From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This simple, yet elegant, entree is nearly effortless to prepare. It takes less than 30 minutes to make, but it is prepared in two stages. The recipe includes a garlic wine that must be made a day or two before the chicken is sauteed. Dry white wine or dry vermouth is infused with a mixture of garlic and herbs and allowed to sit until their flavors permeate the wine. The wine is what gives this chicken its wonderful flavor. I use French vermouth to make the garlic wine used in this recipe. Years ago, Julia Child suggested the use of vermouth when good white wine was not available for cooking. I rarely have a bottle of white wine sitting on the door of my refrigerator, so I use vermouth in its stead. It can be kept for ages if properly stored and it makes an excellent cooking wine. I use Noilly Prat, Original French Dry Vermouth, for most of my cooking, but I also use an aperitif called Lillet, when we have it in the house. Lillet, by the way, is the "vermouth" used to make the famous Vesper martini popularized by James Bond in the movie Casino Royale. From my perspective, the advantage to using a brand specific vermouth is the consistency with which it performs. The folks at Cook's Illustrated also recommend Gallo vermouth for cooking. It has the advantage of being much less expensive than its French counterparts and it is more readily available in some communities. I have yet to use it, but it is on my must-try list. If you have an aversion to tarragon, omit it, but do not double the amount of thyme used in the recipe. This is a lovely, company worthy entree that was developed by Paula Wolfert. She has never let me down and I know that those of you who try this chicken will really enjoy it. The dish comes from Southwestern France and it is simple to prepare, visually appealing and absolutely delicious. I do hope you will try it. Here's the recipe.
Chicken Breasts with Garlic Wine (Poulet au Vin d'Ail)...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Paula Wolfert
Ingredients for garlic wine:
9 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of tarragon
1/4 teaspoon freshly crushed peppercorns
1 cup dry white wine or dry French vermouth
Ingredients for chicken:
3/4 cup Garlic Wine (recipe follows)
4 boneless chicken breast halves
Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Flour, for dredging
2 tablespoons clarified butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, plus additional for seasoning
1/3 cup heavy cream
1) To make garlic wine: One to two days before serving, halve garlic cloves and put them in a 1-pint canning jar along with thyme, tarragon and crushed pepper corns. Bring wine or vermouth to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour over ingredients in jar. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for 1 to2 days. Strain wine through cheesecloth and return to a clean jar. Discard solids. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
2) To prepare chicken: Trim chicken breasts and flatten slightly with a rolling pin to form cutlets of an even thickness. Season with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Heat clarified butter and oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat until sizzling. Add chicken breasts and sauté on both sides, until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes total. Do not overcook. Transfer chicken to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Add tarragon and cook over gentle heat for 10 seconds. Add garlic wine and water, scraping pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Bring contents of pan to a boil. Add cream and boil to reduce until thick enough to coat a spoon. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and more tarragon to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve at once. Yield: 4 servings.
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