Friday, April 3, 2009

Rosie Makes Chicken Piccata - Her Way.

I came across a lone chicken bosom in my freezer yesterday so I took it out to thaw, wondering how I might raise the lowly chicken to dazzling heights.
First I gave it a good pounding.
And cut it into strips. I'm thinking of doing my version of chicken piccata since you know I can't possibly follow a recipe exactly.
My ingredients for the sauce: pink peppercorns capers lemon juice Chardonnay veal stock cubes beurre manie parsley Manie is pronounced MAHN-yay and should have that little accent ague on the "e" but I don't know how to do that. A beurre manie is basically an uncooked roux. Equal amounts of butter and flour are kneaded together and gradually added to a sauce to thicken it and add a bit of a sheen to it. Now, a normal recipe for chicken piccata would call for chicken stock to be added in the sauce. As my chicken consomme is frozen in quart-sized containers in the utility room freezer downstairs, and I'm lazy and remember I have veal stock cubes in the freezer upstairs, I'm using veal stock. Plus, the veal stock is velvety and smooth and has a depth of flavor that will give the chicken just a little something else - a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will.
I added the juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
and about 1/3 cup Chardonnay to my pan.
Then I poured in about 1/4 cup of my veal stock.
Here's the beurre manie, which generally I'd mix by hand, but didn't feel like getting flour and butter in my camera.
I took a small bit of the beurre manie and stirred it into my sauce to thicken. You can add more as needed to get the desired consistency.
Capers went in.
And pink peppercorns.
Then I added in the parsley and a bit of basil from the plant I have growing in the kitchen. Sauce is done. Cover, set aside, and keep warm. Next up, some veggies.
I chopped some onion and green pepper.
And sliced some broccoli and carrots. I like to peel my broccoli stems - makes for more tender broccoli.
I steamed the broccoli first until just barely tender. The reason I steamed the broccoli is that steaming cooks the broccoli evenly. Sometimes sauteeing the broccoli, you end up with overcooked florets and undercooked stems. Don't over cook, since the broccoli is going to be added to the sauteed veggies.
I added part butter and part olive oil to a hot pan. (I use Bertolli Extra Light which, being light, doesn't mask the flavor of my veggies.) The reason I use both butter and olive oil is I use butter for the butter flavor and the oil to obtain a higher smoke point.
Action shot!
After swirling the carrots around for a minute or two, I added in the onion and pepper.
Finally I tossed in the broccoli just to coat. Veggies done.
Next I made a quick batter - flour, freshly ground salt and pepper, paprika.
Mix thoroughly and dredge chicken pieces, shaking off excess.
Chicken pieces went, one at a time, in hot oil and butter. Maybe 60 seconds per side, if that much.
You don't want to overcook the chicken. Just a nice browning on the outside so the inside is still moist and not dried out.
And ta daaaa ... Here's dinner. Lightly battered chicken strips with a lemon/wine/caper sauce which certainly benefited by the boost of the veal stock and sauteed vegetables.