Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Quick, quick, and special! Chicken with a chive sauce, inspired by the Barefoot Contessa

I thought I would get in another Barefoot Contessa recipe before the end of May, when the Cook Like A Star bloghop for Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, ends, and I decided that one of her chicken recipes would be most fitting, particularly as I have never met one of her chicken recipes that I really didn't like. My other motivation is that I have wrongly neglected her most recent tome, 'How Easy Is That? as my cookbook collection had blossomed to include other chefs and cookery writers, but it is really nice to touch base with a Barefoot Contessa recipe, as I used to cook many 'Barefoots' when I first started to become really interested in cooking.

Now, I could have sworn that I had shallots somewhere, as the intention was to create her 'Chicken with Shallots; recipe, and as it was I was totally mistaken so had to think of something similar that would make do. I knew onions would lack subtlety so in the end I plumped for a combination of spring onions, of which I had a couple lurking, and chives, which are currently doing their thing quite happily in my garden. And I thought it was rather good, but one thing I will say about this sauce is that it is really quite strong tasting, particularly of lemon, and whilst I added a little more cream to try and temper the acidity, I found I needed a little more salt. Basically, what I am saying is that be prepared to alter the sauce how you see fit, but the strength of the flavour of the sauce is tempered quite pleasantly when it is poured over the chicken and the accompaniments (of which ours were new potatoes and broccoli, both of which suit this sauce tremendously well).

The original recipe calls for breasts with skin. Mine were skinless, and it didn't matter at all. Just make sure you have enough oil in the pan not for them to be swimming but to ensure that the top of the breasts don't stick to the pan during the initial browning process where you will probably be using a high heat.

Before I get down to the recipe, I strongly recommend a visit to Zoe at Bake For Happy Kids whose website is really rather lush and far more aesthetically pleasing than this one, plus a visit to the other very talented food bloggers who are taking part in this Barefoot Contessa bloghop, the links of which you will find towards the bottom of  the page. Enjoy, and prepare to get hungry!

Chicken with chives, adapted from 'Chicken with Shallots' from 'How Easy Is That?' by Ina Garten

Serves Lola, Finn, Mum and Dad.


4 boneless chicken breasts (skin left on) - (Though I used 3 skinless breasts)
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)
1/4 cup minced shallot (1 large) (Though I used a combination of 3 spring onions, white parts, plus 6 chives, finely snipped - some whilst cooking the sauce, others added once the sauce was complete)
3 tablespoons heavy cream (though you might need more)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature   


Firstly, preheat the oven to 200c/425 degrees.

Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Heat enough oil in a pan that is suitable to be placed in the oven, a skillet or such like. Make sure the oil is hot before putting the chicken breasts in.

Place chicken breasts, skin side down if yours have skin, in the skillet and cook 4 to 5 minutes without moving, until golden brown.

Using tongs, turn chicken and place the skillet in oven. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan, combine the white wine, lemon juice, and the chives and spring onions. Cook over medium high heat for 5 minutes, until only about 2 tablespoons of liquid remain. If it reduces too much, add an extra splash of wine or water. Add cream, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and bring to a full boil.

Remove from heat, add the diced butter, and swirl pan until butter is incorporated. Taste at this stage. It will be a strong sauce, but maybe it needs a little more cream, or more salt?

Don't reheat or the sauce will break.

Serve the chicken with accompaniments, and spoon the sauce over the chicken. And if I were you I'd be having a glass of wine with it too.

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