This week's Gutsy Cooks recipes were on the traditional side but both surprisingly hit the spot with me this week. Both recipes from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible were simple and satisfying: Chicken with Herb Sauce & Potato Gratin.
Upon first reading of the chicken recipe I was a bit turned off because it appeared the chicken was to be poached. Really poached chicken just didn't sound appetizing. But I went with it pretty much while making some decidedly successful adaptations a long the way.
The recipe called for boneless, skinless chicken breast. I re-read the description over & over because I was just sure 'on the bone breasts' would be so much better and possibly even roasted as opposed to poached.
Since I wasn't misreading the boneless, skinless descriptors I decided to make two major adaptions: 1) I stuffed my chicken breasts with ham & Swiss cheese. I just thought the chicken prepared this way needed some additional flavor. 2) I decided to cover the chicken in the pan with onion, carrot and celery with a combo of half white wine/half water as opposed to just the water it called for. I love chicken cooked in wine. After I covered the chicken with foil and I put it in the oven to cook. I ended up removing the foil about half through cooking just to see if the chicken could take on some color.
The next adaptations I made were to the sauce. But let me just say this sauce "ROCKED." I'm still trying to figure out what I can have it on today because it was that good and we have some left over.
For the sauce I substituted cilantro for the parsley. I just personally prefer the flavor of cilantro over parsley. I then added basil, capers, red wine vinegar, garlic ( I tripled the amount of garlic) and salt & pepper to the food processor. I was positive that we had a can of anchovies in the pantry only to find out we didn't .
So I substituted Thai Fish Sauce instead. I also added the juice of one lemon to make the sauce fresher and brighter.
The sauce was amazing! Really I love this sauce.
For the Gratin Potatoes I went with the "adding cheese" version of the recipe. There is nothing I love more than potatoes but add some cheese and I'm pretty much in heaven. My usual contribution to any holiday meal that I'm not making myself is typically my recipe from Cuisine at Home for Three Cheese Gratin. So for this recipe I merged a bit of what I do in that recipe with this one.
First I used the handy mandolin to slice my potatoes thin.
I then put the cream, nutmeg and garlic on the stove to bubble. The trick I learned from my Cuisine at Home version of the recipe is too cook the sliced potatoes in the cream on the stove top for awhile before putting them in the casserole dish.
After about 8 minutes on the stove I layered the potatoes with Gruyere between three layers of potatoes in a casserole pan before covering them with foil and putting them in the oven.
I warmed some Asaigo rustic bread to go with this meal. G had been sick all day and the only thing I was confident he could keep down was some bread.
The wine added a great depth to flavor to the veggies and chicken. I served the veggies with the chicken & sauce for this reason. And cutting into the chicken to find an oozing surprise of Swiss & ham was delicious. The sauce was such a great compliment to all of the flavors.
This was a surprisingly perfect meal to end our week with.