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Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’

You should know that I am an unabashed homer. Give me the Jerry Remys, the Andy Brickleys of the world — I am not looking for fair and balanced reporting. I want reporting with passion, and I want folks on my side. (My former journalism professors are no doubt developing an odd twitch somewhere off in academia right now).

With that preface, I must confess a somewhat irrational love for the eateries in my office building and the vendors at the farmer’s market on the square. There are notable exceptions, of course, and my equally irrational disdain is felt with similar passion. For what is food without passion (says the good little Italian)?

Please understand that this means I will make brazen claims that Narragansett Creamery makes the best mozzarella you can buy stateside (they do), that tasting Burdick’s hot chocolate will change your definition of cocoa (it will), and that Iggy’s sliced Francese makes the world go round (it does…or at the very least makes my midsection round).

These small businesses sustain me — both literally and figuratively — throughout the workday and beyond. Who’s to say what is more warming: the hot cup of coffee in my hand from Croissant du Jour, or the familiar wave and smile of the gal who, with a nod, has already filled my cup with my usual order before I get to the register?

All of which is to say that I have a massive crush on Bacco’s Wine & Cheese. At the risk of sounding like a complete wino, let’s just say that I was singlehandedly able to wrap all of my wedding centerpieces in recycled Bacco’s bags to ensure safe transport to and from the venue. So I may or may not frequent this particular shop regularly. They may or may not know me on a first name basis. Sigh.

Aside from the well-curated, rotating selection of wines, Bacco’s boasts an above-average selection of domestic and imported cheeses, with a modest accompaniment of charcuterie, condiments, and chocolates. (Not to mention the rather addictive and hard-to-find blood orange San Pellegrino.) If that weren’t enough, they carry daily special entrees from Pigalle, and a “bento box” lunch of two daily cheese selections, salami, bread and condiments. And the bread is, yes, from Iggy’s.

The best part about Bacco’s is hands down the staff, however. As an explorer in the world of food (read: painfully indecisive, but adventurous), there’s nothing I enjoy more than recommendations. I carry a notebook with me wherever I go to jot down foods I’d like to try, wines I’ve enjoyed, and favorite cheeses (see the To Eat section of this blog, for example). In addition to daily — yes, daily! — wine and cheese tastings, the staff at Bacco’s never fail to offer suggestions, and are happy to share their food knowledge with you.

Which brings me to today’s recipe. I had the idea kicking around in my head that I’d like to try making a riff on a saltimbocca using Spanish ingredients. The idea started with the rather mundane thought to make saltimbocca using Serrano ham in place of the prosciutto. Then an amontillado in place of the madeira, perhaps? But what of the Fontina? Enter the advice of Em, Bacco’s resident “cheese wiz,” who pointed me towards their Drunken Goat cheese. No amontillado on hand, so with the help of the wine guy, we settled on a Pedro Ximenez dessert sherry, with the understanding that I would cut it with chicken stock. (As an aside — oh, wine guy with the dark hair and proclivity to wear sunglasses on top of your head — I’m sorry! Why don’t I know your name? You know mine! You were the first employee I met there! Bad customer…)

Drunken Goat, unsurprisingly, is a goat’s milk cheese that has been soaked in wine. Unlike the wine-imbued Umbriaco del Piave we served at my sister’s elopement, the wine doesn’t seep into the cheese itself, but instead colors the rind and adds a lovely depth of taste that is quite unlike wine itself. In other words, this isn’t a supermarket port wine cheese spread… More importantly, it was FANTASTIC with the saltimbocca. It kept its own unique, mild but tangy flavor while standing up to the other strong tastes quite handily.

I also enjoyed how the Serrano ham contributed a meatier, less salty flavor than the usual prosciutto. And the sherry? I had my doubts about the sweetness, but it ended up being brilliant. I didn’t have any fresh sage on hand, so, with a guilty conscience, I grabbed my dried sage and added that to the pan sauce instead. In the end, the savory sage helped further counter the sweetness of the sherry, and made for a beautiful and tasty sauce.

Spanish-inspired Chicken Saltimbocca
original recipe by The Hungry Crafter

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 lb. drunken goat cheese, sliced
  • 6 slices Serrano ham
  • 1/2 c. Pedro Ximenez sherry
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • butter
  • dried sage

Pound chicken breasts to 1/4″ thickness; season lightly with salt and pepper. Layer 3 slices of Serrano ham on each breast.

In large frying pan, heat 2 T. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts, ham side up, and cook until bottom is golden brown, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.
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Flip again, so that the ham is facing up again, and layer slices of cheese on top. Cover the pan with a lid to trap the steam and melt the cheese; remove chicken to serving dish as soon as cheese has melted sufficiently and chicken has cooked through (just a few minutes).

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Deglaze the pan with sherry, then add chicken broth and a few pats of butter. Measurements for the pan sauce are all approximate — taste, taste, taste! Add sage to taste (I used about 1 t.), adding more sherry or broth to increase or decrease the sweetness to your preference. Let sauce reduce by half, and spoon generously over the chicken.

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Quick, easy, but by no means mundane — dinner for two is served!

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Chicken Galliano

Chicken Galliano

I must start with an apology. No, not for dropping off the face of the planet for the month of April — I reserve the right to do that occasionally as the wedding-planning gods see fit. However, I apparently did not take step-by-step photos of the preparation of this meal. So, you’re just going to have to take my word that this dish required painstaking preparation, carefully honed culinary skills, blood, sweat, tears, and a promise of my first-born.

OK, not really. It’s actually a relatively unfussy dish. The most difficult part was obtaining the Galliano. It’s not the type of ingredient they carry at my usual  townie liquor store attached to a Tedeschi’s. Nor is it the type of thing that you can find in nip-size bottles, so be prepared to spend a good $30+ on a specialty ingredient.

A bit of a forewarning for those of you who, like myself, have not experienced Galliano prior to this recipe: the stuff is odd. Galliano is an Italian liqueur that is made from a blend of no less than 30 herbs and spices, and is best known as one of the key ingredients in the classic mid-century cocktail, The Harvey Wallbanger. It’s BRIGHT yellow and comes in a nifty bottle (these things are important, you know).

According to Wikipedia, “Galliano is marketed as an ‘ideal marrying ingredient’, which adds no intrusive flavor, but serves to deepen and give character to other ingredients, both ordinary and exotic. ” I personally could not disagree more. It added an unusual, quite distinctive taste to the recipe — strong anise flavor, and floral vanilla overtones. You may like it, you may not. Caveat emptor.

Fortunately for me, Mr. Manly liked it. Phew. Remember the “Mikey likes it” Life cereal commercials from the 70s/80s? Yeah, Mr. Manly is kinda like that.

I did, however, make one concession to Mr. M’s palate. My big discovery this year is that oftentimes his dislikes have less to do with flavor as they do texture. Seriously, this was a huge discovery for me, because texture is much easier to manipulate than flavor, which can often only be changed by way of outright omission. My kingdom to be able to cook something with peas in it! So, to avoid the dreaded rubbery wormlike texture of (gasp!) mushrooms, I minced them. Crisis averted. Have I mentioned how much I love mushrooms? This is groundbreaking, indeed.

Finally, can I point out the similarity to Chicken Saltimbocca? Chicken, prosciutto, cheese, pan sauce with alcohol… I love the way minor variations on a theme can create a totally new dish while using familiar methods of preparation.  Needless to say, the difference in cheeses and sauce and the addition of mushrooms drastically changes the taste of the dish. Chicken Galliano has a very complex flavor due to the Galliano, an earthy depth brought on by the mushrooms, and an extra richness due to the creamy goat cheese. It tastes like nothing I’ve eaten before. So why don’t you try it and let me know what you think? I’ll be at the bar drinking a Harvey Wallbanger…

Chicken Galliano
from Saveur Magazine, issue 131

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded 1⁄8″ thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 tbsp. herbed goat cheese, softened
  • 6 thin slices prosciutto
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled
  • 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced (or minced)
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
  • 1⁄4 cup Galliano liqueur
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 4 cups cooked rice, for serving

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Working with one breast half at a time, spread one side with 2 tbsp. goat cheese and top with one slice prosciutto; roll into a tight cylinder. Using kitchen twine, tie chicken roll 1″ in from each end. Snip off excess twine.

Heat 3 tbsp. butter in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, without stirring, until browned, 4–5 minutes. Stir mushrooms and continue cooking until softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; wipe out skillet. Put flour on a plate; dredge each chicken roll in flour. Heat 2 tbsp. butter and the oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning, until browned and cooked through, 12–14 minutes. Transfer chicken rolls to a plate. Add broth and Galliano to skillet; boil, stirring, until sauce has reduced by a third, 4–5 minutes. Return mushrooms and chicken to skillet; cook, turning to coat in sauce, until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter. Remove skillet from heat; swirl in remaining butter to make a smooth sauce. Spoon sauce over chicken; sprinkle with parsley. Serve with rice.

SERVES 4 – 6

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