Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Nom Report - Episode 5, Beurre Blanc

So Regina decided it was back to chicken and time we tested a beurre blanc.  We had planned on using Alton Brown's recipe, but after a little more scouring of the web, Regina changed her mind.  If we were going to make this sauce, we might as well go to the woman who brought the recipe to the masses.  We're really not trying to replicate Julie & Julia here, but for some things, you just have to go back to Julia Child.

Regina did a basic panko-breaded chicken, and when she mentioned it to the Kami, she responded, "Now, what is panko?"  Cue Regina's gasp that Kami had not been introduced to the glory that is panko breadcrumbs.  For anyone in the same boat, please aquaint yourself with these breadcrumbs asap.

Although we cooked the chicken on the stove, and put it in the oven to keep warm, the sauce took so long, we could have just baked it in the oven.  We wanted to serve it over rice, and as usual, we forgot the rice.  But the tedious sauce process worked in our favor, as we were able to throw the rice cooker in the microwave and stall the sauce for a bit.  Recipe and notes to follow:

The Chicken (Insert Obligatory Clucking Noise)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts/fillets
Flour for dredging
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Olive oil
Seasoning of your choice (We have a couple containers of seasoning we've mixed ourselves that we threw in.  We think all told, they include garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, thyme, rosemary, basil, and pepper)

Flatten your chicken.  Regina does this by placing a fillet into a ziploc bag, and sealing it, then we pound it with the SIDE of our meat mallet.  Why the side?  Because the mallet is spiny on both sides, and Spiny Whammers tear the chicken.  If you have a non-spiny Whammer, then go to town.  When the chicken breasts are of uniform thickness, dredge them first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs.  You can either then toss them in an oven heated to 350 and cook until golden brown (probably 20 min) or cook them in a pan on the stovetop.  Heat olive oil over med-high heat and make sure the oil is hot before adding the chicken.  Cook until the chicken is done (which Regina always has to test by cutting the chicken open).  Place chicken in the oven at about 200 to keep warm.

Don't forget to cook the rice ;)

Julia Child's Beurre Blanc

2-3 sticks cold unsalted butter cut into chunks (we used probably 2 sticks and an additional 3-4 tablespoons.  And the butter must be cold)
1⁄4 cup dry white wine (We actually used Chardonnay instead of Reisling)
1⁄4 cup white wine vinegar (Regina did not buy Regina Vinegar.  Just sayin'.)
1 tbsp. minced shallots
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch of white pepper
1⁄2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Have butter ready. Bring wine and vinegar to a boil in a saucepan; add shallots, salt, and pepper. Lower heat to a simmer; cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. (There should be about 1 1⁄2 tbsp. liquid left. If reduced too far, add 1 tbsp. water to remoisten.)
2. Remove pan from heat; whisk 2 pieces of butter into the reduction. Set pan over low heat and continue whisking butter into sauce a chunk at a time, allowing each piece to melt into sauce before adding more.  Regina's Note: Your burner should be giving off just enough heat so that you can feel it, but not more than that.  The butter should be melting very slowly.  If it melts too fast, the butter will separate.
3. Remove sauce from heat; whisk in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning, then strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Serve with fish, poultry, or vegetables.

So this sauce does in fact take forEVER.  And we took a couple little tastes when it was coming to a finish and were disappointed.  But, intrepid ladies of the kitchen that we are, we put it in a bowl, grabbed the rice and chicken, and went to the table.  We put a little bit of sauce on the chicken and took a taste.  This was followed by us grabbing for the spoon to put a whole nother crapload of sauce onto the plate.  HOLY COW this stuff is good.  There is nothing else in the world that tastes like it, and any moment we weren't stuffing our faces was filled with cries of "OH MY GOD THIS IS GOOD!"  Lifelong friendships could be destroyed by someone taking the last spoonfull of this sauce.  The downside is that this sauce is SO rich, we must recommend French-sized portions.  The Nom Inspector and the Chef des Noms both felt a little ill afterwards.  And it was totally worth it.

So there you have it.  A French classic, made by yours truly to great success.  What should we make next-time, Nom-subscribers?

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