Because of unfortunate circumstance, Thursday Night Dinner was postponed this week until Saturday. However, I can say, without a doubt, it was TOTALLY worth the wait.
I picked up the fresh ingredients Thursday after work on my way home. I stopped by the G&G market in Petaluma another great local grocery store. They have an awesome deli, wine, cheese and butcher department. I get my lunches there quite frequently… Anyhow, stopped in Thursday afternoon and picked up all of the ingredients needed for dinner. I got fresh organic thyme, basil, some parsley, chicken breast (boneless with skin on), half-n-half, shallots, garlic, green beans, pancetta, and of course chevre.
After a long hard day of yard work, I kicked of my shoes, got into some comfy clothes, and popped open a bottle of Sebastiani Merlot (check the review) and some cheese. After relaxing for a bit, I embarked on another dinner creation excursion in the kitchen, 4:30 PM…
First things first. Get some of the measured stuff taken care of. 2 Cups of water in the pot for rice (secret add a cube of chicken bouillon, or you can sub chicken stock for 1 cup of water)… 1 cup of mixed grain wild rice. Fire up the oven 400, get 5 slices of pancetta on a baking sheet. Oven ready, pancetta in, timer to 8 minutes.
Turn on water for rice medium-high heat.
Butter and olive oil in large skillet, chop up small clove of garlic and put in pan. Chicken breasts, pat dry with paper towel, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper on both sides.
Water is steaming, put 1 cup of rice into water (wait for it to boil, then stir cover and reduce heat to simmer… see you in 50 minutes)
Skillet to high heat, olive oil starts to sizzle with butter and garlic, place chicken in skillet, breast skin side down:
Turn over breasts after about 3-5 minutes (golden brown color on skin) same on other side, once done place breasts on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
While the chicken is cooking your pancetta should have finished up, it will be crispy and delicious (do not eat it now! you will want to because it smells ridiculously awesome and it will go fantastically with the merlot you’ve been drinking… um, well yeah…)
Ok, prep the magic: Chop, parsley, basil and rosemary about 1 tspn of each and mix with about 4 oz of the chevre. Should look like a yummy cheese dip at this point, and probably would be, but restrain yourself:
Get your chicken and slice into the thick part, cut most of the way through the breast, stuff about 2 oz of the chevre mix into the slice, repeat for each breast. Place back on baking sheet, put into oven at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit. Continue baking until instant read thermometer reaches 160 degrees F.
Once you put the chicken in the oven you need to get on with making the sauce. “Sweat” one shallot and a small clove of garlic. (I had to look this up, so let me save you some time.) Sweating, in this case, refers to cooking at low temp, in butter, until translucent. So choppy chop your shallots and garlic, put them in a skillet with about 1-2 tablespoons of butter over low heat until they start to get limp and translucent. Once they’re there, you add the thyme (about 1 tspn chopped) then put in about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dry white wine (I used Sauv. Blanc Honig) reduce this mix by half, then add 1 cup of half-and-half, reduce this by half again, add salt and pepper to taste. I only added a dash of Kosher salt and a few twists of the pepper mill.
I paired this dinner with some fresh cut green beans. Just boil these bad boys with a dash of salt until they start to get tender (do not overcook!).
Chances are the chicken will be done by the time you are done futzing with the sauce and green beans. 5:45 PM
Okay, time to plate these bad boys and get them to the table while they’re hot!
I paired this meal with a Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay, 2005 Les Pierres. This wine is not the standard buttery oak bomb California Chardonnay, it comes across closer to a traditional Chablis. It has a crisp apple character, with a hint of oak, so the cream sauce pairs excellent with this Chard. The touch of oak gives a bit of caramel essence which groves perfectly with the creamy sauce. The green beans and wild rice fit outstandingly with the chicken and wine too.
I have to say, this may just be the best meal I have ever prepared!
My most discerning critic even raved about this dinner, check back next week for the next “Not Bad for a Thursday Night Dinner…”