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quick Monday night saute

September 15, 2008

I didn’t feel like doing the grocery shopping after choir yesterday (and I had plans to eat with friends, so I didn’t want to be late), so I shopped today after work instead. Since I was running short on time to make dinner when I got home, I threw something together on a whim. These whim recipes usually turn out pretty good. Here’s what I did:

Brown thin-cut chicken breasts (sometimes labeled as milanese) over medium-high heat in a little olive oil after seasoning liberally with salt and pepper. Turn quickly or they’ll get overcooked; if some are thicker than others and don’t cook all the way through right now, don’t worry—they’re going back in the pan in a bit.

Remove the browned chicken from the pan. Toss in a handful of sliced mushrooms (I used about three), a handful of finely sliced scallions (about 1 scallion), and sauté until soft. Deglaze pan with the juice of one lime and about 1/2 cup of sake and turn heat to high to reduce a bit. When the sake and lime juice have reduced by about half, add about half a cup of chicken broth, maybe a bit more. Let the flavors come together by simmering for a minute or so more, then add the chicken back to the pan.

Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes, turning the chicken once. Remove the chicken again, turn the heat back to high and reduce down just a little more. Turn heat off, swirl in about a tablespoon and a half of good-quality butter (we’re working our way through a 2 pound block of butter from the farmer’s market, yum). At this point you can toss some cooked pasta in the sauce, or you can just pour it over the pasta and chicken. If you choose to toss the pasta in the sauce, reserve a bit to pour over the chicken to finish it off.

The flavor is reminiscent of miso soup, which is really interesting. I think this would probably work better with smaller pieces of chicken rather than with the cutlets, but the cutlets were what I had on hand. I’m definitely going to play with this some. ((A lot of people will cook this kind of recipe by first dredging the chicken in flour, which aids in browning and in thickening of the sauce. I’ve done that a lot in the past but I can never manage to get a sauce that doesn’t have a raw flour taste. That’s why I generally choose to use a wine of some kind and reduce it a bit to get a little thick; the butter also gives the sauce a little more tooth. It’s not a thick sauce, though, so if you like a thicker sauce, consider dredging in flour—or make a slurry of cornstarch and warm chicken broth and add it to the sauce while it’s simmering.))

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Categories: food
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