My husband Jason and I received I a picinic “basket” as a wedding gift from our friend, Jess. The vintage suitcase arrived, filled with beautiful, reclaimed flatware and serving ware, linens and wine glasses. Like Jess, it is fabulous-casual. You know, like those friends who roll out of bed, pull on whatever clothes lay about their feet, and end up looking like the cover of Vogue?
Now I needed a dish as fabulous as the picnic case. Something that we could serve with a bottle of sparkling rosé, sipped by ladies in gloves and men wearing hats and suspenders.
Et voilà, I succeeded! This herb-poached chicken is perfectly moist. The dry wine, peppercorns and bay ground a beautiful sauce. It’s made slightly sweet by the chicken, tarragon and butter. Cook it ahead and serve it cold with cucumbers dressed in Merlot vinegar, French potato salad and slices of sweet, clean, white peaches and nectarines.
Now I just need a hat.
*I was recently advised that I needed to get comfortable with shameless self-promotion in order to sell my upcoming book, Simple Summer: A Recipe for Cooking and Entertaining with Ease. Here’s one of the recipes. I hope you enjoy it. How was that for shameless?
Herb poached chicken
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 chicken breast halves
- 3 sprigs tarragon
- 3-4 sprigs parsley
- 4-5 chives
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tbs Champagne Mimosa* or other white wine vinegar
- 2 tbs cold butter, cut in pieces
*Sightly sweet and beautiful balanced, the mild acidity of Sapore’s Champagne Mimosa vinegar brightens this dish and many summer salads without overpowering the fresh ingredients.
- Warm oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 6-7 minutes. Reduce heat if needed, to cook onions without browning.
- Add garlic and cook two minutes, until fragrant.
- Place chicken breasts in pan in a single layer. Tuck herbs between chicken.
- Mix together wine and stock, and pour into pan.
- Cover pan and bring to a simmer. Cook chicken for 10-15 minutes until done, 165 degrees. Be careful not to let poaching liquid boil.
- Remove chicken to a platter and tent with foil.
- Add peppercorns, bay leaves and vinegar to pan and simmer until reduced by half. Strain sauce, discard solids and return liquid to pan.
- Add any juices that have collected under the chicken and cook until reduced to 1 cup.
- Remove sauce from heat and whisk in butter to thicken.
- Serve warm or chill and serve cold. Either way, don’t forget the sauce.