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Bob’s Chicken by way of Sylvia, to John and Kari, to Me

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003Wait, Who’s Bob?  Who the heck cares?  This was the response I got when John and Kari first gave me this recipe.  There may have been an expletive involved, but then again, I like to embrace all the English language has to offer me so perhaps that’s just my memory.  John D’s mother, Sylvia, is a caretaker of the world.  She raised my husband, in a way.  And certainly kept him, as well as all of their friends, fed.  There are a few people in this world who live through providing, and Sylvia is one of them.  She will provide an answer, assistance, a contact, a friend, a shoulder, a pot roast, the list can go on.  That, my friends, is exactly what I am shooting for.  I would be the happiest mama on the block if I could spend my days feeding growing kids and their friends hearty and homey meals, meals that they’d not only want to pass along, but talk about years later.  That’s why I plan to have 80 children.  (Just kidding)  But seriously, one or two of them will eventually reject my presence and/or my cooking, so it’s time to shore up the reserves so I can guarantee that I’ll have a fulfilled adulthood.  (Just kidding again, sort of.)

Bob’s Chicken is straight up comfort food.  Had a bad day?  Eat Bob’s chicken.  Feeling under-appreciated?  Cook Bob’s Chicken.  Just recovered and found yourself back in black?  Make and Eat Bob’s chicken.  That’s my motto and I’m sticking to it.  This Bob had his eyes on the prize.  He saw a void in the world, looked out, and thought hey… I can make this better, and I’m going to do it with food.

This recipe can be as easy as you like or you can take it up a notch and add effects to make it drool worthy – as well as possibly coma inducing.  You can run with a box of store brand croutons – or you can make your own crostini like I do.  You can slap it all together and walk away – or you can add the cheese later once the sauce has begin to bubble ensuring a smoother texture and a phenomenal punch.  You can pound out your chicken, or you can throw it in there untouched and utilize the extra sauce to make the mouth-feel worthwhile.  If I had a restaurant, I’d garnish this with freshly chopped chives.  The possibilities are endless and you can take the basic ingredients and experiment with your pantry staples, all on a Tuesday managing to pull off dinner before everyone has to slug themselves into bed.   Just don’t run out of white wine.  Cause that will mess you up.  If you find yourself prone to this circumstance, hide one of those teeny tiny individual bottles of cheap white wine in your laundry room.  I won’t tell.  This recipe is so yummy you don’t even need to follow the “Don’t cook with it if you won’t drink it” rule.  It will taste better if you were willing, but it won’t destroy the comfort level.

Thank you, John and Kari, for loving us and always being willing to have Friday nights in our backyard.  And thank you, Sylvia, for raising these boys the way you did.  And thank you, Bob – whoever and wherever you may be – for saving boneless, skinless chicken breasts for me, all in one fell swoop.

Bob’s Chicken – recipe to feed 5 ravenous adults

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts – thoroughly rinsed, trimmed, and dried with paper towels

fresh ground pepper

sea salt, finely ground

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 c. dry white wine – I like Sauvingnon Blanc

5 slices (or approx 4 ounces) swiss cheese, torn up to small pieces

1/2 c. butter

1/2 a baugette

3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

1 and 1/2 tbsps butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450.  Slice baguette into just under one inch rounds.  Halve smashed garlic, then rub one side of baguette with cloves, discarding pieces as they get too small.  Brush baguette pieces with melted butter.  Sprinkle very lightly with finely ground sea salt. Place baguette slices on a stone or a cookie sheet and toast until very lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Reduce oven to 350.  On a sheet of wax paper, pound chicken breasts with a mallet 1-2 minutes to tenderize and flatten.  Season with fresh ground pepper, then very, very lightly sprinkle with finely ground sea salt.  Place seasoned chicken breasts in a casserole in a single layer.  In a bowl, combine wine with cream of chicken and stir with a whisk to combine.  Pour mixture over chicken breasts, then top with toasted baguette slices(crostini).  Melt your half cup of butter in a glass measuring cup in microwave.  Drizzle melted butter slowly over crostini and chicken mixture.  If you feel you’ve covered everything – toss remaining melted butter.  Cook in oven for 25 minutes.  Pull casserole from oven and insert swiss cheese pieces into sauce and between crostini.  The hot sauce will provide an optimal melting and integration ground for your cheese.  Replace casserole in oven, then reduce oven temp to 325.  Cook another 15-20 minutes.  Let rest about 5-10 minutes out of oven to prevent scalding your loved one’s mouths.  Serve and enjoy!