Just like glistening French Onion Skillet Chicken all nestled beneath sweet, caramelized onions and melted gruyere cheese, being covered and gently coated in those things of a loving nature in life can be wonderfully comforting.
When I was a kid, there was nothing more comforting than being covered up, all snuggly-like, in a thick, heavy blanket, nestled in a bed or on the couch with fluffy pillows surrounding me.
Getting lost in the soft weight of what I was wrapped in was so very cozy, and made me feel safe, protected, and tucked away like I was in a cocoon of my own, and it was one of my absolute favorite things to experience.
To this day I appreciate being able to withdraw into a feather-soft world that utterly surrounds me and keeps me tucked away from the overbearing outside world, but these days my covering resembles more the arms of the ones that love me, and who I deeply, madly love more than any physical blanket.
And what a rich life that makes for!
Allowing another human being access to my inner thoughts and feelings has not always been easy for me; but in full disclosure, it is something that I seek out these days and try to make a point of experiencing, and allow myself the pleasure of melting into as often as possible.
Being smothered by the care, the love, the devotion, the affection of another who deeply and genuinely cares about my well-being and my personal evolution and growth in this lifetime is a divinely delicious thing that is so exquisitely alive and nurturing for my soul.
It lifts my spirit and softens me from the inside, tenderizes me, and creates a desire within me to absorb all that is being given and display it back to the world by way of offering up my own love, care, and nurturing soul so that someone else may find the good flavor, the succulence, of what it means to be enrobed in the best that life has to offer.
And the best that life has to offer is indeed all of those things of a loving nature, those things that flow naturally over top of us, over every inch of us, that provide a barrier of protection and resistance to the things that can chip away at us over time.
They are like the creamy, mildly salty, nutty, melted gruyere that glides over top of the glistening, savory-sweet and earthy caramelized onions that are generously spooned over top of a juicy and delectable chicken breast—they offer a gloriously scrumptious and rich covering that makes for the perfectly flavorful bite.
Allowing myself to be smothered in the love and compassion of another human being is quite possibly the most connecting and beautiful thing imaginable, in my mind.
It is the very thing that a healthy human experience is built upon, and that has a taste and feel that is unlike anything else we experience in this world.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
French Onion Skillet Chicken with Melted Gruyere and Thyme
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4
• 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in half length-wise to create 4 thinner cutlets
• 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
• 1 teaspoon granulated onion
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon paprika
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic
• Canola oil
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
• 3 white onions, quartered and sliced thinly
• ¼ cup white wine
• ½ cup beef stock
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided use
• 1 ¼ cup grated gruyere cheese
-Add the chicken cutlets to a bowl, and sprinkle in all of the ingredients beginning with the Herbes de Provence up to and including a drizzle of the canola oil, and toss together to combine; allow the meat to marinate for at least 20 minutes, or even over night if preparing ahead.
-Once the chicken is marinated, place a cast iron skillet (or other large pan) over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of the canola oil; once it gets hot, add in the chicken cutlets and sear until golden-brown, about 3 minutes per side; remove from pan and set aside, keeping warm.
-Into the same cast iron skillet or pan add in another 4 tablespoons of the oil, plus the 2 tablespoons of the butter, and allow that to become hot and melt together; add in the sliced onions (it will seem like a lot of onions, but they will cook down substantially) and stir, and allow the onions to begin to caramelize a little bit before adding in a pinch or two of salt and black pepper; continue to caramelize the onions, stirring frequently, for about 25-30 minutes, or until a deep golden-brown, and very soft.
-Deglaze the caramelized onions with the wine, and after about 30 seconds to 1 minute, when the wine has reduced, add in the beef stock, and allow that to reduce for several minutes until thickened and glossy.
-Finish the onions by stirring in the garlic, about 1 teaspoon of the thyme leaves, and the butter; once the butter is melted in, turn off the heat; return the chicken to the skillet, and nestle it into the onion mixture.
-Turn your broiler on, and top each chicken breast cutlet with some of the gruyere cheese; place under broiler to melt the cheese, and make it slightly golden and bubbly.
-Finish the chicken with the remaining sprinkle of thyme leaves, and serve.