Monday, October 3, 2011

Chicken à la Force with Green Beans

This recipe was given to me by a friend, who got it from his dad - so I feel a measure of pressure to "get it right". I know it's not exactly as stated in the description I got, but it turned out really well, so I'm going to share it anyway.

The ingredients list is short and the prep and cooking is minimal. It's a good example of simple cooking yielding elevated results. 

Oh, and I assume it's called Chicken à la Force because as any Jedi in the kitchen knows, sometimes you just use the Force when making dinner.

Don't worry, it's easy.

Chicken à la Force with Green Beans

2 large chicken breasts, skinless/boneless
(Brined in 2 tablespoons salt and 2 tablespoons sugar with enough water to cover)

1/2 cup flour  
1/2 cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs 
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 cup butter, divided
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup dry white wine (you can use beer in an emergency), divided

1 pound fresh green beans
a pat of butter (1/2 tablespoon)
1 small shallot, diced small
2 cloves of garlic, minced

==

I began by prepping my chicken for the brine. As I've said numerous times in the past, I've taken to brining almost every meat that passes through my kitchen lately.

It's completely worth the extra step to me. It always yields moist and well seasoned meat.

So, trim your chicken of any nasty/weirdness. 



Cut each breast in half lengthwise, as evenly as you can.

We're going for good-sized cutlets here. You don't have to pound them if they're cut evenly.


Toss the chicken into a bag with the salt and sugar. 

Cover with water and refrigerate for 4-8 hours. 


==

When you're about an hour out of dinner, go ahead and start your green beans. 

I prepped them earlier by snapping the ends and cutting them to a manageable eating size. 

Get a steaming rig set-up, whatever you use, and get them cooking. I went 10 minutes and they were perfect. 

You want just shy of fully done because we're going to cook them a bit more in a second.

No need to shock them or anything.


Get a pan over medium heat and add a pat of butter and the shallot.

Sauté until softened, 3-4 minutes.


Add the garlic and 1/4 cup of white wine.

Let this come to a boil and reduce slightly. 



Toss in the green beans and toss to coat. 


Season with some salt and pepper and cook over low heat until they are perfectly done.

Hold until service.


==

Get your chicken from the brine.

Pat them dry with paper towels and prepare your flour/breadcrumb dredge.


Combine the flour and breadcrumbs on a plate.


Whisk or hand mix to combine.


Push the chicken cutlets into the mix, well. Ensure that they are covered liberally. 


Flip, and press into the meat. 

Place on a plate and prep the rest of the cutlets.


Ok, so this recipe uses 4 cutlets and I couldn't fit all 4 into the same pan, so I did this in shifts. The first batch, I simply pan fried in the butter/oil mix and set aside. Then I cleaned the pan and started again. This is why the butter and oil are divided. 

Each batch uses 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter.

When the fat comes up to temp, toss in the cutlets.


Season the first side with half the garlic and a dusting of majoram and sage.

You shouldn't have to add any salt (AT ALL) if you brined them first. If not, season now.


After 3-4 minutes, you should have a nice browned side.

Go ahead and flip them over.


Season the second side and add the remaining garlic. 


After about 3 more minutes you should start feeling the chicken. You could also use a thermometer. Or the Force.

We're aiming at "almost" done.

Add 1/3 cup of the wine straight over everything.


The heat and flour will cause a nice, thick sauce to develop.

You can flip the chicken over to coat if you feel like it. I scratched off the coating with my tongs.

By now the chicken should be done. (Again, feel, temp or Force)


Remove the chicken from the pan and judge if you want/need more sauce. 

I generally like a lot of sauce with things, so I added another 1/3 cup of wine and 2 more tablespoons of butter to the pan.


Whisk this together over high heat to make a bit more of the sauce.


Serve the chicken with the green beans and smother the cutlet with the sauce. I also made some nice garlic bread to eat with it.

I thought this meal was great. The chicken couldn't be more simple, though with a bit of the Force, we managed to elevate the humble scaloppine to give birth to a delightful white wine sauce. 

The tanginess of the sauce and the brined chicken worked perfectly together. The chicken was juicy and tender and almost melted in the mouth. The green beans held up well, echoing the wine and garlic in the sauce.

Overall, this turned out really great and I'm happy that I got to try a family meal from a friend - for my family. 

Oh, and my daughter destroyed the "non-wine" chicken. So, wins all around.


Enjoy!

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