Food & Swine

Fancy Chicken Bacon Ranch

1ChickenBaconRanch

The Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwich craze hit about 10 years ago and I was ON-BOARD.  Strips of chicken (grilled or fried), bacon, cheese of any kind and plenty of ranch dressing… how could a sandwich like that be bad?  Well I’m living proof to say it wasn’t bad at all.  However, my more grown-up tastes leave me wishing for a bit more when it comes to this sandwich… or should I say a bit less?

I developed this recipe because I needed an entrée for supper that the kids would tolerate and that adults would enjoy, and that wasn’t a sandwich, because we’d eaten so MANY of the Pigged Out Patty Melts… (though I will leave you a variation at the end of the post for the sandwich version).

Christmas is coming very soon and this time of year is always busy in the barn, as we seem to have babies during this week every year.  Hopefully we’ll have better luck this year, though nothing said ‘Merry Christmas’ like raising 4 orphan pigs in my garage last year.
**(These orphans were from our small hobby group of show pigs.  We don’t have sows on a large scale, we own modern ‘finisher’ barns where we raise the pigs from 50 lbs. to 280 lbs.)
BarrettPigs
Boy they were cute, but my goodness… lots of work.
Pigs1
Although, the lessons about life were the reward.
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Lessons can masquerade as fun sometimes…
HALLEPIG
I cried when the pigs ‘moved out’ of our garage… but as luck would have it, this fatty (my daughter named Jackson) got to be shown at the Iowa State Fair.
MommyHallePigs
Let us COOK!

ChickenBaconRanch1
Fancy “Chicken Bacon Ranch”
Makes 4 large servings
By: Cristen   www.foodandswine.com
Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, butterflied and pounded to even thickness
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix, or other dry ranch dressing powdered mix
2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 TBSP butter
2 large sweet onions, peeled and sliced into 1/3” rings
2 (8 oz.) containers of button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
8 slices of smoked bacon, cooked to chewy-crisp
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated (room temperature)
4 scallions, (green tops only) chopped

Directions:

1. Butterfly (place hand flat on top of chicken breast, cut through the breast to create a thinner piece of chicken that roughly looks like a heart, this way, the chicken cooks faster and more evenly) if there are thicker parts, using a mallet covered with plastic wrap, pound the chicken breasts to even thickness.
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  1. In a small bowl, combine dressing mix packet (dry ingredients only), seasoned salt and pepper. Rub this dry mixture over the chicken breasts, place in plastic bag, and return to refrigerator to rest a while.
  2. Slice onions and add to a large skillet with butter over medium heat, add salt and sugar, stir well and cook for 4 minutes until tender, add mushrooms and continue to cook for 10 minutes until onions are caramelized and soft. Set aside, keeping warm. 4. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add chicken (depending on the size of your chicken breasts and skillet, you could do 1 or 2 breasts at a time.   Cook chicken for 2 minutes on one side and flip over. 5. When chicken is flipped, to the cooked side: add 2 slices of bacon, warm onion/mushroom mixture and a handful of grated cheese.  Cover skillet and cook for 3 minutes until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining servings.
  3. Remove chicken from skillet directly to serving plate. Top with chopped scallions. Serve immediately. 7. SANDWICH VARIATION: Serve on two slices of country bread, spread with ranch dressing. Add extra cheese on top and bottom of chicken/mushrooms/onions/bacon/scallion.  Butter outer sides of bread, fry like a grilled cheese on a skillet over medium heat until bread is golden and crisp and cheese is melted.
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