Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sautéed Chicken with Mushroom Risotto and Asparagus

2012-12-22 11.30.00-6

Next up, we’ve got a sautéed chicken airline breast (a boneless breast, skin on, with the drumette still attached), some mushroom risotto, sautéed asparagus, and pan reduction sauce. With so many different parts, this recipe is going to get fairly in depth. In fact, this dish was actually my entry into a cooking contest recently, and although I didn’t win, it came out pretty great.

My point is, it’s pretty labor intensive and you’ll use a lot of pots and pans to make it happen. Its individual components are not especially difficult on their own, it’s just the combination of them and timing it all out that can be tricky. In fact, I’m going to be laying this one out a little differently than normal. Instead of trying to fit all the parts together for you, I’m going to list the preparation methods for each component in their own separate sections. That way you can coordinate it however you see fit, since my order of operations may or may not have been ideal for most. Do feel free to leave your feedback regarding this layout – let me know what works and what doesn’t.

It might also help to have another cook in the kitchen to assist on this recipe – if no one is available, you may want to swap the risotto for mashed potatoes, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling. Included below will be tutorials for clarified butter and pan reduction sauce, both of which are necessary components of this dish. So if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, this is one dish that’s sure to impress.

Difficulty: Relatively Tough
Active Prep Time: About 1 hour
Total Prep Time: About 1 hour
Special Equipment: A bain marie or medium sized metal mixing bowl, fine mesh strainer (chinois)
Serves: 1 – 2

Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken airline breast
  • ¼ - ½ cup of clarified butter
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Risotto Ingredients:

  • ½ cup short grain rice (Arborio works best)
  • 1 Portobello mushroom (cleaned and cut into small cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 – 4 cups hot vegetable or chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 cup white wine

Pan Reduction Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken wings or other chicken scraps
  • 2 - 3 cups veal or beef stock
  • About ¼ – ½ cup white wine
  • ½ onion, rough chop
  • ½ large carrot, rough chop
  • 1 stalk celery, rough chop
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 - 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • About 10 stalks of asparagus
  • 1 pound unsalted butter (for clarifying)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How To Clarify Butter:

(Regardless of the order you choose for the prep of this dish, start with the clarified butter.)

1. Fill a small to medium sized pot with water and bring it to a simmer. Place a pound of unsalted butter in the mixing bowl and put it on top of the pot of simmering water. Allow the butter to melt completely.

2. After about 10 minutes, the surface of the melted butter should be covered by frothy milk solids. Use a ladle or large spoon to gently skim the solids off.

2012-12-25 09.22.34

3. Discard the solids. You should be left with the bright, golden, clarified result, which can be held warm in its bowl. You can store any leftover clarified butter in a plastic or metal container in the fridge. It’ll even last longer than whole butter. Now you’re ready to start this dish!

2012-10-13 14.04.12

Risotto Instructions:

1. Coat the bottom of a sauce pot with clarified butter, then add the finely diced onion and minced garlic to the pot. Sweat these for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the rice to the pot and cook it for another 5 minutes.

3. Add 1 cup of wine to the pot and simmer until it’s almost completely reduced.

4. At this point, you should begin to cook your mushroom. Be sure it’s been cleaned and cut into small cubes. Place a small amount of clarified butter in a pan, then add the mushroom and sauté over medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes. Drain them on a paper towel, then set aside.

5. Add enough stock to the pot to cover the rice. Let it reduce almost completely, then repeat the process 1 – 2 more times until the rice is cooked, but still a bit al dente (meaning each grain should be slightly hard in the middle still).

Chicken Sauté Instructions:

1. Heat about ¼ cup of clarified butter in a large pan over high heat.

2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the breast, skin side down, into the pan.

3. Use a large spoon to baste the breast with the butter already in the pan. You should be basting pretty frequently, and the side facing up will begin to cook. Continue this process for around 10 minutes, or until the skin side of the breast is a dark golden brown.

4. Turn the piece over and continue cooking for another 2 – 5 minutes, basting all the while.

5. You’ll know the chicken is done when the internal temperature reads 165ºF, but if you lack a thermometer, there are other ways to tell: the chicken’s juices will run clear (or amber), the flesh should be firm to the touch, and the meat will be pulling away from the bone on the drumette.

6. When the chicken is done, set it on a rack and cover with tin foil for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.

Asparagus Instructions:

1. Set a medium sized pot full of salty water to boil over high heat.

2. Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes (the stalks should be somewhat tender and very bright green at this point).

3. Remove the asparagus from the pot and immediately place into a bowl full of ice water to stop the cooking process. Set aside until needed.

4. When it gets close to serving time, put a small amount of clarified butter in a pan, warm it over medium heat, then add the asparagus to the pan.

5. Season with salt and pepper, stirring the asparagus in the pan until they’re hot again. At that point, they’ll be ready to serve.

Pan Reduction Sauce Instructions:

1. Start with a medium or large pan. Heat the pan over high heat, then add chicken wings or other scraps or protein. Sear them until dark brown on both sides, but try not to burn them.

2. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the pan. Cook (sweat) the aromatics for 3 – 5 minutes.

3. Pour white wine into the pan to deglaze it, and, with a spatula, scrape and bits of meat that have become stuck to the bottom of the pan. Allow this to cook until the wine has been almost completely reduced away.

4. Add enough stock to the pan to completely cover the rest of the ingredients. Add the thyme and peppercorns.

5. Continue cooking over medium-high heat, until the stock has reduced to about half of its original volume.

6. Strain the contents of the pan through a chinois and into another clean pan. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the sauce has reduced further.

7. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and, if necessary, a pinch of salt (though I’ve found that the lemon juice alone is quite effective at bringing out the sauce’s flavor).

8. By now, the sauce should be at the proper consistency – thick enough to coat the back of a spoon without just rolling right off, but not so thick that it has become gelatinous. If it’s been over-reduced, just add some water and swirl it in.

9. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter to the sauce, and gently swirl it in until the butter has melted completely. (You can also use heavy cream instead of butter if you’d like a lighter sauce)

Questions? Clarifications?

I know this recipe was written a lot differently than I normally do, I just could not figure out a way to write it the way I normally do and still have it make sense to you, my readers. That having been said, if you have any questions or need clarification about certain steps, feel free to email me or leave a comment here. Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment