Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vive la France! Bastille Day 2011

How's this for a French plate? Supreme de volaille braisé au sauce gastrique de mûres avec duxelles de champignons, servi avec pain de seigle aux graines de tournesol. Oui, that should put the Léon in your Napoléon! It was, after all, less work than making puff pastry or croissants.

Here's how it went together:

2 chicken breasts, skin on
salt, pepper TT
a bit of oil for frying
filtered juice from about 1/2 cup of fresh blackberries.
red wine vinegar
dry white vermouth
chicken stock

Sauté the chicken breasts, skin down, in the oil. When brown, transfer to baking dish with about 3/4" of vermouth, salt, pepper and chicken stock poured in. Place in oven preheated to 425°F, cook about 25 minutes.

To prepare the gastrique, deglaze the frying pan with some chicken stock and vermouth. Add some red wine vinegar and a bit of sugar (not too much!). Reduce this to about half, then add the blackberry juice. Stir to keep from sticking and reduce. At the last minute, add a bit of butter. This will reduce the astringency of the sauce - if you want to keep the astringency, leave out the butter. I wanted to soften the sauce because it was going on chicken, not duck. I would have left it more sour for duck, but duck is about $14 per pound in the supermarket whereas chicken is about $1.50. Chicken won.

The duxelles is just chopped mushrooms, chicken stock, salt, pepper, a bit of white wine and some chopped garlic reduced down to where there's almost no liquid left.

To plate, spoon some of the duxelles into the center of the plate and arrange the chicken breast over it. Spoon on the gastrique and serve. If you want to be fancier, you can slice the chicken breast and fan it over the duxelles. Or even fancier, make a potato purée with some butter and chicken stock, then arrange the sliced chicken and duxelles over it.

This sauce tastes really expensive, by the way. It should, because I took the idea from a fancy French restaurant, although my sauce was quite different than theirs.

Last note: my camera went off to Canon for repairs after the mirror detached from its carriage. Apparently it might be a month (hopefully not more) before I'm reunited with the camera, after a leisurely repair process. At least it should come back cleaned, re-mirrored and hopefully good for another 100,000 shutter activations. So, if the photo doesn't look as good as previous images that's because it isn't.

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