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February 17, 2017

Chicken Florentine

One of my favorite ways to procrastinate this semester is looking at all my study abroad pictures from last year. Those Facebook memories alerts are dangerous. It's hard to believe that a year ago I was trekking across Europe and now I'm drowning in work from upper-level classes and braving the Wisconsin winter, though it's almost 60 today so maybe that's not such a valid point to make. I've been reliving my study abroad memories by cooking as well as looking at pictures, and any easy weeknight recipe is much more appealing given my crazy schedule. This recipe for chicken Florentine is ready in 30 minutes and has all the flavors I loved to eat in Italy: savory chicken, fresh tomatoes, and a creamy, garlicky sauce with a handful of spinach thrown in so I don't get scurvy or something else from my college food diet.


To keep this recipe quick, I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If you've ever read any of my other roasted chicken recipes, I almost always use bone-in, skin-on thighs since they're so tender and juicy. However, I like how fast the boneless breasts cook and when you smother it in sauce you won't notice the difference. It's easy to substitute in any other cut of chicken you want; just adjust the cooking time accordingly to make sure it's cooked all the way through. The chicken is dredged in flour, seared until brown, and roasted until crisp and juicy. It couldn't be simpler.


The sauce is what makes the dish special. Like any self-respecting sauce, it starts with the chicken drippings, which permeate the whole dish with extra savory notes. I add garlic and onions before stirring in the spinach. You can use fresh or frozen spinach since it gets wilted anyway. The tomatoes are added in next. It's February, so I personally don't think hunting down fresh tomatoes are worth it (they aren't that great-tasting right now anyway), and using canned tomatoes cuts down on your prep time. I opt for the petite diced tomatoes if I can find them since the size matches up better with the rest of the dish, but regular diced or even crushed would work as well depending on the texture you're looking for.


What makes the sauce so tasty is the white wine, cream, and parmesan, which of course make everything better. The wine is used to deglaze the pan and get any caramelized brown bits of chicken or garlic or onions mixed into the sauce. I add a splash of chicken broth for extra flavor, then stir in the cream and parmesan for a velvety richness. Once it's all heated through, it gets slathered on the chicken and pretty much consumed immediately if you're anything like me. The sauce would also be delicious on pasta, since anything with cream and tomatoes and cheese pairs well with carbs. I'd probably drink it out of a glass, but then again I'm not one to turn down pasta if it's there.


6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1/3 Cup Flour
1 T Butter
1 Small Onion, Diced
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
3 Cups Spinach, Rinsed & Dried
1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes, Drained
2/3 Cup White Wine
1 Cup Chicken broth
1/3 Cup Cream
1/3 Cup Parmesan


Heat oven to 350F. Heat some oil in a large pot.

Season the flour with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour and brown in the pot until golden, cooking in batches as necessary. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.

Meanwhile, add the butter to the pan. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the spinach and cook for 2 minutes or until wilted. Add the tomatoes and white wine and cook for 4 minutes until reduced. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chicken broth, bring to a simmer, and stir in the cream, and parmesan. Cook for 2 minutes until heated through and serve on the chicken.

Serves 6

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