Baconified Marry-Me Chicken Recipe

- TikTok's at it again, this time bringing us a creamy, cheesy chicken recipe ideal for hurried weeknights. If you're familiar with creamy Tuscan chicken, a once-popular, one-skillet meal, you're looking at its very similar cousin. With the only discernible difference being the spinach, marry-me chicken is TikTok's spin on a creamy favorite.

So why the name? Since, after all, Tuscan chicken sounds pretty darn good, too, especially if you're just single and hungry for one-skillet meals. As with most TikTok trends, the idea isn't new, just modernized. In the late 90s and early 2000s, engagement chicken took off as a roasted, lemony whole chicken, rumored to have been the cause of some men's proposals to their girlfriends (via The Knot). Like that early, herby chicken, this viral dish is rumored to be so good, that your significant other will happily scream out "Marry me!" once consumed.

Whether you are expecting a proposal, or just jonesing for a good, creamy chicken dish, our recipe developed by Michelle McGlinn will help you out. This version starts with chopped bacon pieces for added salty, savory flavor — so even if you don't get a proposal, you and your partner will surely be satisfied.

Everything you need for baconified marry-me chicken

First things first: you'll need chicken for this dish. There isn't a strict reason to use any particular type of chicken, so if you prefer chicken thighs or even legs, adjust the recipe as needed. For fast cooking, we recommend buying chicken cutlets or slicing regular chicken breasts into cutlets. 

You'll need flour, salt, and pepper for dredging, and olive oil for the quick pan fry. You'll also need a few strips of thick bacon for this recipe, as well as garlic, lemon, white wine, and broth. Remember to grab a jar of sun-dried tomatoes, and consider using the oil from the jar, instead of olive oil to fry. To make the sauce creamy, you'll just need heavy cream, fresh Parmesan, and a little bit of butter.

Dredge the chicken

If you're skillful enough, you can do this step while the bacon bits cook away in the skillet, saving you some time. The chicken is lightly dredged in flour to create a golden-brown color and slightly crispy crust, all while working to thicken the eventual sauce. The power of flour, right?

To do this, just scatter the flour, salt, and pepper on a flat surface, or into a large bowl. Dunk each cutlet into the seasoned flour, and shake the excess off. Place the chicken on a plate until it's ready to fry.

Crisp the bacon, and brown the chicken

Chop the bacon in ½-inch pieces, and add it to a hot skillet over medium-high heat. Even if you prefer your bacon soft, we promise this recipe tastes best with super-crispy bacon bits. Don't be afraid to cook the bacon until it's dark red-brown and crispy — it'll make the crunch at the end so worth it.

Remove the bacon using a slotted spoon or spatula, leaving behind the grease. The grease has value here, so don't discard it. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet so that there's enough fat to cover the bottom of the pan, then add the chicken. The chicken should sizzle, and begin to brown immediately. Fry for a few minutes on either side, until the chicken is golden, then remove the chicken. 

Make the sauce

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the same pan, and quickly sautée the minced garlic until fragrant, then add the lemon juice, and wine before the garlic burns. Simmer the wine until the liquid is reduced, about 5 minutes. If you're using a large skillet, it will look like there's hardly any liquid left. 

Once the wine has reduced by half, pour in the broth, and bring it to a simmer again. Add the diced tomatoes, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and butter, and whisk to melt the butter. The sauce will start to look thick and glossy. Add in the heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese, and whisk consistently, bringing it to a simmer until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. If the sauce thickens too quickly, add a splash of broth to thin it. 

Serving the marry-me chicken

With the sauce thickened, add the chicken and bacon back to the skillet, and spoon the buttery sauce on top to warm through. At this point, you can add spinach, kale, or any wilted green veggies you love, or leave as is, and serve with boiled vegetables instead. This saucy dish is perfect over potatoes, spooned over pasta, and can even be served with rice. The creamy, cheesy sauce melts like a gravy with mashed potatoes, and turns this chicken dish into a full meal. 

Believe it or not, marry-me chicken saves well in an airtight containers for up to 5 days in the refrigerator, needing only a zap in the microwave to revitalize it. If the sauce starts to look a little old, add heavy cream and Parmesan to loosen it up. For the best quality (and that expected proposal, maybe), serve warm right away.



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