Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chez Panisse Chicken au Poivre

Chez Panisse. The very words conjure up visions of superb food. I've never had the pleasure of eating there - in fact I haven't been within 300 hundred miles - but all the same, when I came across the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook on the shelves of my local library, I was tranfixed by the possibility of culinary adventures in my own kitchen.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- You can find the recipe, with some of my notes, at the end of this post. It's not particularly difficult to prepare, but has several steps. You can finished the sauce up to a day ahead of time.

-The ingredients include chicken breasts (skin on) and also chicken thighs, which are used to make the sauce for the breasts.

- The chicken breasts I bought were on the bone. I de-boned them using this link which describes how it's done.

- According to the instructions, we are to cut the chicken legs in 4 pieces each. I had to wonder, for a basic home cook with ordinary kitchen equipment how is this practicable??? (And why? They're just going to get browned, then simmer in stock.) I wasn't going to cut crosswise through bones, so I got out my most cleaver-like knife and cut through each leg at the joint then cut each piece in half lengthwise, along the bone.

- The herbs were from my garden.

the verdict:

This chicken dish had the most wonderful layers of flavors. The subtle richness of the sauce complemented the spiciness of the cracked black peppercorns perfectly. This recipe is a definite keeper.

the recipe:

Chez Panisse Grilled Chicken Breasts au Poivre

serves 6

6 large boneless chicken breast halves skin on

2 chicken legs

extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup white wine

2 quarts basic chicken stock (I used 1 quart homemade and 1 quart purchase

2 sprigs parsley

2 thyme branches

2 garlic cloves

3 T peppercorns


Optional: red wine vinegar

Directions for the sauce (can be prepared several hours ahead, or even the day before):

1. remove the fillets from the chicken breasts. With a cleaver, chop each leg into 4 pieces.

2. in a large, deep saucepan, brown the chicken leg pieces and the fillets in a little olive oil. When they are well-browned, deglaze with the white wine and cover with the chicken stock.

3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and add the parsley, thyme, garlic, and 1 tsp of peppercorns. Simmer hour, then strain, reserving the cooked meat for another purpose, if desired.

4. Skim off the fat, then reduce the broth until rich and slightly thickened; only about 1 1/2 cups should remain. (I actually measured)

Directions for the chicken:

1. Prepare a moderately hot grill (I used a grill pan on the stovetop)

2. Carefully pound the chicken breasts to flatten slightly

3. Crack the remaining peppercorns in mortar and pestle or using the bottom of a heavy pan (I used spice grinder)

4. Coat the breasts lightly with olive oil and season with salt and the cracked peppercorns.

5. Grill the chicken breasts skin side down, rotating for even cooking. When 2/3 cooked, turn the breasts to finish cooking, about 8 minutes in all. Let the breasts stand for a few minutes.

6. Warm the sauce, check seasonings, and add a few drops of red wine vinegar, if desired.

7. Serve the breasts whole or slice each diagonally into 4 slices.


Steph said...

It looks so good! I love cracked pepper.

Kayte said...

We'll make you into a Whisk Chick yet. All those layer of flavors...once you get hooked, you won't look back...really, I can't believe you are not there now. Soon. You will be subbing this and that and the other and find out even more ways to get layers of flavor if I know you. This looks absolutely fantastic!

TeaLady said...

That looks incredibly good. So many cookbooks, so little time. Glad you like this one. It LOOKS very fancy!!

Laura said...

Nancy, I had the fortune not only to eat there, but to do a pastry internship two years ago, for 4 months, I brought home tons of experience and lots of recipes. The restaurant is legendary, the service impeccable, the attention to details remarkable. The food is simple, but because they use the most amazing and freshest ingredients, it is outstanding. Even the stuff lunches were delicious. If you still have the cookbook, check out the pizza recipe, I had tried to find a great recipe for years before trying that one, and none compared to the one in the cookbook.

I will have to try this dish, thanks for pointing it out.

Laura said...

Oops, I meant the staff lunches. LOL!

Megan said...

I tried leaving a comment but was kicked out so if you get two from me you'll know why!

We've had steak au poivre but never chicken, so this is going on the must try list!

Unknown said...

Oooh yum, I love finding new ways to use chicken breasts and this one looks great! Oh, and I didn't know Chez Panisse was an Alice Waters restaurant....I am so out of the loop - thanks for helping me match another name to a restaurant!

Amanda said...

Oh Nancy, that looks so good! I love cracked pepper on chicken and on steak, so awesome.

margot said...

That looks fantastic! I have never seen chick au Poivre, just steak. I am fortunate enough to be in the vicinity of Chez Panisse and definitely recommend eating there if you ever get a chance. I also recommend the Chez Panisse Vegetable cookbook, if you don't already have it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a great dish. I live in the same state as Chez Panisse and have never been!

Mary Ann said...

This chicken looks really spectacular. I need a recipe like this. The spices, herbs and sauce all look fantastic.

NKP said...

Mmm, looks wonderful! I haven't tried any Chez Panisse recipes yet. Looking forward to them!

Jamie said...

This recipe looks fabulous and so do your photos! YUMMY!

Leslie said...

I have to make this! It looks so good, and I bet the leftovers would be delicious. I've been to CP and can confirm its reputation is well-deserved. I'm so glad you posted this dish...I need to get this book from the library!