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A Winner of a Chicken Dinner!

A Winner of a Chicken Dinner

As a follow-up to our blog post on pan-seared steak, and for the folks who are more inclined to have chicken for dinner, this is for YOU!

In this episode, we feature the pan-seared chicken breast and a garlic-rosemary pan sauce.  If you watch closely, you’ll see that the elements and techniques for this chicken recipe are almost exactly the same as the methods for the steak recipe.  In fact, it’s DESIGNED to be similar – once you master the basic techniques, you can apply them to virtually anything as long as you understand heat management and flavor profile.  And those two foundations of cooking only come with experience – the more you cook and taste your own food, the more you’ll figure out where to add a little here, push it a little there…  you’ll be on your way to eventually cooking WITHOUT recipes!

Here’s a great base recipe to follow and make your own.

Pan-seared Chicken Breast with Garlic-Rosemary Pan Sauce

Serves 2

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 half chicken breasts, boneless, skin-on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken stock

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Make a beurre manié:  In a small bowl, use your fingers to rub together the butter and flour until it forms a paste.  Roll the paste together into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sear the chicken breasts:  Take the chicken breasts out of the fridge, unwrap and set them on a large plate.  Generously sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and set aside until they come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before cooking.

Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high flame and add the grapeseed oil.  When you see the oil shimmering, place the chicken breasts in the middle of the pan, skin-side down and sear for 4 minutes.  Check after 4 minutes – if the skin is still sticking to the pan, leave it alone.  It’s not ready to be flipped yet.  If the chicken lifts up with no problem, check the color – the skin should be golden and crispy.  Flip the breasts to the other side and sear for another 4 minutes.

Transfer the entire pan to the oven and roast for another 7 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°.  Remove the breasts from the pan to a clean plate and tent with foil to rest.  In the time it takes for the breasts to rest, you can make a tasty pan sauce with the pan drippings that are left in the pan!

Make the Pan Sauce:  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan and return the pan to medium-flame.  Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until it is fragrant.  Pour a small amount of chicken stock in the pan and use a wooden spoon to rub and scrape up the hardened pan drippings from the bottom of the pan.   This step not only cleans the pan, but also dissolves the pan drippings (or fond) back into the sauce, boosting the sauce’s flavor.  Add the remainder of the chicken stock and rosemary and increase the heat to high.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer.  Simmer for 3 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by a third.   Turn off the heat and swirl in the butter and flour mixture, gently stirring to melt the butter.  As the butter melts, the sauce will thicken slightly.  Remove the garlic and rosemary or strain the sauce.  Taste and add any additional salt and pepper, if needed.  Stir in a couple of drops of lemon juice if you feel the sauce needs some acidity.  Keep warm.

To serve, slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch thick slices across the grain and drizzle the sauce over.  Serve hot with a side of pasta tossed with minced garlic, parsley and red pepper flakes, and some vegetables, like blanched peas.

As always, you can check out the video collections on our Vimeo Channel!

WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

Looking for a quick and easy answer to dinner?  Our English pea soup looks like spring… fresh, light green, and sweet.  The secret is in the blanching.  Blanching and shocking lock in the vibrant green color giving the soup its appealing color (no drab olive green here!)

Garden Pea Soup

Garden Pea Soup

Yield: 4 servings

Delicious on it’s own as a cold starter to a meal. Serve hot in a larger bowl and you have a light dinner with your favorite artisan bread and a salad.  

INGREDIENTS:

PREPARATION:

Pulse the peas, stock, zest, and almond butter in a blender until smooth.  With the blender running, pour in the olive oil  through the hole in the top.  Pour oil in a steady stream until blended.  Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate. Serve soup cold or heat soup over low heat just until hot (can be done in the microwave.)  Garnish with mint and serve.

Cook’s Notes: 

English peas, aka garden peas, aka shelling peas, are best eaten soon after picking.  For optimum results, purchase peas no more than 2-3 days before you plan to cook them as they start to loose their tenderness and sweetness quickly as their sugars turn to starch leaving you with bland starchy peas.  If you can’t find peas at the Farmer’s market you can substitute organic frozen peas (not quite as good, but pretty darn good in a pinch — shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone I told you.)

Oh, and what’s with the almond butter?  We’ve added a little almond butter to enhance the sweetness in the peas, add a subtle nuttiness, and up the protein.  If you don’t have it, don’t like it, don’t add it!

Remember, when working with our recipes on the blog, simply hit the blue hyperlinks in the recipe to see the associated technique video. It’s our way of guiding you through the recipe. Alternatively, you can view our Vimeo Portfolio, where all of the pea-related videos are bundled: http://vimeopro.com/dearmartini/peas-please

PEAS, PLEASE!

Springtime is the best time for the softest, sweetest, most tender produce!  We love PEAS!  All kinds of peas, but in particular, English peas (aka garden peas.)  They are at the height of their season right now (March – May) so hurry and get these on your table NOW!

Serve them with anything…  And everything.

English Peas with Shallots and Mint

(serves 4)

One of our favorite way to eat peas is simply blanched, then tossed with melted butter, shallots and mint.  Variations on this theme:  substitute the mint for chervil,  chives, or flat-leaf parsley.

1 pound English pea pods, shelled and blanched

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, minced

Pinch of kosher salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon mint chiffonade

2 teaspoons lemon zest

Shell the peas into a small bowl and blanch.  Set aside.

In a medium-sized saute pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes, or until translucent and fragrant.

Add the peas and sauté until they are hot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turn the heat off and toss in the mint and zest.  Serve immediately.

Remember, when working with our recipes on the blog, simply hit the blue hyperlinks in the recipe to see the associated technique video. It’s our way of guiding you through the recipe. Alternatively, you can view our Vimeo Portfolio, where all of the pea-related videos are bundled: http://vimeopro.com/dearmartini/peas-please