The book, Chicken and Other Poultry, published by the California Culinary Academy in 1986 was a mainstay in my college apartment kitchen in 1992. So much so, that when I took a guy named John P. to the “Screw Your Roommate Dance” at Swarthmore that year, I made this dish for our special candlelight dinner beforehand. The book describes the dish as “elegant enough for guests, looks impressive, but it actually couldn’t be easier to put together.” It was perfect for a food-obsessed, but novice college chef like me. And if I could pull it off at age 20, and remember what it tasted like lo these 21 years later, this dish is worth adding to your repertoire, right?
I’ve adapted the recipe a bit here to account for all of the changes we’ve seen over the last 20 years. For example, when the book was published in 1986, boneless, skinless chicken breasts were not available at the grocery store, so they go to the trouble of telling you to split, bone and skin the breasts. I’ve boosted the flavorings a bit, by increasing the onions and mushrooms, but the the essence of the recipe is the same: a vermouth reduction serves as the foundation for a classic mushroom cream sauce.
Elegant enough for guests, easy enough for novice home chefs.
Author: Adapted from California Culinary Academy's book, Chicken and Other Poultry by Julie Renaud and Jane Horn
Recipe type: Entree
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
¾ cup dry vermouth
½ pint sliced mushrooms
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp grated orange rind
Wedges from leftover orange for garnish
4 Tbsp flat, Italian parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 200˚F.
In a medium sautée pan over medium flame, heat oil with garlic, being careful not to scorch the garlic. Sauté breast halves in the oil until browned on both sides (about 7 minutes per side for thick breasts)
Remove breasts to an ovenproof serving dish, keeping as much of the oil in the sautée pan as possible. Keep breasts warm in the oven while you prepare the cream sauce.
If necessary, add another dab of olive oil and heat through. Then add the shallot and sautée until softened and turning golden brown. Add the vermouth and deglaze the pan, scraping brown pits from the side of the pan. simmer until reduced by about half. Add mushrooms and quickly heat through. Pour in cream and increase the flame to high. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken. Reduce the heat and season with salt and pepper.
To add the egg yolk, beat it in a small bowl and stir in a few tablespoons of the hot sauce. Pour this mixture into the pan and stir to combine completely and thicken. Keep the heat low so that the egg doesn't curdle.
Add the orange rind and simmer to heat through and release essential oils.
Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle parsley over the sauce, garnish with orange slices and serve. I like to serve it with jasmine rice, to have something to soak up all that yummy sauce.
I’ve been working on perfecting roasted root vegetables for awhile. Getting them to come out of the oven crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside is no small feat. Should you parboil first? How hot should the oven be? I’ve gone back and forth about the parboiling question. For years, I’ve been too lazy to bother and I thought that I was getting by just fine. That all changed the other day, when I followed the recipe in Jamie Oliver’s latest book, Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals. He got me to parboil again and I don’t think I will ever go back.
Click on the book to see more:
The other revelation? Heat the olive oil, along with the smashed garlic cloves and rosemary in the roasting pan first, on the stove top. Then toss the vegetables in the heated, flavored oil to coat (before roasting in a 400˚F oven). The vegetables roast evenly, and the flavor diffuses throughout.
See the nice browning on the potatoes? That comes as a result of scuffing up the potatoes while draining them in the colander. Scuffing the potatoes increases the surface area exposed to the warm air, shortening the time for moisture to evaporate the starches (sugars) to caramelize and turn brown.
And of course, don’t break the cardinal rule: make sure the vegetables are not overcrowded. Overcrowding in the roasting pan leads to “steaming” which produces limp, soggy vegetables that can’t brown. Make sure there is only one layer of vegetables and adequate space between them.
Hearty roasted root vegetables perfect for Thanksgiving and throughout the autumn and winter months.
Recipe type: Side dish
2 medium Idaho potatoes
1 bulb of garlic
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 400°F
Peel the vegetables and halve any larger ones lengthways. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled, and bash them slightly with the palm of your hand. Strip off the rosemary leaves from the stalks.
Put the potatoes and carrots into a large pan – you may need to use two – of salted, boiling water on a high heat and bring back to the boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then add the parsnips and cook for another 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and allow to steam dry. Take out the carrots and parsnips and put to one side. Fluff up the potatoes in the colander by shaking it around a little – it’s important to ‘chuff them up’ like this if you want them to have all those lovely crispy bits when they’re cooked
Put a large roasting pan over medium heat and either add 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the garlic and rosemary leaves. Put the vegetables into the tray with a good pinch of salt and pepper and stir them around to coat. Spread them out evenly into one layer – this is important, as you want them to roast, not steam as they will if you have them all on top of each other.
Put the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes.
For my birthday in January, my husband gave me a copy of Jamie Oliver’s new book Jamie’s Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals. At the time, I didn’t realize that it was going to be part of a whole movement he is trying to ignite here in America. A few months ago, when I first looked at it, I thought, ‘These are easy recipes with real food you’d want to eat,” and I put it on the part of my kitchen counter reserved for cookbooks that I actually use. Now that I’ve seen the television show he has created, I’ve been inspired to use it even more. I’ll be blogging the results over the next couple of weeks.
You can pick up a copy of the book at Amazon, by clicking here:
Jamie Oliver hopes to change the way American children eat by helping school systems revamp their lunch programs and families revamp what’s for dinner. It’s a daunting task, but he’s been successful in his native Britain already. I was drawn to this chicken dish, because I love leek and mushroom cream sauces. I also happened to have all of the ingredients on hand. Jamie makes the process easy by keeping the recipe to one pan and the cooking time to about 20 minutes.
¼ cup long grain or basmati rice (I used brown basmati rice)
1 large leek
a big handful of crimini or oyster mushrooms (I used pre-sliced white mushrooms)
2 chicken breasts (I used the equivalent amount of chicken tenders from the butcher)
a pat of butter
a glass of white wine
freshly ground black pepper
a bunch of fresh parsley
1¾ cups heavy cream
Pour boiling water from the kettle into a 2 quart saucepan, place on a high heat and add a pinch of sea salt. Add your rice, bring back to a boil, then turn the heat down slightly. Cook for the length of time given in the instructions on the package.
Cut both ends off the leek, quarter lengthways, slice across thinly, then wash well under running water. Slice the mushrooms. Slice the chicken breasts into little, finger-size pieces.
Put a large frying pan on a high heat and add a good lug of olive oil and a pat of butter. Add the leek to the pan with the white wine, a small glass of water, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Let it bubble away for 5 minutes, covered loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Meanwhile, finely chop the parsley, stalks and al. Remove the foil and add the chicken strips, most of the parsley, the cream, and the mushrooms. Stir, bring back to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain your rice. Just before serving, cut your lemon in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the stroganoff. Season to taste.
Spoon some rice onto each plate and top with the stroganoff. Scatter with the rest of the chopped parsley. Serve with the other lemon half, cut into wedges.