Monday, October 5, 2020

Baked Reuben Chicken

  Ever since I learned how to ferment my own homemade sauerkraut, I've been looking for different recipes in which to use it. I mean, yes, you can't go wrong just serving it with some grilled brats, or any kind of favorite sausage, but I wanted to explore using sauerkraut as an ingredient in other dishes too, not just as a stand alone side dish.
  I thought, what if we paired it with chicken instead of pork? A quick google search led me to this recipe that I found on YES! This is exactly what I wanted! A chicken variation of a Reuben sandwich. YUM! I've always been a huge fan of a Reuben, so why not bake it with chicken instead of corned beef or pastrami? Yes please!
 It's just a few ingredients, easy assembly, and into the oven it goes. I should mention, btw, that I tweaked a couple things, but it's still basically the same recipe. The original said to bake it for 90 minutes at 325º, and that just seemed FAR too long for a piece of boneless chicken. So I decided to do less time at a slightly higher temp. MUCH better. I also tweaked some of the ingredient amounts too. Turned out perfectly! Serve it with some noodles, potatoes, or a simple veggie on the side, and there's dinner. LOVE it. This one definitely falls into the category of "why have I never thought of this?" Definitely a keeper!!

4-6 boneless chicken breast halves
S&P to taste
16 oz sauerkraut, drained and pressed
4 slices Swiss cheese, or more to taste
1 cup Thousand Island salad dressing*
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 350ºF.
Place chicken in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place sauerkraut over chicken and top with cheese slices. Spread dressing over all, and cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (fork can be easily inserted and juices run clear). Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

When I first made this, I followed the original recipe, and layered the ingredients as directed. In other words, chicken on the bottom, then the sauerkraut, then the cheese, and then the dressing on the top.
 But when I made it again (because it's so freaking delicious you'll want to make it again), I decided that I wanted the cheese to be on top so it would get all melty and gooey. So I layered it, chicken on the bottom, then the sauerkraut, then the dressing, and then cheese on top. This was a MUCH better plan, in my opinion.

*To make your own Thousand Island dressing, simply stir together a half cup each of mayonnaise and ketchup along with 1 or 2 tbs of sweet pickle relish. The tiny pieces of pickles in the relish look like a thousand tiny little islands in a sea of dressing. Get it?

Full disclosure, I didn't even measure anything. As my Mom would say "Just add everything until it's enough." Cover each piece of chicken with just enough sauerkraut, just enough dressing and just enough cheese. Cook it until it's done. If you like a lot, add a lot! If you need more than 4-6 pieces of chicken, make more!! Only cooking for 2? Make less! It's very adaptable, and very simple!
Oh, one other thing.. usually, if I'm making something with cheese, I'll try different kinds of cheeses, just for a variation, or just because I like to use whatever I have on hand. In this case, though, I wouldn't swap out the Swiss cheese. That's kind of one of the best parts of a Reuben , I think. So swapping it for something else doesn't give the same Reuben experience. Just sayin'!

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