This wasn't necessarily the prettiest dish to photograph, but it sure was absolutely delicious, and that's what's really important, right?
I've been tossing around the idea of a French onion chicken dish for a while now, and I finally got around to trying it. I was so pleased with the results; this dish has all the same flavor notes as a bowl of French onion soup, minus the actual soup: sweet caramelized onions, a crispy element (Panko-breaded chicken, in this case), a hint of thyme, melted cheese. I used sliced muenster cheese because that's what I had on hand, but feel free to use whatever type of cheese you like. This chicken is a delicious and different dinner and a fun new take on a classic favorite!
French Onion Chicken
4 to 6 chicken breasts (uniform thickness)
1 stick butter, melted
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded or sliced muenster, gouda, or gruyere cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, sugar, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 teaspoon of the thyme leaves. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions are caramelized.
3. While the onions are cooking, combine panko, 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme leaves, and the salt and pepper in a dish. Dip the chicken in the egg, then in the panko mixture.
4. Heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Cook the chicken until it's browned on both sides, then move it to the casserole dish in a single layer. Top the chicken with the onions, then the cheese.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and the cheese is melted.