Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Did you have a little leftover champagne after ringing in the New Year? Hopefully, you made mimosas for January's first brunch, but if you were at a loss, I have an option for your next partial bottle of bubbly.

I must admit that I have never had real champagne. You know, sparkling wine from that special little region of France that is Champagne. I have had sparkling wine (of undetermined other words, I didn't pay attention to where it came from other than a green bottle). At one time, I had a lot of sparkling wine and when the headache cleared, I decided that a glass now and then to celebrate, or a mimosa with a special (or not-so-special) breakfast or brunch is enough for me. But, Champagne Chicken is another story. I find myself dipping into the light, creamy sauce again and again. Smother the chicken? Yes, please. Spoon some sauce over the rice? Of course! Dip forkfuls of broccoli (or whatever veggie) into the gilded melange? For sure! Swirl a crusty chunky of bread around my plate and lick my fingers to get every last drop? Oh.My.Gawd.YES.YES.YES.

Needless to say, I like Champagne Chicken, and every time I have a few extra bubbles hanging around, I celebrate it On My Plate.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups champagne/sparkling wine...or, if you don't do alcohol, chicken stock and a little splash of white wine vinegar for the tartness might work (I haven't tried it)
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped very finely
1 cup heavy cream

Butterfly the chicken breasts to cut each breast into 2 thin(ner) slabs. (Yielding 4 portions.)

Using a meat mallet, flatten the breast portions.
Combine flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish; dredge the chicken in the mixture.
Meanwhile, in a large, heavy skillet melt butter and olive oil.
Add chicken and saute 2-3 minutes on each side; turning to brown both sides.
Add the champagne and finely chopped rosemary; simmer for 12-15 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm.
Whisk a little of the remaining dredging flour into the simmering liquid, maybe a tablespoon at most.
Add the cream; stir well to combine. 
Bring sauce to a simmer to combine flavors. 
At this point, you can return the chicken to the sauce and heat through, or just serve the chicken with sauce spooned over the top. (More champagne sauce is always better.) (4 servings)

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