Grace the Table with Jill’s Parmesan Chicken

10 Nov

Folks it was a loong week. I started this recipe as dinner on election night. I’ve been wanting to sample the recipe and it was a great distraction from the only show in town Tuesday night. The source? Dr. Jill Biden—yes that Jill Biden our new First Lady!  “Food is love and I serve this family favorite with rigatoni pasta and tossed salad,” Biden says.

Parmesan Chicken has a couple of steps; plan to cook it when you don’t have to rush through it. Speaking from personal experience, cooking for loved ones is something to take your time with—nothing ruins a recipe more than an oops from skipping a step or leaving out an ingredient.  The directions are straightforward; my big challenge was to locate canned cherry tomatoes. After two grocery trips—even one to the Little Italy community I was advised by a foodie friend to check at Mariano’s! Yup, there they were—two different brands in the international foods’ aisle. Thank you @Mariano’s. 

I posted the basics I needed to get the dish started, but between the drone of the pollsters and sipping wine, I had to call it a night. I finished the cooking on day four of the election returns. I have to say it is worth the effort. And one of the best things is, it will produce portions to feed a crowd! Thank you, Dr. Biden, for sharing one of your family’s recipe favorites!

Wine suggestions to accompany this delizioso recipe include Cabernet Sauvignon, Primitivo Italian or Nero d’ Avalo Italian.

Jill Biden’s Parmesan Chicken


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more as needed

1 onion, finely chopped (one medium onion is 1 cup*)

6 cloves garlic (whole)

6 (14-oz) cans cherry tomatoes, divided

1 bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped

Salt and black pepper, to taste

3 large eggs

¼ cup milk

3 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided

4 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided

4 to 5 lbs. boneless, thin sliced, skinless, chicken breast halves, pounded or cut ¼-inch thick*

DirectionsPreheat oven to 350°F.

In a large pot over medium, heat 2 Tbsp oil. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Add 2 cans tomatoes. Strain remaining 4 cans; add to pot, using a wooden spoon to break up some of tomatoes. Simmer 20 minutes. Turn off heat, discard garlic and stir in basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs and milk. In a large, shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs with ½ cup each Parmesan and mozzarella. Coat chicken in egg mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture, turning to coat.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium, heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding pan, cook chicken 2½ minutes per side or until golden. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined sheet pan. (Wipe out skillet and add more oil as needed.)

In a 13½-by-10-inch (4-quart) baking dish, layer sauce, chicken and remaining 3½ cups mozzarella, finishing with a layer of sauce. Top evenly with remaining 1 cup Parmesan. Bake 20–25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. YIELD: 12 servings

NOTE: Place the chicken halves between two pieces of heavy-duty plastic wrap and pound them to an even thickness with a meat mallet, rolling pin or even a heavy skillet. If chicken breasts are very large, cut them in half, horizontally and then, if needed, pound them to an even thickness.

*Editor’s Note

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