Recently I read a blog post by a twitter friend, @scatteredmom, that referenced a nice chicken dish from Jamie Oliver. I thought it would give me an idea for dinner tonight and it did. But, not that recipe. I posted on Twitter today that I was going to make Chicken Chelsea though I could not remember how it got that name.
In 1989 my wife and I went on a cruise and met a couple from Vancouver who were quite a bit younger than us, but whom we enjoyed sharing meals and conversations. We decided to have them over for dinner at our house a month or so after returning from the cruise and I cooked some dishes, including Chicken Chelsea which were served by our two daughters Bridie and Chelsea acting the roles of waiter and sommelier. I'm sure I used the recipe again over the past 20 years, but today I took a hard look for it through my collection.
Tonight, I accompanied it with twice baked potatoes and caesar salad. I'll have to share the amazing caesar salad dressing recipe from a friend some other time. I promise, you will thoroughly enjoy it if you like garlic!
I should note that a few moments after sitting at the table, I noticed that I had forgotten to put on the sauce before snapping the photo. I was also aware that my wife was letting me know not to let it get cold as her taste buds were super active watching me plate the dinner.
Here is the recipe. I did reduce it as tonight it was serving for two.
3 whole chicken breasts
1 small onion, peeled
5 (at least - I use more like 10) peppercorns
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. water
1 c. dry white wine *
1/4 c. whipping cream, at room temperature
1 tbs, or so, cornstarch
* (I use my own homemade white wine... if I have it. If you need to purchase wine, try a Chablis)
1. Bone and skin breasts reserving the meat for the main dish.
2. Make a stock using the bones, skin, onions, peppercorns and salt.
3. Simmer for a couple of hours and then add the wine.
4. Simmer for another half hour, strain and reduce to two cups.
5. Remove from the heat and cool.
These steps can be accomplished early in the day, long before your company (or family) arrive.
6. Shortly before the rest of the meal (see below) is cooked, add the cream and return to a simmer for a few moments.
7. Mix the cornstarch with a little wine and use as a mixture to thicken the sauce.
8. Check for seasoning - I have to add this, since all recipes say this, even though I rarely add anything afterwards.
Reserved Chicken Breasts
6 slices ham, thin (I use Black Forest)
6 slices cheese (I usually chose Gruyere... I have also used Swiss or Mozzarella)
1 egg (beaten)
flour (enough for coating)
1/3 c. butter
1. Halve breasts
2. Separate each half into two portions (sometimes I don't do that... depends on the size of the breast piece... smaller breasts I will use the entire half, larger breasts I will cut)
3. Place each piece between two sheets of wax paper and pound flat ... I use a cast iron fry pan to pound them flat
4. Trim the ham and the cheese slices to size and place between two pieces of flattened chicken.
5. Brush the edges with egg and stick together. Don't worry too much if they don't seem stuck.
6. Flour lightly (I use a sifter) on both sides.
These few steps can also be done earlier in the day and the chicken portions left on a covered plate in the fridge. Take them out of the fridge a half hour to an hour before cooking to help them along the way to room temperature.
7. Saute in butter until golden on each side. I'd count on 7-10 minutes per side depending on the size of the breasts and the cooking heat of your skillet. I use the cast iron pan I previously used to flatten the pieces.
Serve the chicken with the sauce.