Sunday, 28 March 2010

The 21st Century Housewife’s© French Country Chicken

This delicious recipe is another one that uses vinegar - this time it's the red wine variety. It is an old French recipe that I learned about in my travels and then played around with a bit over the years.  Like many French recipes, it is heavy on the butter and cream, so it is definitely not low-cal or heart healthy and is a dish for special treats, not every day.

Again, don't let the vinegar put you off; you really do have to taste this to believe how yummy it is. And despite the very grown up ingredients, kids absolutely love it. (The majority of the alcohol cooks off, so it really isn’t a problem.) In fact, this is the recipe I make when we have visitors whose kids are really fussy. I have one friend whose son refused to eat much else other than bread and Marmite (a spread here in England) when he was little, but this he would ask for, and he always cleaned his plate. And now he is practically grown up, he still asks for it!

The quantities here are for four, but I have doubled this recipe on many occasions with no problems at all.
4 chicken breasts, free range if possible
Salt and pepper
2 generous tablespoons butter
1 to 2 garlic cloves
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 large shallots, very finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine (it doesn’t have to be expensive, just delicious)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 cup heavy cream (not whipping cream)
1 to 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard or Wholegrain Dijon Mustard
Melt butter in a frying pan.  Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken for 10 – 15 minutes on each side until nearly done. Grate in the garlic cloves and continue frying.  Turn the heat up to high and add the red wine vinegar.  Boil for a few minutes to let the chicken absorb the flavour of the vinegar.
Remove the chicken from the pan, cover with aluminum foil and place it in a dish in a warm oven. 
Add the shallots to the juices and vinegar remaining in the frying pan and stir until the shallots are nearly translucent.  Add the wine and the tomato puree.  You need to boil this mixture until it reduces by half, stirring all the while.  When it has reduced, lower the heat and stir in the cream.  Add mustard to taste.  Put the chicken back in the pan and turn to coat. 
Serve the chicken with a bit of sauce on top, and pour any remaining sauce in a container to serve at the table. Delicious!


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