Monday, September 28, 2009

Julia pulled through!

Whew. It's been a while since I've posted. Eek. Life got a little crazy and my lack of posting has mostly been due to a lack of any type of creative cooking. Last week was the culmination of the craziness and I hosted a dinner party for a mini family reunion. Now. Seeing as though the guests were either family or close to it, I shouldn't have been nervous. But these are also people I don't cook for much (or ever), so this was my moment to show what I've got! I decided to go with someone who, rumor has it, I can trust. Julia. I pulled out my new 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' and perused it for a recipe that sounded decadent taste wise but straight forward preparation wise. Success! I selected Supremes de Volaille a Blanc to start, and wound up making the variation Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons. In English, I made chicken breasts with mushroom and cream. Oh la la! It was delightful! The only problem I had was that it took a lot longer to cook the chicken breast than it said in the recipe...I foresaw this problem though, as the chicken breasts available are gigantic compared to the size they used to be, and the ones I had purchased seemed especially large. And I made a recipe and a half. But besides the added cooking time, the recipe was straightforward and so rewarding. I served the chicken with garlic mashed potatoes (prepared with the leftover cream from the chicken) and asparagus that I parboiled and then sauted with garlic and lemon. It all came together quite nicely!

As a side note, most of the ingredients used in the dish were purchased from Frank's at Pike Place Market. Fresh, local, high quality ingredients at a great that's hard to beat! You can't make great food without good ingredients.

The recipe for the chicken is as follows (and don't forget, it's from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. I highly recommend you buy the book if you don't own it!)

Surpemes de Volaiile aux Champignons: Serves 4

4 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp lemon juice
5 T butter
1 T minced shallot
1/4 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1/8 tsp salt

For the sauce:
1/4 cup brown stock or beef bouillon
1/4 cup port, Madeira or dry white vermouth
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and Pepper
2 Tb fresh lightly minced parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub the chicken breasts with drops of lemon juice and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Over moderate heat, melt the butter in a
casserole (about 10 inches in diameter, both stove top and oven proof) until foaming. Stir in the minced shallots and saute a moment without browning. Stir in the mushrooms and saute lightly for a minute or two without browning. Sprinkle with salt. Roll the chicken breasts in the butter mixture and cover the casserole. Place in hot oven and cook until chicken breasts are springy to the touch and cooked through. Remove from casserole and cover while making the sauce.

To make the sauce: Pour the stock or bouillon and wine into the casserole with the cooking butter and mushrooms. Boil down quickly over high heat until liquid is syrupy. Stir in the cream and boil down again over high heat until cream has thickened slightly. Off heat, taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper and lemon juice as needed. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

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