Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken Under a Brick II

Click here to see this recipe demonstrated!

This method of cooking chicken is classic French. Usually this recipe uses a whole chicken, literally compressed under the weight of a brick, but I wanted to make dinner for just my husband and I; a whole chicken would be too much. I used boneless, skin-ON breasts and it turned out beautiful. The entire dish, velvety smooth sauce included, took less than 15 minutes to make.

2 Boneless chicken breasts
Sea salt
Vegetable or olive oil
1 shallots, minced
1 plump clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup tomato concasse (chopped fresh tomato flesh- no seeds)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Handful of freshly chopped herbs (parsley, tarragon-- whatever you like)

Special equipment: Heavy saute pan (I use cast iron), a smaller saute pan, a brick or very heavy mortar and pestle, or the heaviest heat-proof thing you have handy.

1) Place the cast iron skillet over medium heat and allow to get hot. Sprinkle the chicken with sea salt. Pour enough oil into the skillet to liberally coat the bottom. Lay the chicken in, skin side down. Now, turn over the smaller saute pan and lay it on top of the chicken, balance the mortar and pestle, or heavy object on top of the saute pan and leave the chicken, undisturbed to cook for 3 and 1/2 minutes. After 3 and 1/2 minutes, take the weight and saute pan off the chicken, and carefully turn the chicken over. Put the pan and weight back on the chicken and cook the second side for an additional 3 and 1/2 minutes.

2) After 7 minutes (TOTAL cooking time), the chicken should be just cooked through, juicy and succulent. Remove your breasts from the pan (or course, not literally YOUR breasts... they should not be in the pan, that would hurt), and keep them warm on a plate.

3) Pour out the oil from the pan and crank the heat up to high. Add in the shallot and garlic to the pan and stir for just a few seconds. Add in the tomato concasse, stir and shake the pan, then add in the wine. Simmer, and reduce for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, or remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in 2 pats of butter, then stir in the fresh herbs. Place the chicken back in the pan to warm, then serve at once.

Serve with rice and a fresh, steamed green veg. Serve 2

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