Recipe by Phil Franco
Just a little bit of bacon or other cured meat can season an entire dish, as these recipes from Matthew Ridgway demonstrate. "Bonne Maman," which means "grandmother" in French, seems like a fitting name for the first dish, which is the kind of homey, old-fashioned food you'd expect to eat at Grandma's house. There's a substantial amount of fat in this recipe, but you will still have a flavorful dish if you cut back on the oil for sautéeing the chicken and the butter for enriching the sauce. Just don't stint on the bacon!
- 1⁄2 cup diced honey-cured bacon
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, julienned (cut into narrow strips)
- 10 white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1⁄4 cup peas (thawed if frozen)
- 4 chicken breasts, skin on, wing still attached
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups roasted chicken stock (see note)
- 4 ounces cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook the bacon cubes in a small skillet over low heat until the fat renders and the cubes begin to brown. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Increase the heat to medium, add the onions to the skillet and sauté until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl.
- Add the carrots to the skillet and sauté until almost tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the bowl with the onions.
- Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring, until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the bowl. Add the peas to the bowl.
- Heat vegetable oil until smoking in a sauté pan large enough to fit all four breasts without overcrowding the pan.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and sauté until golden brown on both sides (about 2 to 3 minutes per side).
- Remove the breasts from the pan, place on a baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven until they're cooked through (160 degrees in the thickest part).
- While the breasts are cooking, turn the heat under the skillet down to medium. Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil from the pan, and add the sliced garlic. Cook until the garlic softens and turns translucent, about 30 seconds. Stir in the bacon.
- Add the white wine and reduce until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the vegetables from the bowl and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is reduced by about a quarter.
- Add the butter, piece by piece, stirring until it is fully incorporated and the sauce is shiny. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and add the thyme and parsley.
- Divide the vegetables and sauce among four plates, and place one chicken breast on each. Garnish each plate with a thyme sprig.
- Makes 4 servings.
- Note: Roasted chicken stock is made with chicken pieces that have been roasted, then simmered in water with vegetables and herbs. It's worth making for the deep flavor and color it adds to this dish, but you could use regular chicken stock or a good canned chicken broth.