I made this meal about two weeks ago. The house smelled wonderful and everyone enjoyed the food. Brining is a method that tenderizes and adds about 10% more moisture to the meat. Since you lose about 20% moisture during the heating process, the added moisture is very noticeable in the finished product. The sugar counterbalances the salt in flavor.
Sautéed Breast of Chicken with White Wine Sauce
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
3 tbl canola oil
1 shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium thyme sprig
1 cup wine
1 cup chicken stock, warmed
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 quarts cold water
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a non-reactive bowl, thoroughly mix salt and sugar with water to make the brine. Place chicken in the brine. Cover the bowl and place in refrigerator for one hour. Then, remove it from the refrigerator, rinse the chicken, pat dry, and set aside.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper, rubs, or spice blends just before cooking. Note: Adjust salt amount to allow for residual salt from the brine.
- Choose a cast iron pan that’s large enough so the chicken breasts will just cover the bottom of the pan without overlapping.
- Heat the pan before adding the oil, then add 2 tablespoons canola oil to lightly film the pan (this is called conditioning the pan).
- When the oil is shimmering, place the chicken breasts with better looking side (presentation side) down in the pan. Once chicken breasts are browned, turn them over only once to develop good flavor and color. this will also develop the fond (caramelized meat sugars) on the bottom of the pan.
- Once browned on both sides, remove chicken from pan and place on a foil covered quarter sheet pan. (The foil helps with clean up.) Place pan in preheated oven and cook 15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Remove from oven and set aside. Tent the pan with foil to keep chicken warm.
- While the chicken breasts are cooking in the oven, using the pan that you seared the chicken, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add shallots, then the garlic, then the thyme. Cook until without color. Do not brown them.
- While holding pan away from heat, pour wine into the pan and place back on the heat. Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen the fond to become part of the sauce for flavor. Reduce the liquid until nearly dry or au sec (French for nearly dry). Add chicken stock and cook to reduce by half. A small amount of butter. may be added also.
- The chicken breasts may be added back into the sauce briefly to coat and gently reheat. Or the sauce may be ladled over the food or around the food.
- Serve immediately.
Garlic Wilted Spinach
1 pound of spinach, stems removed
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chicken stock
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. I used a cast iron pan.
- Add shallot and garlic into skillet and cook until slightly transparent. Add the spinach leaves and turn them with tongs until wilted.
- Add the chicken stock and lemon juice and turn with the tongs again. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to serve. Season with chef salt.