Chicken Parma and Damper

Hey everyone! I am back, I recently finished my first semester of college where there was not a lot of free time that would allow me to cook. Being home, it came to my realization that my parents had been eating out a majority of the time, so I am taking advantage and have a new recipe to share or two to share.

I came home to a Christmas card from some family friends that had recently moved to Australia and that inspired me to make this recipe. The main star of this dish is not the Chicken Parma, but the Damper. Damper bread was originally made by people called drovers who would cook this bread in their campfire with only flour water and salt because that was all that they had available. When they would cook this bread they wouldn’t put it directly into the fire, they would put into damped coals. This is how the name Damper is believed to come about.

The making of Damper itself is relatively easy to do, as you could imagine since it consists of a primary three ingredients. The recipe that I used also included butter and milk, nonetheless, it was still relatively easy to make. I did add a little bit extra water to this recipe because it was very difficult to get all of the flour to mix into the dough with out it. This bread did come out very well though. The texture of the bread was fairly smooth and it was very filling. I would give this recipe a 8/10, because it had good flavor and texture, but it was kind of on the drier side which could be my error.

Now on to the protein of this dish, the Chicken Parma. This recipe was also relatively easy to make, the main difficulty that I faced was breading and frying the chicken. I am a huge fan of breading so of course I wanted to make sure I was not skipping out on any of it. To my demise, it was very difficult to do that well. I overcame this and decided I would have to live with uneven breading. When it came to frying, I was in sure of how much oil to use, so I put what I thought was a lot and realized that it wasn’t enough to get the sides crispy. I added more oil to the pan and realized that the oil was too hot because the breading was burning before the chicken was able to be cooked. What I decided to do was to fry it long enough that the breading was crispy and then I let it cook in the oven for about an extra 10 minutes. In the end, the chicken was perfectly cooked and it had excellent flavor. I would give this recipe an 8/10 as well for those reasons.

Damper Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) Grease a baking sheet.
    2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and the salt. With pastry blender or your hands, cut in butter. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk and water. Stir until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a round loaf 8 inches across. Place the loaf onto the prepared pan and using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top.
    3. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and continue to bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes. The loaf should be golden brown and the bottom should sound hollow when tapped.

    Chicken Parma

    Ingredients

    Chicken

    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon water
    • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus 4 Tablespoons for topping
    • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    • Grapeseed or pure olive oil
    • Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
    • 1 pound mozzarella, shredded or fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
    • Fresh basil or parsley leaves, for garnish

    Tomato Sauce

    • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
    • 1/2 cup dry red wine
    • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
    • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

    Instructions

    Chicken

    1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
    2. Place the chicken breasts in a resealable plastic bag. Close the seal, leaving about an inch unsealed to let air escape.

    3. Pound the chicken with the smooth side of a mallet or a rolling pin until chicken is about 1/4” thick. If the chicken breasts are too thick, using a sharp knife, slice the chicken breasts on the bias into smaller thinner pieces before pounding.

    4. Combine flour, salt and pepper on a plate or shallow bowl.

    5. Beat the eggs with water and pour onto another plate or shallow bowl.

    6. Grate the cheese and combine with the bread crumbs on another plate or shallow bowl.

    7. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then cover with the egg, then finish with the bread crumb and cheese mixture.

    8. Place breaded chicken breasts on a baking rack in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will make for crispy chicken and help keep the breading from falling off when cooking.

    9. Heat 2-3 Tablespoons of oil in a large heavy skillet or cast iron-skillet over medium heat. Oil should be about 1/8″ deep.

    10. Cook chicken breasts, adding more oil if needed, until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

    11. Transfer chicken breasts to a baking sheet and top each breast with some tomato sauce and a few slices of the fresh or grated mozzarella cheese.

    12. Bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 6 to 8 minutes.

    13. Remove from the oven and garnish with basil or parsley leaves.

    Tomato Sauce

    1. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
    2. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 5-10 minutes.

    3. Add the wine and cook on medium-high heat until almost all the liquid disappears, about 3-4 minutes.

    4. Stir in tomatoes, salt, pepper, parsley and basil.

    5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    6. Reduce heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.

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