Chicken with Cider and Bacon

 I stumbled upon this recipe while desperately searching the cyber pages of Cooking Light for something both quick and impressive to make for dinner. I ended up making soup that night and the printout  stayed on my refridgerator for three months.  Two fridays ago,  in need of  something home cooked after the holiday madness of “family time” and eating out almost every night,  I picked up some chicken breasts and some cider from the store on my way home from work and decided to throw this together. Although the dish was originally intended as a dinner for just my boyfriend and myself, by the time the scent of frying bacon  had wafted through the house my brother and my stepdad had decided to join us.

 It ended up going over extremely well. It’s one of those dishes that you can really taste every indredient individually and yet it all comes together cohesively into one perfect bite. I’ve always been a sucker for salty/sweet combos (chocolate covered pretzels= Mim loses all self control) so for me the sweetness and tartness of the cider with the salty fatty goodness of bacon made for one very tasty chicken dish. This recipe calls for pounding the chicken. I really went to town with that and it came out so tender I was shocked- so if you have any pent up frustrations I recommend taking it out on some chicken breast halves, because then you can enjoy the deliciousness of tender chicken once you’re done releasing anger 🙂

Of course when you are eating chicken that has been sauteed in bacon fat you may feel, as I did, that something green and good for you should accompany the dish. The first time I made it I used french cut green beans (haricots verts) and made an incredible butter/shallot/lemon sauce for them. I mean you can’t fail with a combination like that and as pictured on the right I simple melted about 2 tablespoons of butter and added maybe 1/4 cup of finely chopped shallots,the juice of a large lemon wedge and a little salt. (the picture of the plated meal below is from the second time I made this dish and my sister requested brocolli and carrots instead of green beans)

Chicken with Cider and Bacon Sauce

From Cooking Light

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 slices of bacon, chopped – ummm or more if you feel inclined

1/4 cup minced fresh onion

3/4 cup apple cider

1/2 cup chicken broth

Place each chicken breast half between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to a 1/2 inch thickness using a meat mallet or a rolling pin, then sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.

Cook bacon in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan.  Add the chicken to drippings in pan and cook about 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.

Add the onion to the pan and cook about 2 minutes or until tender, stirring constantly (with a wooden or plastic spoon so as not to ruin your lovely non-stick). Add the cider and the broth, and while bringing to a boil scrap the pan to loosen browned bits.  Cook until broth mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes) although I needed more time to get mine down to a good consistancy.  Stir in the bacon and serve over the chicken.