Tuesday, May 17, 2011

and more chicken

There are some meals that, no matter how many times you make them, they never grow old. Everybody has favorites, but I haven't met a person who isn't impressed with this dish. I discovered it quite a while ago in a magazine, which was demonstrating a technique for sear roasting, a method of cooking that has you sear a piece of meat over high heat, then finish it in the oven. This is the way I cook most often. It is quick, the flash of heat ensures you seal in the juices, preventing the meat from being dry, and you can finish it with any sauce you want. I cook white fish, salmon, beef, and chicken this way quite often. The sauce that was showcased with this recipe is very versatile, and can be adapted to many meats and drastically changed with just a few minute substitutions. It is basically a take on buerre blanc, the French butter sauce.
The original recipe called for white wine, but chicken stock is an acceptable substitution. This is the dinner my sister wants on her birthday, and my husband requests almost every time I am planning meals. It's a hit every time. There is some lemon juice and rosemary in the sauce, which, in my opinion, are perfectly complimentary flavors. The sauce is also great on salmon, and feel free to mix it up a bit for beef-it would be delicious with some dijon and tarragon for a zippy beef dish.
This is also great for company, because you can fry up all the chicken pieces, place them on a baking sheet and finish them in the oven. Everybody's food will be ready at the same time no matter how many you have.

Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce
Serves 4

4 4-oz chicken breasts (if they are large slice them in  half lengthwise, or pound them into cutlets)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon minced rosemary
2 Tablespoons minced shallot (about one clove)
1/2 cup chicken stock
juice from 1/2 a lemon
4 Tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 450. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a few teaspoons of vegetable oil over high heat. When the oil is shimmering add the chicken pieces and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or the edges are brown.
Move the cooked chicken pieces to a glass baking dish, laying each piece flat (don't overlap them). Place in the oven for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken cutlets (the temperature should be 165 F.)
Meanwhile, add the rosemary and shallots to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and continue cooking until the stock is reduced to a few tablespoons. Add the lemon juice and remove from the heat. Add the butter a tablespoon at a time, whisking until it is incorporated. The sauce will begin to look lighter and thicker. Spoon sauce over cooked chicken.

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