Friday, August 13, 2010

Poulet au Porto

I swear to you, I've been cooking all week! This is roast chicken steeped with port wine, cream, and mushrooms. I ended up making this dish twice for me & hubby and a third time just for myself. Yum! The best part about this dish is you get to flambe the chicken, which is just too fun. I served it over lemon-parsley cous cous with a side of homemade pasta salad. I have to say, I took shortcuts with this recipe. For instance, I did not roast an entire chicken. I bought chicken breasts, and I cooked them in a skillet with the lid on to make a nice fond for the sauce. I'll give you instructions for how I did it, this will serve 2.

Poulet au Porto
  • 2 chicken breasts + 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • S+P to taste
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, quartered or sliced depending on size
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream (original recipe calls for a full cup for 4 people, but I think that's too much)
  • 1/4 tablespoon cornstarch, blended with the whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots (original called for 1/2 Tb for 4 people)
  • 2-3 tablespoons medium-dry port
  • additional tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons cognac, be careful not to use too much
  • S+P to taste
  • minced parsley to garnish
Preparation & Cooking Instructions:

Julia Child in MtAoFC cleverly lists the ingredients next to each step, that's why there can be repeats such as butter, salt, pepper, etc. Prep all of the veggies; mince your shallots, quarter the onions (if they're small you can thinly slice them), measure out the cream, butter, and liquor. I like to measure everything so it's ready to go, this dish comes together rapidly. In a stainless steel or cast iron skillet (you don't want to use non-stick here) turn the heat up to medium and toss in 1/2 a tablespoon butter. Once melted, be careful not to brown the butter, lay down the chicken and sear on each side until there is a nice amount of color. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover with your lid. Let cook until just done, you want to be extra careful not to overcook the chicken during this step. Remove the chicken from skillet and place on a plate with a foil tent to rest. 

Bring the water to boil in a saucepan with the butter, lemon, and salt. Toss in the mushrooms, cover, and boil slowly for 5-8 minutes, depending on how soft you like them. Pour out the cooking liquid and reserve. Leaving the mushrooms in the saucepan, pour the cream and cornstarch mixture into the mushrooms. Simmer for 2 minutes. Correct seasoning, and set aside.

Going back to the pan you cooked the chicken in, stir in the shallots and cook slowly for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add the port and mushroom juice and boil down rapidly, scraping up the coagulated roasting bits from the chicken, until reduced to a 1/4 cup or so. Add the mushrooms and cream to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, allowing the liquid to thicken slightly. Correct seasoning and add lemon juice to taste.

In yet another pan (oh Julia!) melt one tablespoon of butter and add the chicken back in. Once the chicken has begun to sizzle the pan is hot enough. Pour the cognac over the chicken, avert your face, and ignite the cognac with a long lighter (if you have a gas range you can turn up the heat, and tilt the pan just slightly until it ignites). Now, you must be careful for this step. I added way too much alcohol, not realizing, it and bad things happened, see below. Shake the pan back and forth until the flame is out. Pour the mushroom mixture over the chicken, cover and steep for 5 minutes without allowing the sauce to boil. I took the easy way out on that step; instead of covering and waiting five minutes, I just dumped the mushroom mixture over the chicken and let it summer, uncovered, until bubbly and fragrant. Garnish with minced parsley, and enjoy!

MEGA flames!! You don't want large flames, instead the cognac should ignite and turn a lovely blue and be nice and mellow.

It seems like quite a few steps, but I promise it isn't bad. Every time I made this it got easier and easier; eventually I stopped boiling the mushrooms separately and just adding them right in with the shallots, cream, and port and letting that reduce down all in one pan. You can even flambe the chicken right after cooking it, and then remove from pan and build your sauce all in that one pan. You have to make it work for you, keep it simple and straightforward, you know your way around your own kitchen better than anyone else!


Tien said...

This looks absolutely delicious!

Lyn said...

mmm yum this looks so delicious! You are such a culinary chef girl!!! You should make a business out of this =]

Pam said...

This looks delicious and is a must try! Love that butter thing too! I'm new here and so glad to find your blog with its great recipes!

Ashley J said...

I wish I could cook like you, all your stuff looks amazing! It makes me hungry!

Monica H said...

This looks delicious and I love that it serves two- perfect for us.

Mega flames for sure- I'm scared :-)