Yum Peaceful Cooking: 4-Step Chicken and Individual Potato Gratins BakeSpace Style

Sunday, August 9, 2009

4-Step Chicken and Individual Potato Gratins BakeSpace Style

I'm so excited about this....

I wouldn't call it a cook-off necessarily, but a few of my bestest BakeSpace buds and I have decided to make one or both of these recipes from Melissa d'Arabian: 5-Minute Individual Potato Gratins and/or Flexible 4-Step Chicken. Then we all decided to blog about our versions and see what we all came up with. Kinda like a Coast to Coast post....2 of us are on the east coast and the other 2 are on the west coast. So it's not a contest. Just great fun!

And fun I had.

I made both recipes. But on different nights with totally different "themes".

The first night I made the 4-Step Chicken


And the second night I made the 5-Minute Individual Potato Gratins


Let me start off by saying....both are keepers.

I'm going to tell you about the 4-Step Chicken first. I totally did not stick with the recipe Melissa listed. But then again, thats how she intended the recipe to be. I don't like thyme. I looked in my fridge to see what other fresh herbs I had and thought...hmm...cilantro will work. And I went from there.

Tip: Keep your herbs in a cup with about 1" of water, covered with a plastic bag, in the fridge. They keep for several days.

Flexible 4-Step Chicken
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves butterfly cut
2 tablespoons diced jalapeno
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
about 1/2 or less teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 lemons, juiced
1 tablespoon buter

Season chicken with a salt and pepper and a sprinkle of cumin.


Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add the oil. Dredge the chicken in flour and saute the chicken until cooked through.


Set the chicken aside.

In the same pan, over low heat, saute the onions and jalapenos.


Add the wine, broth and lemon juice. Turn up the heat, deglaze the pan and continue cooking until slightly reduced....


Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Be careful...IMO the sauce is really spicy but with the chicken it mellows out quite a bit.

Spoon the sauce over the chicken....


As you can see from the picture at the top of this post, I served this with a tortilla and a side of sliced tomatoes and avocados, topped with Ranchero Queso Fresco. Even though only a sprinkle of cumin is used, you can still taste it's smokey flavor.

Oh...and for lunch the next day, I had the most awesome burrito from the leftovers.

I think next time I might not add as much jalapenos. It was a little too spicy for me, but really good!

And now...for the best of both recipes...the potato gratins. Although I don't think there's anything 5-Minute about them. What the hell does that mean? Seriously, it took more than 5 minutes to prepare with all the slicing and putting together. And it certainly didn't take 5 minutes to cook. And it took less than 5 minutes to eat one serving. So what was Melissa thinking when she named this dish??? I guess if you're doing a cooking show and all the prep work is already done for you, it might take 5 minutes to put them together? Hell, I don't know.

It's a good thing they were good! And ya...I changed up this recipe too! Sorry, I just can't help myself....what fun would it be if you didn't do your own thing? What fun is it if you don't dance to your own beat? right? I know you know what I'm talking about....admit it. You look at a recipe and instantly start thinking "oooooh...this would be soooo good if you did this or that and added some of those." It's the nature of the foodie / food lover beast.

btw...there should be a pile of Italian parsley in the picture. I pulled some out of the fridge but totally forgot about it until the gratins were halfway cooked. But it's ok....it worked out fine. You'll see.

5-Minute (x 10) Individual Potato Gratins
Vegetable spray
5 small - medium red potatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
2 crimini mushrooms, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 or so of parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped

Preheat your oven to 375' F

Spray 8 muffin tins.

I have really really old muffin tins (I think they're older than I am) so I lined mine with foil first which turned out to be a great thing. I happened to read some of the reviews on Melissa's recipe (I rarely do that but I'm glad I did this time) and the most common complaint I saw was that fact that people couldn't get them to brown on the bottom properly or their gratins stuck to the tin. With the foil I was able to remove them easily and just plop them top side up on a plate....no fuss, no muss.


Saute the mushrooms and onions until browned.

I put a layer of potatoes in the tins, then evenly divided the mushrooms and onions between all the tins. Next I divided the mozzarella cheese between the tins and stuffed more potatoes on top. Salt and pepper to taste. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of heavy cream over each gratin. Top with some shredded parmesan cheese.


Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle each gratin with the parsley and continue baking for another 20 minutes.


These little things are sooo good. They were the perfect side for my steak dinner.

I had originally thought about sauteing some garlic with the mushrooms and onions but because its Friday night, it's been a long week and my brain is fried...I forgot. But to be honest with you, I didn't miss the garlic. Which is a huge thing for me to say cuz I'm a total garlic hound!

I didn't end up using all the potatoes so I'll have to save them and make a breakfast burrito tomorrow or something.

Ok, I did mention that there were others from BakeSpace doing this, didn't I? Well, here's your chance to check out their versions.....Have fun exploring!!

You can check out Marguerite's version of the Individual Potato Gratins here (yum!):

She's the author of SprytesPlace

And you can see what Shane did here (drool!):

He's the author of CulinaryAlchemist

And here's what Michele came up with (delish!):

She's the author of MyItalianGrandmother

I had so much fun with this little "game" that we all played. I hope we get to do it again! And by now I've had 3 glasses of wine so I think it's safe to say....



  1. This was so much fun!!!

    Dani if Michele had made your version of the chicken I would have been WAY more interested in making it!


  2. Great interpretations! I love the way you did the potatoes. The foil was genius! Why didn't I think of that? lol I love the mushrooms added!

  3. LOVE the southwest flavor you brought to the chicken... AWESOME! I have to send a link of this to my mom, she adores anything and everything with cilantro...

    Potatoes - Awesome cheese combination, and LOVE the mushroom addition... Mushrooms are almost as good as Bacon... They make everything better.. ;)

  4. It took me a few minutes to figure out who the heck Melissa was, then it finally dawned on me. I'm just not used to the last name!

    I like the idea about the muffin tins. I might have to make this one.

  5. How fun! I think I need a blog. Maybe I'll quit my job and just immerse myself in food...(note to self: must win lottery)

  6. WOW...the potato gratins looks great and such a good idea to line the muffin tin with foil. Then the gratins will easily pop out!

    I think I'm going to have to try this. Love potatoes just about any way but with cheese is a fav!

  7. I keep seeing that gratin recipe and it looks so good, the chicken does too. A great meal!

  8. I made Spryte's version of these potatoes tonight with dinner, and yummmmmmo! They were tasty. Your idea of using foil is a great one. I love the cute little muffin tin shape of the taters when they're done, too.


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