Chicken, 165, chicken, 165… it is at 165 Fahrenheit when your chicken is cooked/safe: no longer pink, but still moist and tender. I love when I finally commit key facts to my brain; it is empowering in the kitchen to know benchmark temperatures for all kinds of meat, seafood and poultry.
In our cooking fundamentals class, we learned to fabricate a chicken. Not news to some of you, but to many like myself, perhaps chopping up a bird is an intimidating notion. I have now fabricated 3 chickens (1 at school and 2 at home). It was a large looming thing in my mind: to learn how to slice up a chicken. No doubt I could have gone online and watched a video snippet on any number of food sites… but I didn’t. And who would say if I had done it correctly? I would have a pile of questions, wanting to know about that bone or this, where exactly to cut and where not to. I wouldn’t just want to cut up a chicken: I would want to do it well, confidently, and ‘right.’
Because I wouldn’t want to waste anything. I like the idea of using the whole bird—of making the most of each part. Something about that seems respectful, not necessarily [but then again...] to the chicken, but to our ancestors who used every morsel, and especially to those who are less fortunate. There are many in this world who would be grateful for a bird in their kitchen—food to offer their family. Who I am to waste? So I learned: how to use the bones to make stock, the legs and thighs to make chicken concasse, and the breasts to make our new family favorite—and the entree for my practical exam—Chicken Chardonnay.
We made Chicken Chardonnay for the first time in class two weeks ago, and I have made it at home four times since (without complaint!). Not just a test at school, this recipe scored me points at home: my non-mushroom eating son began eating—and liking—mushrooms.
Clarified Butter (doesn’t burn as quickly as regular butter)
1/4 cup shallots, minced (2 oz)
12 oz mushrooms, sliced (eh, anything from 1 1/2 – 2 cups works)
1/2 cup white wine (4 oz)
3/4 cup chicken stock (6 oz)
3/4 cup heavy cream (6 oz)
parsley, finely chopped (as needed)
SP (salt & pepper) TT (to taste)
flour (as needed)
Notable Equipment: meat thermometer, tongs
Heat saute pan to just above medium, add clarified butter; when it shimmers, add chicken with tongs. To prepare chicken: pat dry, season with salt and pepper, dredge with flour (make sure to flour the entire breast; it seals in the moisture once it is browned); shake off excess flour (so it doesn’t cook unevenly). Saute chicken breast presentation side down until golden brown. Turn and saute second side. Remove breasts, place in baking pan and finish in 350 degree oven (thermometer should read 165F).
Meanwhile, in the same saute pan (adjust the fat, meaning add or remove butter as needed) add shallots, mushrooms and saute 3-5 minutes. Add (deglaze pan) wine and reduce by half; add stock and reduce by half; add heavy cream and reduce by half (to thicken). Season with salt & pepper to taste; garnish with parsley. Choose your consistency; if it gets to thick, continue to add broth and/or cream. Do not add wine at end as the alcohol flavor won’t have time to burn off/integrate.
*green text represents input from chef instructors or text from culinary school. You know I love condensed recipes, food that one can make quickly and without excess hassle. SO feel free to skip the green text as it is not essential to achieving a successful recipe OR read it for some added culinary interest, if desired.