Monday, 20 May 2013

Chicken a la Matt

This dish is my son, Matt's signature dish! Inspired by our favourite place to eat, The Cleveland Tontine,
where a similar dish (his inspiration) is called Chicken JoJo.  Vermouth or Noilly Prat is used to de-glaze the pan, and this gives a really lovely depth of  flavour, together with the tarragon.  It is quite simply delicious.  Matt takes a great pride in perfecting this dish each time he cooks it, and I think now it barely resembles the inspiration behind his dish, and he has made it his own!

You do need to use good quality chicken breasts which can be 'skin on' but do ensure you crisp the skin sufficiently if you decide on using 'skin on' chicken breasts.  For ease though, I would recommend using skinless (and indeed boneless) chicken breasts.

Serve with button mushrooms, roasted carrots, roast potatoes, or new potatoes :)  This dish is really something else, and special enough to justify being the centerpiece for a special meal! The above pic shows some roasted fennel and roasted green pepper too.

In Matt's own words here is his recipe...

OK, the naming convention is quite lame, but the dish is worthy of featuring upon the tables of Valhalla amongst the gods!
Whilst the Main and Sides are a tasty inclusion in this meal, the sauce is the linchpin for the success of this dish.
Ingredients for Main
1 x Chicken breast per person
2 trays of Button Mushrooms
Vermouth Wine
Olive Oil
Garlic Puree

Ingredients for Sauce
1 tblsp. Butter
1 tblsp. Honey
2 tblsp. standard Flour
2 teasp. Dijon Mustard
1 Chicken Stock
80ml Milk (semi-skimmed) or Cream alternative
Garlic Puree
125ml Boiling Water

Ingredients for Sides
1.5 large Potatoes per person
2.5 large Carrots per person
(+ Any other vegetables suitable)
Garlic Puree
Olive Oil

1.       Peel and slice all vegetables into generous portions; combine them in a freezer/sandwich bag with generous amounts of Olive Oil and Garlic Puree and shake the bag.
2.       Pour bag and all contents onto a baking tray and season with salt and pepper - try to get the smallest contact area of vegetable on baking tray to minimise on the vegetables stick to the tray. 
3.       Cook for a generous 1 hour at 200'C (Fan) 220'C (unassisted) until partially blackened and sweet.
4.       This should be sufficient time to complete the remainder of the dish...
1.       Heat Olive Oil in large pan (30% dual-ring power or equivalent); when at temperature, add Chicken breasts (no marination or tenderising required).   Increase temperature to maximum of ring.
Note: The idea is to both cook the chicken breast and cause it to burn/stick to the pan, so feel free to leave it a little longer between turning the meat.
2.       When Chicken breast looks cooked (juices run clear when pressed), reduce the temperature to approximately 60% of total power and add the two trays of Button Mushrooms - these should be prepared by simply brushing off the compost; do not rinse-clean with water as this adds too much moisture to the meal.
3.       When Mushrooms have fried sufficiently with the Chicken, temporarily remove only the Mushrooms and Chicken Breasts from the pan whilst conducting the next step - leave juices and any residual bits of Mushroom or Chicken skin that may be present in the pan.
4.       Whilst maintaining the ring heat, add enough Vermouth wine to coat the bottom of the pan, and then some more for good measure.  Using a wooden cooking spoon, carefully scrape clean the bottom of the pan.  The Alcohol in the Vermouth will make this task very easy.  Be sure to clean it thoroughly, as it makes the cleaning process after the meal far easier as well as collecting more taste!
5.       Pour out the pan contents into a suitably middle-high volume cooking jug and then re-add the mushrooms and chicken to the clean pan.  Reduce heat to about 20-25% of total temperature and place lid on pan; it is time to move to the Sauce...

1.       On a low heat, melt the Butter into a small pan.  When totally melted, take pan off the heat and add all the flour.  Combine carefully the butter and flour to produce a roux.
2.       Gradually add the Milk to the mix, be sure to whisk by hand all the lumps out of the mix to be left with a watery yellow liquid.  To this, add a generous helping of Tarragon and then return to the heat, which you will increase.
3.       Add the pan contents (Vermouth and pan stock) to this Sauce pan and notice the colour change to a darker yellow-brown; indicative of the richness and flavour captured in the sauce. 
4.       In a separate jug, combine the Honey, Dijon Mustard, Garlic Puree and Chicken Stock with 125ml Boiling Water until it is free of lumps.   This is then combined with the Sauce pan contents in the pan, still on the heat.
5.       This can be left to cook; depending on your preferences or palate, you can thicken the sauce by vigorously whisking flour into the mix (it will naturally thicken with heat and time), similarly, you can sweeten the sauce by adding more Honey, or make it more savoury by adding additional Mustard. 
6.       Final seasoning of Pepper will finish off the Sauce - leave it cooking on medium heat when 'perfect taste' to thicken up slightly.
7.       Eat.

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