Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fancy Shmancy Balsamic Reduction Chicken

I still remember the first time I decided to make this… I was living at home with Mo and Mark after moving out of that crazy apartment with the crazy roommate, and I decided I wanted to try to make a reduction sauce. I had never tried my hand at anything like it, bit I would feeling up to the challenge. I’ll never forget those “mmmmms” from that oozed from my parents’ mouths! And all I did was follow a recipe!

This beauty comes from the glorious Cooking Light, where they call it Sautéed Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Vinegar Pan Sauce. I prefer to call it mother-loving delicious.

I typically serve it with quinoa, but this time you’ll see I served it with rice. To be specific, I used brown basmati rice, which is probably my one of my favorites of the rice world. When it cooks, it gives off this nutty smell that is simply mouth-watering. I like to make it kind of pilaf style, with carrots and spinach, a twirl of extra virgin olive oil, some garlic salt, pepper, coriander, and onion power. Mmmm!

My recipe doubles the reduction sauce, because it is really the BEST PART of this dish. On that note, I highly suggest wearing a dark shirt for the sauce-reducing step, because it does splatter just a bit. If you want to up the fiber in this recipe, you could use whole wheat flour when you flour the chicken (step 4).

This is (yet another) of Jay’s favorites and I have to say it is most definitely one of mine as well. It is pretty intense (as in, I can’t label this post with an “easy” tag). Such is especially true if you’re like me, preparing multiple side dishes at the same time. Nevertheless, I think you’ll agree that all the dish-dirtying is super worth it!

Yields 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast and 2 tablespoons sauce)

The Edibles:
  • 1 c. fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tsp. honey (often times I’ll used 1 teaspoon honey and one packet of Splenda)
  • 1 T. butter (real butter is ideal for this one)
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • enough flour to cover your breasts (chicken breasts… do I really need to clarify that? ;-)
  • 2 T. finely chopped shallots (about 1 shallot, though I like these a lot so sometimes I’ll add two or so)
  • chopped parsley (optional)

The Making:
  1. Combine broth, vinegar, and honey. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. (I think it works best to use a skillet that is not cast iron or very dark so that you can see when the butter browns in the step that follows.)
  3. While butter melts, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. (I always forget to season them, and it still turns out yum-yum yummy. That’s a testament to how much you don’t necessarily need salt!)
  4. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour; shake off excess flour.
  5. Increase the heat of your sauté pan to medium-high; heat 2 minutes, or until the butter turns golden brown.
  6. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  7. Remove the chicken from the pan, and place on a platter or pan in a warm oven. Keep the sauté pan warm (on medium to medium low).
  8. Add the shallots and sauté 30 seconds.
  9. Add the broth mixture, scraping to loosen browned bits. Bring it to a boil, and cook until reduced by half (about 3 minutes).
  10. Serve sauce over chicken. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Estimated Nutritional Information:
Calories: 270
Fat: 8g
Protein: 34g
Carbohydrate: 13g
Fiber: 0.2g
Cholesterol: 90mg
Iron: 1.7mg
Sodium: 331mg
Calcium: 29mg

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