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Elizabeth Poett's Chicken Parmesan with Homemade Marinara

Chicken Parmesan with Homemade Marinara

byElizabeth Poett
Total 50 mins, includes cooling time
Active 50 mins
Makes 4 servings
This dish is an Italian American classic that’s full of flavor. I love to make this for my mother, who is from an Italian American family, because it reminds her of her childhood and going to family-owned Italian restaurants on the East Coast. It’s a take on eggplant Parmigiana that uses chicken instead of eggplant. The chicken is breaded and fried and layered with marinara, mozzarella, Parmesan, and parsley. It’s an easy meal to make and celebrates the simple, wonderful flavors of tomatoes, garlic, and basil. The marinara sauce is so flavorful that I sometimes just make it to serve on pasta.
TIP: The marinara sauce can be made a day ahead of time. It can also be made on its own and used as a pasta sauce. When tenderizing the chicken it’s important to start in the center of each breast and work your way out to the edges. This gives you more control and helps to keep the thickness of the meat consistent. Tenderizing the chicken helps it cook evenly and quickly, giving it a nice, even golden brown color and great flavor without burning the coating or undercooking or overcooking the chicken.
Ingredients
For the marinara
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled Roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
For the chicken
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 breasts total)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs, for dredging
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups olive oil, for frying
  • 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, very thinly sliced
  • 4 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped
    Directions
    1. For the marinara: Heat the oil in a medium heavy pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and salt and cook until the garlic turns light golden brown. Pour the tomatoes with their juice into a bowl. Use your hands to tear each tomato in half and then crush them. Add the tomatoes and oregano to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
    2. Simmer the sauce for 10 to 15 minutes, until it thickens and reduces by about half. Turn off the heat and add the basil to the pot. Taste and add more salt if desired.
    3. For the chicken: Place a layer of plastic wrap on a large cutting board. Place the chicken breasts side by side on top of the plastic and cover with another layer of plastic wrap. Use a meat tenderizer or rolling pin to gently flatten and tenderize the first chicken breast, starting in the middle and working your way to the edges, until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Turn the breast over and tenderize the other side until the entire piece is 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with each chicken breast.
    4. Remove the plastic and transfer the chicken breasts to a baking sheet. Season the breasts on both sides with the salt and pepper. Set aside.
    5. Set up a breading station. Place the flour on a wide plate and the panko on another wide plate. Whisk the eggs together in a medium bowl. Pour enough olive oil into a skillet to come 1/4 inch up the sides. Place the skillet over medium heat and heat to 350℉ on a deep-fry thermometer.
    6. Dredge a chicken breast in the flour, making sure to coat it completely, and shake off any excess. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, making sure to coat it completely. Hold the chicken over the bowl to catch any drips. Coat the chicken in the panko, making sure every surface is covered.
    7. Place the chicken breast in the skillet. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the first side of the chicken is a rich golden brown color and looks crispy, then turn the chicken with tongs and cook the other side until browned, another 3 to 4 minutes. (Depending on cut and size of chicken it might take 4 to 5 minutes per side.) Transfer the chicken to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
    8. When all the breasts have been browned, arrange them on a baking sheet. Top each one with 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce. Divide the mozzarella evenly between the chicken breasts and arrange on top of the sauce. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the mozzarella, dividing it evenly between the breasts.
    9. Preheat the broiler. Broil the chicken for 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling and golden brown. Remove from the oven.
    10. Spoon the remaining marinara onto four individual serving plates and place a chicken breast on top of each. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot.