Monday, February 11, 2008

Blancs de poulet a la crème et aux champignons

I love this recipe from Julia. It's so tender, melt in your mouth. And so so fast--as long as the breast pieces are a reasonable size. In these Tyson days, two breasts will feed four people. (Chicken is sold by the pound but bought by the piece, which means they make the damned chickens as big as possible.)

The big 10 ounce US chicken breasts need to be cut into fifths, to produce 10 two-ounce pieces--and nothing over one and 1/2 inches or they won't cook through properly. I put them into my fait-tout along with the wine, stock, lemon juice, and butter, covered them with waxed paper, and they cook fast enough on medium.

Use creme fraiche or heavy cream. The no-fat sour cream produces a weak sauce, but OK for dieting.

One pound boneless chicken breasts cut into pieces no more than 1 and 1/2 inches thick (about two large breasts)
1 tablespoon butter
1 lemon
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon chicken stock or beef stock (or gravy from a chicken or beef stew)
2 tablespoons white wine or dry vermouth
2 tablespoons chopped scallion or 1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 cup  heavy cream
(waxed paper)
  1. Heat a covered fait-tout on high (thaw the stock in the microwave on high if necessary)
  2. Grate some lemon rind onto the breast pieces, about 1 teaspoon. Squeeze lemon juice on them. Salt and paper lightly, and toss.
  3. In the fait-tout, add butter, stock, scallions, mushrooms, wine, and breast pieces.
  4. Cover with waxed paper and reduce heat to medium.
  5. Cover the fait-tout and simmer for 5 minutes, shaking occasionally or turning once if necessary.They are done when they are slightly springy to the touch (poke and peek at the biggest one to check). Do not overcook. They will cook a bit more when removed from the pan.
  6. Raise the heat to high and remove the chicken to a warming oven or or platter, covered by the waxed paper.
  7. Add the cream and stir till blended, boiling down the sauce until very slightly thickened. Check seasoning.
  8. Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with chopped scallion greens or herbs.
  • Substitute champagne, cognac, scotch, bourbon, or Pernod for the wine.
  • Add asparagus tips with the chicken, instead of the mushrooms.
  • Add very thin green beans, broccoli, or cauliflower in the first step.
  • Add a teaspoon of curry powder and use brandy instead of wine.
Joyce really liked them. But to me they don't have that perfect consistency of the oven poeled ones Julia does.

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