Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chicken with capers, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives

Darn.  I keep forgetting to take pictures of my food before I eat it.

I'm sorry, truly, but I'm just not in the habit of photographing what I cook.  I'll try to do better, really I will.  But as a consolation prize, here's a picture of the first water lily that bloomed just yesterday.  I was a little nervous about hanging over the edge of the pond in a such a precarious fashion, knowing full well that I could drop my camera (actually, my cell phone) into the pond and severely traumatize the frogs, whom we've named Taco, Beauregard and Bigg Daddy.  And that would be that.  But balance and coordination prevailed!  The frogs continue to rule the pond undisturbed!

Not dinner, but close

I do want to let you know, however, that last night's dinner--an impromptu throw-down of the Vindaloo variety, e.g., using wine as the catalyst of inspiration--was something I wanted to share with you.  My husband enjoyed it immensely, and I did as well.  But we did miss you at our table.

So what happened first to start this creative process was the opening of a bottle of a very pleasant little pinot noir.  I thought this wine was especially apropos because it had been a rather coolish, sunless day.  And coolish days tend to call for reddish wines.  I enjoyed a lovely glass of Cru Vineyard Montage Pinot Noir 2008 (California), full of cherry, cherry, cherry with lots of nice, bright acid and more red fruit than I'm accustomed to having in my pinot noirs, but a lovely wine (about $13) nonetheless, and very lovely against the salty-sweet assertiveness of the chicken and garlicky pasta.

The chicken breasts were pounded, then seasoned liberally with salt and pepper and sauteed in EVOO until beautifully caramelized on both sides.  Then, into the pan went coarsely chopped garlic, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped kalamata olives, raisins and capers.  Everyone got all happy together in the pan, and then a little sweet vermouth and some chicken broth joined the party.  Served with its own pan sauce, a side of spaghetti with toasted garlic and green onions and a mixed-greens salad, it was like having a feast.

And it was a feast of sorts because we had just finished filing (and paying for) our taxes for 2011!  Very much relieved, we were able to enjoy our dinner and relax for the rest of the evening.  Dessert was another glass of wine.  Never a bad idea.

Chicken with Capers, Raisins, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. EVOO
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbs. capers
1 Tbs. raisins
2 Tbs. chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 Tbs. chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup sweet vermouth
1/2 cup chicken broth

1.  Pound chicken breasts with a mallet between two pieces of plastic wrap until about 3/8" thick.
2.  Season chicken well on both sides with salt and pepper.
3.  Heat EVOO in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat until oil begins to ripple.
4.  Saute chicken breasts on both sides, browning well.
5.  Add garlic, capers, raisins, sun-dried tomatoes, and kalamata olives.
6.  Stir a little to distribute ingredients evenly.
7.  Cover and continue to cook for about 2 minutes.
8.  Add sweet vermouth and reduce by half.
9.  Add chicken broth and reduce by half.
10.  Serve chicken with pan sauce over pasta or polenta.  Serves 2.

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