Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A copycat non-recipe


Years ago, while training for a new job, I ate a dish called 'Smothered Chicken' at a restaurant called P.J. Whelihan's. I can't pinpoint why, but while many restaurant entrees have fallen out of my memory, this simple one never did. Maybe because I knew it would be relatively easy to duplicate at home?

When I saw that I still had peppers left and just about everything else I needed, I decided to whip up a close reproduction of this dish. I really wanted to use up the last of those peppers. I used them in the Cacciatore Burgers, the Italian Sweet Chicken Sausage Patties and then this recipe. Later I found two more! I think I only paid $2 for that basket of peppers. I swear they're breeding in my vegetable bin.

P.J. Whelihan's website describes this dish as 'Twin boneless breasts of chicken seasoned and char-broiled, smothered with red and green peppers, mushrooms, onions and melted monterey jack cheese.'

So I flattened out four chicken breasts and marinated them in some salad dressing. I had a bit of Ken's Healthy Options Olive Oil and Vinegar left and some store-brand Italian. I used just enough dressing to coat them and then I let them marinate all-day while I was at work (about 11 hours). Beforehand I had sautéed the mixture of peppers, onion, and mushrooms with one clove of minced garlic added at the end. I cooked the chicken on the Griddler (would have grilled outside but the weather didn't cooperate) then I topped it with the vegetables and some shredded cheddar cheese I had leftover. I only had to buy the mushrooms to make this.

It really hit the spot. It was just as good as what I remember and it cost me a lot less to make than what they charge for it ($12.99 with fries and coleslaw but I'm sure it was less expensive 11 years ago when I had it). Only problem was that at home I couldn't get a Blue Moon draft to enjoy with this.

Question of the Day: Have you been able to successfully duplicate any restaurant recipes?

5 comments:

M Smith said...

Yep. A similar recipe, as a matter of fact. My husband loves this dish you can get here in MD called Chesapeake Chicken. Basically it is a grille chicken breast, smothered in Crab Dip and then covered with Monterrey Jack/Cheddar cheese.

Anytime I have crab dip left over, I make it for my husband. Then I can get him to do anything like fix something or hang something etc. :)

Annie Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie Jones said...

I'm sure I must have, but I can't think of any off the top of my head.

When I worked for a caterer, I didn't get in on the cooking much as I was usually doing the baking. Somehow I've still managed to duplicate a lot of their awesome savory dishes at home...and in family size (rather than banquet size) portions.

Katiesperk said...

This looks good. I really like most things smothered in cheese.

SHannon said...

Yum! Looks delish! PJ's was a fave hangout of mine in grad school. Funny, my copycat recipe last night from Carabba's - Insalata Johnny Rocco, included Ken's olive oil and vinegar dressing too. Here's the recipe: http://sparklemeetsdomestics.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/recreating-the-best/