Spring chicken.

9 Apr

I continue to be surprised at the cookbooks I have on my kitchen bookshelf. Case in point – San Francisco A La Carte from The Junior League of San Francisco (1979). It’s a hefty volume – and I now remember regretting I had purchased it on a trip to San Francisco – afraid that my luggage would be too heavy to check! Cookbooks by real cooks are my favorite – and Junior Leagues tend to publish the best local books – in my humble opinion (yesterday’s recipe was from the Savannah Junior League!).

I love finding recipes that are sophisticated yet can be prepared in advance so as a hostess I can enjoy a dinner party with everyone else. This recipe checks those boxes. In fact I recommend preparing this dish in advance because it does take some time. You will no doubt have to add more heating time in the oven. Lovely sunny sauce, savory and ultra creamy and fork tender chicken breasts!

Poulet Au Poive Vert

8 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons green peppercorns

4 whole chicken breasts, halved, skinned and boned

3 tablespoons cognac

1 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ cup dry white wine

¾ cup heavy cream

3 egg yolks

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make a paste of 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon green peppercorns. Flatten breasts gently with a rolling pin and make a slit on the thick side to form a small pocket. Brush breasts with 1 tablespoon of the cognac and place about 1 teaspoon of the paste in the pocket of each.

In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of the butter and slow brown the breasts on each side. When all are done, remove to a serving platter and keep warm. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the butter from the skillet and add remaining cognac to deglaze the pan. Stir and warm cognac, then ignite to burn off alcohol. Add pan glaze to chicken stock and set aside. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet, add shallots, and cook briefly. Sprinkle with flour, cooking and stirring, for about 3 minutes. Slow add chicken stock and wine, cook and stir until sauce is smooth and thickened. In a small bowl, beat together the heavy cream and egg yolks. Add a tablespoon or two of the warm sauce, then slowly pour it into the skillet. Add remaining 2 tablespoons peppercorns and correct seasonings. Pour sauce over warm chicken and reheat all in the oven for 10 minutes (check temp is at 160, I had to bake them longer!)

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