Thursday, September 13, 2012

Almond-crusted chicken with Balsamic-poached pear and Brie cream sauce

Despite no longer being in school, I find the back-to-school period invigorates me to tackle projects around the house in a way that the New Year never does. This year one of those has been organizing my rather daunting recipe collection. In the process, I came across a recipe I clipped from our local newspaper years ago: almond-crusted chicken with Balsamic-poached pear and Brie cream sauce. It's too decadent and labour-intensive for an everyday meal, but I thought it would be the perfect dish for a birthday dinner B and I hosted for my Dad and the rest of my family. My Dad has been so good to me - like helping with my reclaimed wood headboard DIY project that I can't wait to reveal - and I wanted to show him some appreciation. Look out for an upcoming post about the gourmet carrot cake we had for dessert.
 Serves 6.

To prepare pears (can be made a day ahead):
Peel, slice in half lengthwise and core four ripe Bosc pears. Heat 1 cup balsamic vinegar in a medium-sized saucepan to simmering, then add pears and poach for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, slice pears, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed. Reheat just before using.

Tip: My pears were not completely immersed during poaching, so I turned them once. I kept the leftover vinegar for use in salad dressings.

To prepare chicken:
Pulse 1 1/2 cups almonds in a blender until slightly coarser than breadcrumbs. Pat 6 chicken breasts dry, then roll in almonds. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until fully cooked. 

To prepare sauce:
  Melt 6T butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once starting to froth, whisk in 6T flour and continue to whisk until a light-brown roux is formed. Whisking, add 1 cup white wine,  1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup table cream. Simmer until thickened to sauce consistency. Remove from heat and stir in 6T Brie (or other cheese). Season to taste with pepper.

Tip: Clarified butter is used in a traditional roux. 
Tip: Before adding the cheese, I separated the sauce into two batches and added Brie to one and blue cheese to the other so people could choose.

To serve:
 Spoon sauce over chicken breasts and top with poached pear slices. Serve with mushroom risotto finished with a splash of lemon juice, and a green salad with a balsamic dressing made with the leftover poaching liquid.

Recipe source: Ottawa Citizen (with some minor adaptations)

1 comment:

  1. This looks delicious. I simply don't understand how you can eat like this and stay so adorably thin!


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