatures, especially chicken and it gets tough.

    >> all right. while that's cooking -- that's not going to take long.

    >> it's not going to take long. just flip them over. here we have some onions. oh, there's more butter right in there. here we have red onions and we get the chicken , sauteed chicken .

    >> we'll pretend that's done.

    >> exactly to expedite things. you want it nice and caramelized.

    >> you're going to add flavors that are contradictory.

    >> what's so contradictory about this?

    >> just the olives and to rang and things like that.

    >> this is sicily .

    >> well, this is actually not sicily but that's all right.

    >> this is about sicily .

    >> okay. take me to sicily with you.

    >> come on. loosen up.

    >> what's this over here.

    >> fennel powder.

    >> a lot of people love it. a lot of people don't. could you leave it out or is it necessary.

    >> you could leave it out. you could substitute it. let's say that you like, i don't know, instead of fennel you like whatever. this is what common sense is all about. i give you a recipe but you can make it your own. you don't like fennel?

    >> i do sometimes. but not all the time.

    >> but like this, mill like that in a spice mill?

    >> i probably would but in seed form it's tougher.

    >> exactly. a little bit of wine. there you go.

    >> i'm right with you. how long will this cook now?

    >> just a few minutes. just reduce it. bring it up and reduce it, a little bit of salt. get a little salt.

    >> got it.

    >> as much salt as you like.

    >> could you make this sauce in advance? would it hold in the fringe?

    >> absolutely. but the chicken -- it's your pot. you're going to have this for lunch.

    >> i'm not waiting until lunch by the way but that's all right.

    >> don't put the chicken in the refrigerator but the sauce you could have. you bring it hot and saut? the chicken and put it in.

    >> what a pretty presentation. it looks beautiful.

    >> it's simple. just a little bit of that.

    >> bring that over.

    >> absolutely. right here.

    >> common sense italian dessert now.

    >> eggs. we have custard. there's about six eggs in there. we'll make a bread pudding with pears and they're in season but you can make witt apple or anything else. let's put a little bit of cream. keep whipping. we're not finished yet.

    >> you're a tough task master, do you know that?

    >> some milk. some sugar and again, here, you know, i put a little lemon, a little vanilla but you can put cinnamon. what you feel that you like the flavors or whatever. and old bread.

    >> does it have to be old? you can't use fresh bread?

    >> it's a great way of using old bread.

    >> does it absorb better when it's older?

    >> yes and here i have whole wheat. any bread that you have is great for this. you let it soak up a little bit. let's put the pears. now how simple is that.

    >> you're going to put it in a baking dish.

    >> right there into a butter baking dish.

    >> you're a little mess in the kitchen.

    >> okay.

    >> good job.

    >> no, no, you have to

TODAY recipes
updated 10/14/2013 3:42:40 PM ET 2013-10-14T19:42:40

Recipe: Chicken breast with orange and gaeta olives

Just about everyone loves chicken breast. It is one of the most Googled terms in recipe searches. I also love this recipe when it's done with drumsticks. If you decide to do that, make sure to double the wine and increase the cooking time until the chicken is done.

  • 2 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds thinly sliced chicken cutlets
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • All- purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 1 cup pitted Gaeta or Kalamata olives, halved
  • Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon fennel powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian Parsley

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and lightly dredge it in flour. Lightly brown the chicken in the skillet (you want the chicken to end up with a blond- colored crust) on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Cook the chicken in batches if necessary, depending on the size of your skillet. Remove pieces to a plate as they color.

Once the chicken is colored, add the butter and onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the olives, orange juice and zest, white wine, and fennel powder. Put chicken back in the skillet, and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce coats the chicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with remaining salt, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.

Serving Size

Makes 6 servings

Recipe: Pear bread pudding

You know how much I love to recycle food and not waste anything. Well, bread pudding is a delicious and comforting dessert that does just that. It is easy to make, and easy to serve: just top it with a dollop of whipped cream and it is good every time. This recipe has pears and almonds added to it, which gives it that fruity pear taste and almond crunch. The nuts can be changed according to preference, as can the fruit according to season.

  • 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more to whip for garnish
  • 4 cups day- old 1/2-inch country- bread cubes, crusts removed
  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup blanched sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the baking dish with softened butter. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the vanilla, and lemon zest, and whisk to lighten the mixture. Whisk in the milk and heavy cream. Add the bread and pears, and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the almond slices. Bake until the pudding is set and puffy and the top is golden, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes; serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with whipped cream.

Serving Size

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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