In which, incapacitated by excitement at the prospect of free meat, our heroine forgets that she isn’t really a food blogger and agrees to develop a recipe
A little while ago, Sprout Farm Fresh Meats contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in trying some of their chicken. I was excited because (a) free food, (b) they’re a local business, yay! (c) obvious potential to make a boob joke or two, and (d) heyyyy, free food! So of course I said yes.
Sprout Farm Fresh offers fresh local meats in bulk quantities for reasonable prices. They sell a variety of locally-farmed meats (currently chicken, pork, beef and turkey) in cases of 2kg, 5kg, or 10kg each. The best part is that they deliver it right to your door! Which is great because it means you don’t even have to put on pants (except maybe to answer the door, if you’re fancy). Plus they are really delightful people, and probably way nicer than they should be to delinquent bloggers who take their free meat samples and then drop off the face of the earth for several weeks (I got the flu, and then we went away for the holidays, and work is bananas and yadda yadda … all this to say: I’m terrible, but the people at Sprout are lovely).
All Sprout’s meat is delivered fresh, but we put ours in the freezer because we didn’t have a chance to eat it right away. Given that they sell meat by the case, Sprout is probably a good option for you if you (a) have a freezer, (b) have a lot of people to feed, or (c) habitually consume 5kg of chicken breasts in one sitting, in which case, why are you wasting time reading this and not getting internet-famous with some kind of viral chicken-eating video? Get on it, yo.
After a few weeks of what I’m sure felt very much like I was stringing them along, we finally had a chance to try some of the chicken breasts they brought us. I first made these Green Goddess Chicken Sandwiches from Food52, and loved them. The chicken was tender and succulent and everything you want chicken to be. So I told my contact at Sprout that I liked his breasts (hah! there it is). He suggested I post a recipe, and I was all “sure! I can do that” even though I’ve never posted a recipe of my own before.
I started to panic a little.
But then! I had a vision. A wonderful, life-altering vision of crunchy, juicy chicken milanese with a zippy lemon sauce. I brought this vision to life with the recipe below. I hope you love it!
But first, check out Sprout’s website. They’re currently running a giveaway for a $50 gift card, and I want you to win so you’d better go enter. $50 in free meat, all! You can’t go wrong with that. Once you’ve entered, you can come back here and read the recipe. I don’t mind. I’ll wait.
Welcome back! Here’s that recipe we talked about:
Chicken milanese with lemon sauce (with Sprout Farm Fresh Meats)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (former butcher Justin would call this one chicken breast, because it’s the whole chest of one chicken, but I would argue that there are two breasts on each chicken so I’d call it two.)
3/4 cup flour
2 cups panko
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
Oil, for frying
For lemon sauce:
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup water (use less if you like a thicker sauce)
Wait until your kid is in bed, unless they’re, I don’t know, 5 or something? and you can actually cook a meal without them using you as a jungle gym. You can just feed them cereal for dinner since that’s the only thing they’ll eat this week anyway*.
Have your spouse (or significant other, or friend, or neighbour, or an alternate sous-chef of your choosing)** slice the chicken breasts horizontally, about 1/2″ thick, then direct him/her to pound them out to about 1/4″ thickness. Justin used a Ziplock bag and a frying pan to do this.
Take out three bowls. Put the flour in one, beat the egg in the second one, and mix the panko, salt, garlic powder and ginger in the third. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge in the flour, dunk in the egg, then crust with panko (press the panko in with your hands to make sure you get a good coating). Arrange them on a cookie sheet, and place in the fridge if you want to do this part in advance.
Direct your sous-chef to heat about 1/4″ oil in a frying pan at medium heat. Then have them fry the chicken, a couple of pieces at a time, for 3-ish minutes per side, until they’re golden brown, crispy and cooked through. Adjust heat and add more oil as needed. Drain on a paper towel after cooking.
Meanwhile, make the lemon sauce: whisk all sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened. This is the easy part, but you’re the visionary here so don’t feel bad for making your sous-chef do all the grunt work.
When everything’s ready, arrange the chicken artfully on a plate. Make sure you’re in a well-lit area — this is crucial, even though by now it’s probably 9:30pm and very dark. Ignore your sous-chef’s grumbling about how hungry they are as you position the plate just so, then direct them to ever-so-slowly start pouring the sauce down over the chicken while you aim your camera …
NO, NOT THAT WAY, THERE’S A SHADOW ON THE CHICKEN AND IT’S GOING TO RUIN THE PHOTO. STOP.
Have your sous-chef move the pot in various directions, until they develop carpal tunnel and you realize there’s no way to take a picture without a shadow. Opt to move the plate to an alternate location. Ask your sous-chef to start pouring, and …
NONONONO STOOOOOOPPP THIS ISN’T WORKING EITHER. Why did you decide to have dinner at night, anyway? This was a huge mistake. If only you didn’t have a full-time job and live at a latitude where it gets dark at 4pm, you could use natural light for all your pictures and this whole blogging thing would be so much easier.
Spend a few minutes cursing the track lighting in your kitchen, the time of day, your now-ravenous spouse, yourself, and even the cat because she is also there. But not the chicken. Never curse the delicious, delicious chicken.
Eventually manage a half-decent photo thanks to a creative solution involving a flashlight and the near-dissolution of your marriage.
Serve with salad.
* We did send some chicken with the small one to daycare the next day and she ate it. It’s basically fancy chicken fingers, so your kids will probably like it too.
** Technically you could do all of this yourself, but why not outsource, right? You worked hard all day and you deserve a rest.
DISCLOSURE: Sprout Farm Fresh Meats sent me a box of delicious, fresh, local chicken breasts free of charge, in exchange for this post. I don’t think they expected me to post about my marital problems, though, so that one’s on me.