Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Australian Pub Food: Chicken Parmigiana

When we went to Australia a couple of years ago, I'm sorry to say this exhibit in the Melbourne Museum is as close as we got to seeing a kangaroo and an emu.  

But in our limited time there we did see the Sydney Opera House and ....

... Melbourne's famous St. Kilda Beach. In fact, we walked all over Melbourne as Allison showed us the sights of the city she lived in for a few months. (Later during her time in Australia she worked up north in an Uranium mine - but that's a whole other story!) 

One thing we made sure to do was pop in to one of the pubs by the beach and get a parma - also called a parmy depending where you are in Australia. This dish would be called Chicken Parmesan in the United States, but its Aussie full name is Chicken Parmigiana and it's usually served with french fries, either underneath or on the side. Sometimes there is the option of ordering it with a ham slice under the melted cheese.

 It was amazing to me that a dish that would be served in a fine Italian restaurant here, was considered bar food there! I've made this dish for many years, sometimes substituting eggplant or even round steak for the chicken, and the girls always loved it. If you make it, send me a line or two and tell me how it went: yatesyummies@gmail.com.

Chicken Parmigiana - Serves Four 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

One of the reasons this dish is yummy is that the sauce is nice and rich! So the first thing you want to do is make this quick, easy sauce and let it simmer on low heat while you are preparing the chicken.

Ingredients and Procedures for Parm Sauce

2 (15 oz.) cans of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients together in a sauce pan. Let the mixture simmer over medium/low heat for 20 or 30 minutes.

Ingredients and Procedure for Chicken

4 (4 to 5 oz.) chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk or water
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Vegetable or olive oil

Rinse the chicken breasts and pat them dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a bowl mix together the flour, salt and pepper.

In a second bowl whisk together the egg and the milk or water.

In a third bowl mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and dried oregano.

Using tongs, take a chicken breast and dredge it in the flour. Then coat it in the egg mixture and finally cover it with the bread crumb mixture.

Put enough of the oil into a skillet so it covers the pan and is about a 1/4 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium heat. Brown both sides of the chicken breasts about 5 minutes per side. Be careful not to let the pan get too hot because you want the chicken to be golden brown and not burnt.

Transfer the browned chicken to a plate and drain the oil out of the skillet. Return chicken back to an oven safe skillet or place it in a baking dish. 

Spoon the simmered Parm Sauce over each breast and place in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Carefully take hot skillet or baking dish out of the oven. Top each breast with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven and continue baking for 10 additional minutes or until cheese is browning and bubbly.

Serve with french fries as they do in the pubs or opt for a nice green salad!