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I have issues with chicken. It really is the blandest of meats, sometimes while eating it I feel like the cook could have substituted soggy cardboard and I wouldn’t know the difference. Other times, when it’s well cooked (and a decent cut of meat) it can be delicious. It’s also the most versatile of meats, fitting with almost everything you want to prepare.
Other times when I’m cooking it myself I under cook it and it’s still bloody inside. Great for beef, not so great for chicken I’ve learned. People don’t like it. Other times it comes out tough and unflavored. But, since it’s cheap and relatively easy to use I find myself confronted with it on occasion.
Last night I took two small chicken breasts with the skin still on and tossed them in flour, cornmeal, ground red pepper, kosher salt and cracked pepper. Then I laid them on some sprigs of tarragon I had in stock (OK, I admit, I have no idea what tarragon is or does, but it smells nice and so I bought it.) Next, I lay some large basil leaves over the chicken and some spicy pancetta on top of that. We’re going for taste here, not health. Sometimes you gotta sacrifice one or the other in the name of experimentation.
And finally I surrounded it all with chopped up garlic, red onions and baby carrots.

And then I let it bake at 425. While I was baking the chicken I chopped up some squash and zucchini and roasted that with olive oil, salt & pepper; towards the end I put in some canned diced tomatoes. Finally I made mashed potatoes from a box in the microwave (you thought I was all gourmet or something, didn’t you?). To the mashed potatoes I added plenty of butter, salt, pepper, some diced garlic, red onion and chopped rosemary. Then to try something else I added some pesto sauce I’d bought at the store.

The chicken was delicious. I think I’ve found another way for me to prepare it. And it was quick too. Except for the baking it only took a few minutes to prepare. And at the end you get a tender chicken. Oh, and the pancetta turned into a spicy, crisp piece of bacon. What more could you ask for?