Sunday, December 18, 2011

Welcome guest, Julie Hyzy!

YOU ALL KNOW JULIE! She used to be one of MLK's regulars.  She writes the fabulous White House Chef Mysteries and the Manor House Mysteries. You can find out more at her website: Julie Hyzy.

Welcome, Julie!

It is so great to be back here in the kitchen! I loved being part of this amazing blog and interacting daily with my wonderful friends here. I miss you all so much, but I do stop by often and I love all the recent changes and additions. Such a fabulous lineup! Thanks to Avery for inviting me and thank you to you all for allowing me to be a guest!

I’m here today to talk about my newest book, and … Chicken Giardiniera.

What says Christmas better than Chicken Giardiniera? Okay, lots of things but the nice red and green (and, cough…orange) vegetables decorating otherwise ordinary chicken breasts are what make this dish special. It’s super easy but good enough for company. Even better, it made a giardiniera lover out of me. Our favorite local restaurant offers a dish similar to this one. My husband orders it almost every time we go there, and when he made me sample a bite, I understood why. I also understood that I needed to learn how to make this dish at home!

As I type this post, I’m putting the finishing touches on the sixth White House Chef mystery, and I’m eagerly awaiting the release of number five, Affairs of Steak, which comes out in about two weeks, January 3rd. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this particular story. In Affairs, Ollie is stuck working with her nemesis, Peter Everett Sargeant. If you’ve read any of the White House Chef novels, you’ll understand what a trial Ollie is in for. There’s fun, there’s romance (NOT with Sargeant! Gak!), and I hope a little heart tugging.

Oh, and there are murders, too (natch). I hope you’ll consider picking it up.

Found in the pickles section!
Avery (who asked me to be a guest) knows that I had a little problem with pictures for this recipe. I’d taken photos about a month ago because I wanted to share this recipe with you, but the photos must have been deleted from the camera – a fact I wasn’t aware of until I sat down to pull it all together. Because I’m facing a deadline and my husband always provides dinner during the final week before a book is due (he doesn’t cook, he brings in), I’m not able to recreate it for picture-sake again. My apologies.

No worries, though. This one is easy. And if you happen to own The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, you’re halfway there. I used their recipe for pan-seared chicken, but came up with my own idea for a personal sauce. If you don’t particularly care for giardiniera, try one of the sauces they feature on p 322 – 323 (third edition).

Chicken Giardiniera

½ cup flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and pounded to uniform thickness (medium-thin)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 jar prepared giardiniera
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped


Preheat oven to 200 F (warm)

After chicken is pounded to a relatively medium-thin thickness, pat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper.

Place the ½ cup flour in a shallow dish then dredge chicken breasts (one at a time) through, shaking off the excess.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is just smoking. Add chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes each. Be sure to keep the chicken breasts separate in the skillet so that pieces don’t overlap as you cook. And keep in mind that you’re cooking the breasts all the way through, not just a partial cook. The first time I did this I made the mistake of pulling them off the heat too early.

Transfer the chicken to an oven-safe plate and place in warm oven. Do NOT clean skillet.

Add a scant bit of oil to the skillet, heat to medium-high again. Add chopped onions and sliced garlic. Sauté until soft, and until onions become translucent. Add about half a jar of giardiniera (we like to add more) and continue to sauté, and stir, scraping up the browned bits of chicken stuck in the bottom of the pan as you do so. When the sauce gets hot, pull the warming chicken from the oven. Juices have probably accumulated on the plate. Pour the juice into the skillet and continue over medium-high heat until just short of bubbling.

Place chicken on platter. Spoon mixture over chicken and serve.

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Julie Hyzy will be making many appearances in January to promote AFFAIRS OF STEAK. Check out her blog here for the full schedule.

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Thanks, Julie, for a delicious recipe ~Avery

Note: for those of you who can't find Giardineria in your grocery store (and I couldn't), here's a link to a recipe I found online, and it looks fabulous and not too hard to make:  from THE PARSLEY THEIF BLOG  You can click on that blog for a printable recipe.

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You can learn more about me, Avery, by clicking this link.

Chat with me on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you haven't done so, sign up for my mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests!

And watch for CLOBBERED BY CAMEMBERT, coming out February 2012.

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  1. HEY JULIE... Welcome home!

    Always exciting about the new book release! Wish it was a week or so earlier release date, would help me to ignore my in-laws during this joyous time of year...

    And love the recipe. My local Italian grocery sells fresh made giardiniera. I add some to a milk gravy and pour over chicken (embarrassingly fast and easy).

  2. Hey Julie! Great to see you back here. Great recipe! I've never cooked with giardiniera and I can't wait to try. Looking forward to the new book!

  3. Pickled veggies! I've never tried them, but now you have inspired me Julie. It's always great to see you back here. Good luck with the new book!

    ~ Krista

  4. Julie, so thrilled to have you here. My husband is salivating for this recipe. I think I'll have to make it this week!

    Good luck with Affairs of Steak. Love the title. Can't wait to read it.


  5. Hey, Dave! Ooh.. fresh made giardiniera would be heavenly! The jar in the photo is a local made variety. We've tried a few and so far all of them have been great. I'll have to try your version with milk gravy. Sounds fabulous!

    Elizabeth! So great to be back. This is such an easy recipe and we love it.

    Krista - Thanks! And this is definitely worth a try. I didn't care for the stuff as a kid, but as an adult I'm not able to have it often enough. Thanks!

    Avery - thanks for inviting me back. It's so, so great to be here today. Love you guys!

  6. Welcome back, Julie! So great to see you in the Kitchen again. Congrats on Affairs of Steak. I love the title and I'm sure I'll love Ollie's new culinary case even more.

    I grew up with giardiniera, but we ate it primarily as an antipasto, sometimes adding it to sandwiches. Serving it as part of a sauce with chicken is new to me, and it sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing it today and dropping back to dish about your new book. Hope to see you back here again soon! Happy Holidays!

    ~ Cleo

  7. I've never used giardiniera in a cooked dish. Just, as Cleo said, as an antipasto. We have Italian groceries close by so it's no problem getting some. I'm tasting this in my head and can't wait to actually taste it. It really sounds yummy.
    I'm really looking forward to Ollie's next adventure!

  8. Best wishes for success of Affairs of Steak!

  9. Hi Julie! It's great to see you again in the kitchen.

    I can easily find Mezzetta's Giardinera here in the sticks, just never cooked with it before. (Use it like Cleo, as antipasto and on sandwiches) Thanks for the idea and best of luck with AFFAIRS OF STEAK. The book and the recipe sound terrific!

  10. Hey, Cleo!! So nice to be back, if only for a quick post. Giardiniera is often used as a condiment on Italian beef sandwiches out here, so this was an eye-opener for us. Totally worth a try!

    Harbingerdc - Hey, hi! I'm really looking forward to Affairs, too! Im pretty excited about this one.

    Hiya, Lynn! I think it's interesting to use it as an antipasto. I can't say that I've seen that before, but on sandwiches - definitely. Hope you enjoy giving this recipe a try. Thanks for the kind words!