Monday, October 19, 2009

Roasted Chicken with a Sage-Vermouth Sauce

Usually when I post meat dishes, I have no idea how they taste. I just go by smell and what they look like and others opinions on them when they eat them. Not this dish. This is the chicken that I had a small bite of to taste it at school. It was the first bite of chicken I have had in 8 years. It really was a good piece of chicken and I was so excited about it that I came home and made it for dinner that same night. It's not a hard dish to make either. I used to be really intimidated by sauces on meats because I had no idea how to make one that tasted good. After making this sauce, I know it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I'm excited to start learning more new sauces so I can try out some different ones.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with a Sage-Vermouth Sauce


4 chicken breasts (I used boneless skinless which cook much faster. The recipe calls for bone in with skin and then you cut the bone out yourself. If you don't want to bother with that, just get boneless skinless)
1 cup kosher salt (or 1/2 cup table salt)
Ground pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 large shallot, minced (I didn't have shallots at home and used half a small yellow onion)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry vermouth (not expensive at all and it cooks out by the time the sauce is finished)
4 fresh sage leaves, torn in half and smashed enough to bruise the leaves (this brings out more flavor)
4 fresh sage leaves, cut into a chiffonade (stack leaves one top of each other and roll them up tight. Start and one end and just cut chop them up. Once the leaves unroll it will make it like little sage confetti)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

Dissolve salt into 2 quarts cold tap water in a large container or bowl. Put the chicken in and let it brine and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Rinse chicken under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of chicken with pepper.

Put oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 450.

Heat oil in an oven safe skillet over medium-high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Swirl to coat pan with oil. Brown chicken skin side down until deep golden (about 5 minutes...keep an eye on it) turn chicken and brown until golden on second side (about 3 minutes). Turn chicken back over to skin side down and place skillet in oven. Roast until juices run clear when chicken is cut with paring knife (this will dry out the chicken so use a thermometer if you have one) or until thickest part of breast reads 145 on thermometer, about 15-18 minutes. (It will finish getting to temperature while it rests). Transfer chicken to a platter to rest. Cover with foil to keep it warm and continue cooking.

Put skillet back on the stove and add shallot. Cook over med-high heat stirring frequently until shallot is softened. Add chicken broth, vermouth and sage leaves. Increase heat to high and simmer rapidly, scraping bottom of skillet with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until slightly thickened and reduced down to about 3/4 cup. (About 5 minutes). Pour accumulated chicken juices from platter into skillet, reduce heat to medium and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper (you probably won't need any salt) and discard sage leaves. Spoon over chicken and top with the sage chiffonade.

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