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Snagged this one for both cold & warm weather fare. Plan to serve hot in winter & more room temp in summer. Food & Drink Weekly editors listed their Top Picks of 2008 - this recipe which they claim can be on the table done in 35 minutes made the cut. It was devised by the retiring former Test Kitchen director Donna Deane. Give the breasts a three-minute pan fry until they're nearly done, and then in the same pan make a quick Basque-style sauce -- tomatoes and olives and herbs, slightly smoky pancetta. It's all fantastic with the perfectly cooked chicken breasts that are so tender the meat is almost silky. Note: From test kitchen director Donna Deane. Espelette pepper is available at specialty food stores. Substitute in smoked paprika or even cayenne if needed. You can substitute canned San Marzano tomatoes for fresh tomatoes.
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 7 ounces each)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, Freshly ground
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4 -inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
- 1⁄2 cup chicken broth
- 1⁄8 teaspoon pepper, Espelette
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1⁄2 cup tomato, cut into 3/4 -inch dice
- 1⁄4 cup nicoise olive
- Place each chicken breast between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet or heavy skillet, pound each breast until it is uniformly about one-fourth-inch thick. Season each piece with one-fourth teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Place each breast on top of a large piece of plastic wrap or wax paper.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter and 1 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken, one piece at a time, and sauté until golden-brown, about 2 1/2 minutes on the first side and 30 seconds on the other. Remove the chicken to a plate. Set aside in a warm place.
- Drain the excess fat from the pan and add the remaining tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until browned, about 2 minutes. Add the shallot and sauté for 1 minute, until tender, then add the garlic and sauté just until aromatic, a few seconds, being careful not to brown. Add the wine, stirring to scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the chicken broth, the Espelette pepper, thyme and tomatoes. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes so that the flavors develop. Stir in the olives.
- Add the chicken back to the pan, spooning the sauce over it. Cook for 1 minute, then remove the chicken to a plate. Spoon the sauce evenly over each piece, and serve immediately.