I like the idea of coming up with great meals just from what’s laying around in my fridge or pantry, but in reality, I just end up with something like garbanzo beans, pasta sauce, and leftover grilled chicken. Not very creative. Or good for that matter.
However, one fateful night, the stars aligned and Chicken Provençal was born. I had some anchovies left over from making tapenade (apparently they refrigerate well), some white wine thanks to someone bringing it to our recent holiday party, yadda yadda yadda. I even had fresh basil growing outside that just sprang back to life (only to be massacred for this lowly Thursday night dinner).
Sorry, basil plant. It was for a good cause.
Sautéed Chicken Provençal
- 3 large chicken breasts, butterflied in half for faster cook time and more surface area with a delicious crust
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1.5 oz all purpose flour
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 anchovy fillets (pick the largest ones in the tin)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 5 fl oz dry white wine
- 6 oz tomato concassé or canned diced tomatoes
- 12 oz veal stock or veal demi-glacé (alternatively, slowly simmer 48 oz beef stock down to 12 oz)
- 2 oz brined green olives, sliced or quartered
- 1/2 oz basil chiffonade (plus extra for garnish)
1. Dry the chicken breast halves with a paper towel then season with salt and pepper.
2. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then lightly shake off the extra.
3. In a large stainless steel sauté pan, heat the oil until it’s hot but yet not smoking
4. Sauté the chicken uncovered until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes for each side depending on the size and temperature of the breast. (It’s ok if it’s not 100% cooked through).
Work in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. You can fit about 2-3 chicken breast halves at a time on most large sauté pans.
5. Remove the chicken and set aside. Cover to keep warm.
6. Mash the anchovy fillet and minced garlic together with a small mortar and pestle or with the back of a spoon
7. Add the anchovy paste and garlic to the pan and cook on medium heat until it’s slightly browned and aromatic, about 20 seconds. If your pan is still hot, this may take closer to 10 seconds.
8. Add the tomato and cook until the juices that come out of the tomato have almost evaporated (au sec).
9. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated (au sec).
10. Add the stock, olives, basil, and chicken.
11. Simmer uncovered on medium heat until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
12. Remove the chicken and set aside covered to keep warm.
13. Simmer the remaining mixture to the desired consistency. I’d suggest another 5 minutes at which time it costs the back of a spoon (nappe).