Parmesan Chicken with Celery Root and Apple Puree

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I have been meaning to try out this Celery Root and Apple Puree recipe from my Barefoot Contessa cookbook (one of my favorites!) for years. I figured it was a  healthy seasonal side dish and a good substitute for mashed potatoes, but I had no idea how completely amazing it was going to be! It has very few ingredients and it is incredible how the apple, fennel, and celery root (and my own addition of parnsips) combine to create this new earthy savory and sweet burst of flavor. This is definitely going in my recipe book. I made it to go with a parmesan crusted chicken I adapted from the most recent Food Network Magazine. Overall, it was a great winter dish.

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Parmesan Crusted Chicken (Adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Easy, Serves 4)

  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme leaves, chopped
  • coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 organic free range boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 c. almond meal
  • Extra virgin olive for coating the pan

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Mix the mustard, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat completely; set aside.  In a medium shallow bowl, combine the parmesan and almond meal. Dredge the chicken pieces in the almond parmesan mixture, coating evenly and heavily, and pressing the coating into the meat.

Put the chicken on a baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil. Bake until the chicken is golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting or serving.

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Celery Root and Apple Puree (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa) (Difficulty-Easy; Makes 4-6 servings)

  • 2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. large-diced organic fennel bulb, tops and core removed
  • 2 lbs. organic celery root, peeled and diced
  • 8 oz. organic parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 3 organic Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 c. organic apple cider
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream

Melt the butter over medium heat in a shallow pot or large saute pan. Add the fennel, celery root, parsnips, apples, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Saute the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cider and tightly cover the pot. Simmer over low heat (I pull the pot halfway off the heat) for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft.

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When the vegetables are cooked, add the cream and cook for 1 more minute. Transfer the mixture to a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade and process. I used a food processor for this and it worked just as well. Just be careful not to the over pulse the mixture so that it maintains some of its texture. Taste for salt and pepper and return to the pot to keep warm. Serve warm.

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