Thursday, February 24, 2011
2 Recipe #243: Poulet Amandine (Chicken with Almonds)
This French classic is quick & super-easy to make.
The word "amandine," sometimes mispelled as "almondine" in American cookbooks, is a French culinary term, which, of course, means "prepared or garnished with almonds." The almonds in this preparation can be sliced, slivered, flaked, or whole. Fish (particularly sole & trout) & green beans are mostly commonly served amandine, although chicken is another popular option.
The typical amandine dish is made with lots of butter &/or oil, but of course, my recipe is a much healthier version. It's still flavorful & satisfying, but there's a lot less fat. The fresh herbs, wine, & lemon juice make this dish particularly vibrant.
Poulet Amandine (Chicken with Almonds)
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, rinsed, defatted, tendons removed, & patted dry
1 Tbsp. fresh marjoram leaves, densely packed & very finely minced
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, densely packed & finely minced
2 Tbsp. blanched slivered almonds
Directions: Remove chicken from fridge 30-45 minutes before you plan to start cooking, so that it reaches room temperature before adding them to the pan, to ensure even cooking. (This will take about 15-30 minutes.) Next, place rinsed, defatted chicken breasts onto a clean, non-porous surface & cut into 2" wide strips. Cover with plastic wrap & tenderize, pounding with the bumpy, textured end of a meat mallet until 1/8" thick. Discard plastic wrap. Season chicken with salt & pepper and set aside.
Sauté onion, garlic & bay leaf in olive oil in a large (12-13") sauté pan on low heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Deglaze with 1/4 c. white wine, reducing liquid until there's only a thin layer on the bottom of the pan before adding chicken. Transfer chicken to the pan, spacing pieces far enough apart so as not to crowd the pan. Add all fresh herbs & almonds, & cook chicken for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until chicken is no longer pink, its juices run clear, & its exterior has turned golden brown on both sides. While chicken is cooking, add the remaining 1/4 c. white wine, to prevent chicken from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Watch the pan carefully as tenderized chicken doesn't take very long to cook through & brown. (Lower heat even further if chicken starts to burn.)
When ready, remove from heat, discard bay leaf, & pour lemon juice over chicken. Divide into equal portions. Transfer to plates & serve immediately, with couscous, orzo, or rice.
Yield: 2 servings.
Chef's Notes: This particular recipe doesn't call for bread crumbs. However, if you'd like to bread the chicken, simply place about 2-3 Tbsp. plain bread crumbs into a medium-sized bowl & dip each piece of chicken into the bowl, thoroughly coating both sides. Shake off excess & lay onto a plate. Repeat this process until all chicken pieces have been breaded.