Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have Your Pan Sauce - And Eat It Too!

Good evening everyone! One of my favorite culinary treats has to be a good pan sauce. Ever since Maggie & I started cooking and blogging almost a year ago (hard to believe) the pan sauce has been my biggest surprise. It's amazing how the browning and other pan 'remenants' can be combined with a little wine, cream or mustard and turned into something extraordinary. Pan sauce always manages to take on the flavors of the dish (since it's composed of the remnants of the main dish - this is pretty logical!) The best part, 99% of pan sauces are simple and fast to whip up. The downside? A lot of pan sauces are composed of fatty creams or other 'not too great for you' ingredients. The traditional pan sauce is a delicious, albeit unhealthy option.

The obvious problem the rears its ugly head. If you're trying to eat healthy and maintain a good diet - how can you make a pan sauce that doesn't sabotage those efforts? For the longest while I thought the answer was simple "you can't" It seemed to me like the traditional pan sauce was a thing of the past. No longer a part of our dinner staples. That was, until this past weekend, when I stumbled across a pan sauce that was not only authentic pan sauce (no substitutions or cheats) and wasn't loaded in fat. Here's how you can have your pan sauce, and eat it too!

The Recipe: Sauteed Chicken Breasts With Creamy Chive Pan Sauce
Original Recipe Found On: Eatingwell.com

What You'll Need:

2 Chicken Breasts (1/2 thickness or thinner preferred)
1/2 Teaspoon Of Kosher Salt
1/4 All Purpose Flour (Plus 1 Tablespoon - divided)
3 Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
2 Large Shallots (Finely Chopped)
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
14 Ounces Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/3 Cup Low Fat Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Fresh Chives (Chopped)

Begin by seasoning your chicken breasts with a light rubbing of salt on both sides of each breast. Next, pour your all purpose flour on a small plate and dredge the chicken breasts through the flour until both are evenly coated. Allow any excess flour to fall off. Discard the remaining flour.

Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large non stick skillet (medium heat) until just shimmering. Once hot, place the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook, rotating the chicken every 3 minutes, until both sides are a deep golden brown. I found that this method took about 3 rotations per breast (9 minutes all together) to reach a nice, golden brown finish. Once golden, place the chicken breasts on a plate, cover and set aside until later.

Using the same skillet (don't wipe it out!) add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and the shallots. Cook the shallot until they are golden brown, roughly 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add the tablespoon of flour to the mixture and stir until well combined. Finally, add the chicken broth and white wine to the skillet. Use a rubber spatula to work up any cooked on browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. These little pockets of flavor really add to the sauce.

Bring the broth mixture to a low boil before adding your chicken breasts back into the skillet. The original recipe calls for the chicken to be cooked like this for 6 minutes - however, I found it took considerably longer to get the chicken up to the right temperature. My version of the recipe had the chicken nestled in the broth for about 10 to 15 minutes before the breasts finally reached the magical 165 degree mark.

This tends to happen to us whenever we get a recipe that calls for flattened or thin chicken breasts. It doesn't matter that the chicken is thin, it still takes considerably longer than the recipe calls for to bring the chicken up to the right (safe) temperature. Maybe we have a weak stove top (temperature wise) maybe the recipes are a little too short sided with their cooking times. All I know is 99 times out of 100 we've had to cook a chicken breast for well longer than the original recipe called for.

Once the chicken reaches the 'golden' temperature, stir in your sour cream, dijon mustard and chives. Mix until smooth. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce and a side of mashed potatoes or green beans (both if you're ambitious!) Enjoy!

The Results:

You simply cannot beat a good pan sauce. Natural flavors of the chicken, plus a nice creamy boost from the sour cream, dijon, wine combination. Fantastic dish! The best part? This bad boy clocks in at a measly 240 calories! A thick, creamy pan sauce that's full of flavor and low on calories? That's a winning combination right there. This simple dish is a great 'try this one' at home recipe.

That's all we have for you tonight. Maggie is taking to the kitchen on Thursday with a new and interesting dish. Until then,


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