Martian Food
Sep 18, 2015

The Martian will be in theaters on October 2nd, and the critics are saying it is a spectacular film. The novel,&n

Pat's Chicken

Active time:45 minutes

Start To Finish:1 hour, 30 minutes


Serving size: 6

Source: The Good Housekeeping Cookbook from 1973

Comfort Food, Poultry, Family Favorites
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6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
5 Tbs. butter , divided
1 medium onion, minced
2 cups fresh bread crumbs, (about 5 slices of bread—we generally use Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread)
2 Tbs. fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
⅛ tsp. thyme leaves, dried, not fresh (just smush them in your hand)
⅛ tsp. basil , dried
¼ cup water
1 cup chicken broth, (we use the Herb Ox instant broth or bouillon and seasoning)
2 bay leaves
Flour, (to coat the chicken)
Toothpicks or small skewers


Pound the chicken breasts between plastic wrap until they are about ½-¼ inch thick.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt 3 Tbs. of the butter, then cook onion until tender (don't let it brown, turn down heat if it does). Remove from heat and stir in breadcrumbs, water, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme and basil. Divide stuffing equally among the chicken breasts, then roll them up and secure with toothpicks or (our preference) those small skewers that come with string for closing a stuffed turkey—all grocery stores sell them. Coat the rolled breasts with flour. You may have extra stuffing—set this aside for now.

Using a large skillet (preferably a sauté pan with straight sides to hold more sauce), melt the remaining 2 Tbs. butter and brown the chicken breasts (in 2 batches if you have to) until browned on all sides. Add more butter if doing in 2 batches and you need it (this is not a diet recipe!). Return all chicken to the pan, add the chicken broth, 2 bay leaves and the remaining stuffing (just spoon it into the chicken broth around the cooking chicken), reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 45 minutes.

When done, remove skewers and discard bay leaves. The skewers will come out easily once the chicken is cooked. Grab the end of the skewer with a tong (if you use metal skewers, they will be hot) and pull.


We generally serve this with Twice-Baked Potatoes and Roasted Green Beans.

If you want more sauce, use more chicken broth—we generally do between 1½ and 2 cups so you all have enough sauce for the potatoes. Adding the extra breadcrumb mixture makes a thicker sauce, so add more or less as desired.

When Lindsay first started cooking this meal that Marcella had made for her a million times as a kid, she used a bunch of toothpicks to keep each piece of chicken together. It's much easier with the turkey skewers, but if you have to use toothpicks, it's okay to use more than one on each piece of chicken to keep it from falling apart. Just use the same number in each piece so that you know how many to take out when the chicken is cooked! Also try to avoid the toothpicks sticking out on all sides, which will make it hard to brown the chicken.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe called "Veal Birds" from a very old cookbook. Marcella originally substituted chicken because veal was too expensive, and she deleted canned (!) mushrooms and their liquid because no one liked mushrooms—particularly the canned version.  We renamed the dish "Pat's Chicken" in the late '80's because, well, it was Lindsay's and Lauren's brother Pat's favorite chicken.


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