Monday, February 8, 2010

Melissa D'Arabian's Flexible 4 Step Chicken and Five Minute Potato Gratins

This was my second time making this chicken recipe.  I originally saw it when Melissa won The Next Food Network Star.  I liked her throughout the competition and this recipe looked doable.  It was, it's actually a very simple dish to make, but looks like a lot of time and effort went into it.  I believe the reason flexible is in the title is because you can change up the seasoning quite easily.

As always, my editorial comments are in italics.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced in half crossways (butterflied, cut all the way through) (We cannot, no matter how many chickens I see running around this island on a daily basis, get fresh chicken here. And I'm not ready to go out and get my own, so I must settle for the almost dreadful frozen boneless, skinless breasts in a bag.  Since these aren't thick enough to slice, I thaw them, place them in a ziploc baggie and pound the hell out of them.  This helps relieve any pent up stress I may have as well as all of my frustration about being unable to get fresh chicken in Guam)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped (trying to economize and use ingredients needed in several recipes for the week, I substitued fresh basil, left over from the Pastina for the fresh thyme)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced (red onions were unavailable, so I used yellow- red is definitely better for this recipe)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine, optional (I buy the cheapo airplane bottles of wine, that way I don't have to open a big bottle,for such a small amount, I save the big bottles of the good stuff for when I'm cooking with friends, then it makes sense to open the big bottle so we can cook and drink)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 lemons, juiced (the first time I made this, I used 3 lemons, this time based on reviews, I used 2 lemons because I remembered the dish being VERY tangy the first time.  This time, it wasn't as tangy, even though I also added about a tsp of lemon zest)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter


Season chicken with dried thyme and salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the oil. Dredge the chicken in flour, add to the hot oil and saute until cooked through. Set chicken aside to rest on plate tented with foil.
Have I introduced you to the newest member of the family?  I am in LOVE!!!!!

In same saute pan, over low heat, add onions and fresh thyme basil, garlic, lemon zest and cook until aromatic.

In a measuring cup, measure out wine, if using, and broth, and add the lemon juice. Turn the heat up to high, and deglaze the pan with the broth mixture until starting to reduce. (I zoned out on this little piece and added each individually, starting with the wine.  Note to self- FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS!!  It would have been much better and a true deglaze, getting all of the crumbly bits off the bottom of the pan, if I had combined all three liquids as instructed).
Remove the pan from the heat and finish the sauce by whisking in butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
I got distracted by this and forgot to take pictures of the rest of the process or the finished product...

Now for the potatoes....  

Recipe by Melissa D'Arabian, The Next Food Network Star Finale

5 Minute Potato Gratins


  • Vegetable spray
  • 2 large russet potatoes, roughly peeled and thinly sliced (do not use a food processor unless you have a super thin slicer attachment, which I DO NOT)
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (common theme- no cream at the Commissary, so I had to make do.  Although, several trusted sources- both on-line and in cookbooks- stated that I could add melted butter to whole milk and get the same effect, it didn't really work out.  I got milky butter...)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray 8 muffin tins with vegetable spray. Layer potato slices, cheese, and onions into each muffin cup. Season with salt and pepper and top each gratin with 1 or 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Invert gratins onto plate and serve.

There is absolutely nothing 5 minute about this recipe, unless you take 5 minutes to peel the potatoes or 5 minutes to shred the cheese or 5 minutes to slice the potatoes or 5 minutes to assemble the gratins (you get my point right?).  Anyway, I tried to take a shortcut and used my food processor to slice the potatoes, they ended up being too thick to do in individual tins.  I had to make as one large dish in a pie plate.  I probably won't attempt this dish again... too much work, not enough flavor. However, be on the lookout for another potato au gratin recipe in the next month or so.  I love potatoes in any form, but especially when loaded with cheese and cream, I'll be searching for the perfect recipe to try (if you have one, post it to my comments).


Stacey said...

I will send you an AWESOME potato casserole recipe that is super easy and really yummy!

Stacey said...


Makes 10-12 servings
Prep: 10 min; Bake: 1 hr, 20 min.

You can make it ahead of time, refrigerate it, and then bake it. It’s smart to let chilled casseroles come to room temperature before you bake them.

1 (32-oz) package frozen Southern-style hash browns
1 (16-oz) container sour cream
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese
1 (10-3/4-oz) can cream of mushroom soup
1 small onion, finely chopped
¼ tsp pepper
2 cups crushed cornflakes cereal ¼ cup melted butter

STIR together first 6 ingredients

SPOON potato mixture into a lightly greased 12 x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with crushed cornflakes, and drizzle evenly w/butter.

BAKE at 325 degrees for 1 hr and 20 minutes or until bubbly.

NOTE: For testing purposes only, Ore-Ida Southern Style Hash Browns were used.

That’s what I used.

I did not use the cornflakes, but I did drizzle some butter on top. Either way it should be good.

Terrell said...

Stacey- Thanks for the recipe! I can't wait to try it, it's full of my favorite things. Will have to find a place for it on next week's menu. I'm glad to see you made it w/out the cornflakes and it turned out ok- maybe I'll try Ritz crackers instead. YUM!

Kelly said...

That boy is the cutest!!!!

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