Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yesterday’s Concoction Inspired by My Frustration and Fred’s Comment in France

I am no great chef, so it doesn’t happen very often, but now and then a new dish simply presents itself to me. A few years ago I had a vision of shrimp and bell peppers with feta and sun-dried tomatoes over rice pilaf, and it became one of my signature dishes for a while. A reliable, simple, colorful, flavorful dish that people weren’t going to get anywhere else.

Yesterday, I was trying to decide what to make for dinner that night. The boys were coming over, and I wanted something that would appeal to them as well as me, but something a bit different than the ordinary fare, and something that wouldn’t take too much time, when another culinary light went on for me.

While on my recent trip to France, I was complaining to Fred, my traveling buddy, that the US still really hasn’t caught on to crème fraiche. You can find it in any French grocery store, but while many other delicious French foods and ingredients have become much more common in the states since my first trip abroad a quarter century ago, this one is still fairly rare. It shows up on the menus of many fine restaurants, but I can’t get it at my local grocery store. She suggested Boursin as an alternative for my purposes—creating a creamy sauce for a pork or chicken pasta. The Boursin idea kept rolling around in my head for a couple weeks without finding traction, when suddenly I knew what I wanted to do with it.

So, here’s what I came up with and what you will need to make it chez vous:

chicken breasts.
olive oil
white wine

An hour before cooking, cut chicken breasts into one inch pieces and then marinate them.

Mince two very large shallots, then sautee them until they turn brown. Add the chicken. When it is nearly cooked, toss in some small pieces of prosciutto. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan. Pour a little white wine into the pan, and turn up the heat. Once it has begun to cook off a bit, turn the heat back down, and mix in the Boursin until it is smooth and creamy, then place the chicken back in the pan, and mix until it is all covered in the sauce.

I served this over pasta with haricots verts on the side, and R. said I should quit teaching, go to the track for a few years to get enough money, and then open a restaurant. Not only is it one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received for my cooking, but it sounds like a fun way to raise money for such an enterprise. In any case, it’s easy and delicious. Try it at your home.

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