Remembering that raspberries and blueberries are so full of good things for us, I will buy a carton of raspberries at the grocery later today. We will use some on our cereal tomorrow morning, and some tonight in a sauce for chicken breasts. I will also need to pick up some mushrooms.
The recipe I will be using is a variation of a tried and true quick sauce recipe which is so adaptable to the type of meat, availability of ingredients and nearly foolproof.
It relies on the simple technique of sauteing a cut of meat (one suitable for a quick saute, not a 3″ hunk of beef or a giant pork chop), then removing the meat to keep warm elsewhere (in a low oven or on a plate, covered with foil) and using a liquid or liquids to release the stuck-on browned bits in the bottom of the skillet. Any number of liquids can be used – wines, broths, lemon juice, vinegar – and any number of vegetables can be sauted in the fat in the skillet before the liquid is added. Then various enhancers can be added as the sauce reduces and the flavors meld.
Today we will use chicken breasts, boneless, skinless and pounded to an even thickness. I will saute them in approximately 1 tablespoon of olive oil with a teaspoon of butter added. After the chicken is brown on both sides (about 4-5 minutes per side) and removed to a plate, I’ll add about 1/4 cup of chopped onions, more oil if needed, and 1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms and a few minutes later, a small clove of garlic, minced. Just 30 seconds after adding the garlic and stirring it around, I’ll add about 1/2 cup of dry white wine. After scraping up whatever browned bits are still on the bottom of the skillet, I’ll add about 1/2 cup of raspberries and cook that for 10 minutes to break up the berries. Then I’ll add 1/4 c. heavy cream, the chicken, and whatever juices have accumulated on the plate. After the chicken has warmed up, it’s ready to serve.
NOTE: If the chicken breasts are really thick, they can continue to cook in a 350 degree oven after browning them on the stove while the sauce is being made. I usually pound them thin enough so that the initial browning takes care of cooking them sufficiently. Covering them keeps them plenty warm for the fifteen to twenty minutes it takes to make the sauce.
ANOTHER NOTE: No mushrooms? No worries, mate. Don’t use them. No white wine? Use chicken broth or dry sherry instead. No raspberries, use apple slices or pear slices. No bananas, though. Yuck.