Sunday, June 26, 2011

On Surgery and Pretzel Chicken and Beer Cheese Sauce


I've always been blessed with good health, which is a good thing generally, but particularly because my husband's had more than his share of health issues, mainly back related. I can claim no major illnesses and with the exception of tubes put into my ears at age 4, no surgeries.

My accidents and incidents have been of the freakish sort, like the iron that fell on my head last summer. Last weekend, I took another trip to the ER for another freak accident. Packing down our kitchen garbage, I stabbed my hand with a broken wine stem. I could blame my husband who'd deposited it in the can the evening before, but I'd seen it when I discarded a bunch of dry cleaner bags on top of it. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten about it by the time I wanted to add more trash to the can. You can bet I remembered it immediately when the glass split my flesh.

Spurting blood, an ambulance ride, and five stitches later, my streak of good luck with good health has ended. Scheduled is my first surgery in 38 years to repair my .common digital nerve. Fortunately, it's my left hand (I'm a righty), but still it's going to be an interesting summer. Well, that is, if I survive. You have to wonder about the doctor from whom I got my second opinion. When asked what the worst case scenario would be if the surgery didn’t turn out as planned, he answered deadpan, “You could die.” Suffice to say, I won’t be using his services.

You can watch me cook one handed twice this week. Tomorrow, I’ll be making Pretzel Chicken with Rarebit Sauce at Taste of Chicago, 2:30pm. On Wednesday, come visit me at Green City Market for my first Sprouts visit of the season.

Pretzel Chicken with Rarebit Sauce
Serves 4

2 cups pretzels, crushed well in a food processor
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
4 chicken cutlets, pounded thin
4 to 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Rarebit Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worchestire sauce
1/3 cup amber beer
1 cup grated aged cheddar
1 pinch paprika
1 tablespoon chopped chives for garnish

Set three shallow bowls next to one another on the counter. Fill the first with the egg whisked together with the water, the second with flour, and the third with the crushed pretzels.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until lightly colored, a few minutes. Whisk in the mustard, the Worcestire sauce and the beer. Cook until thickened about 5-7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.

Heat a non stick sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Dip the chicken first in the flour, then the egg, and then finally the pretzels. Place them in the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until lightly browned. Flip and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan and cook until the other side is lightly browned.

While the chicken is cooking, increase the heat under the beer sauce to medium. When warmed, add the cheddar and whisk until smooth. Taste for seasoning. The sauce should be under seasoned given that it will be paired with salty pretzels. Add paprika and stir.

Remove the chicken to individual plates. Sauce and garnish with chives.


  1. Wow! That sucks! I wish you a swift recovery!

  2. Thanks Mrs. Q. The worst part is no driving. It's going to be interesting.


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