We are going through quite a hot and sticky spell here in my part of country. So When I searched for a recipe for the chicken I had bought, I wanted one that didn't require baking and heating up my kitchen.
Since I had most of the ingredients on hand, I went for it, and I'm pleased with the results. The dish doesn't take long to make and tastes great. The mustard gives it a good tang and I love the hint of sweetness added by the applesauce.
As for cooking time, you can lessen it by flattening the breasts before cooking them. If I were to do this, I'd put them between layers of plastic wrap and go at it with a mallet or tenderizer.
I decided to serve it on couscous, at the advice of one of the cooks who commented on the original recipe. Before my adjustments, many people who had made the recipe commented that the sauce was to thin. This particular cook liked the couscous because it sops up the sauce. My sauce is thicker, but the couscous, as opposed to potatoes, didn't heat up my kitchen and it's as easy as could be to make!
By the way, I had Trader Joe's whole wheat couscous. All you have to do is boil some water and butter, turn off the heat, and add the couscous. Then you cover it for 5 minutes and it's done!
There were quite a few cooks who really enjoyed this dish over mashed potatoes. If it weren't so hot outside, I probably would have roasted the potatoes and smashed them, instead of mashing them. I bet that would have been really tasty!
Tangy Bistro-Style Chicken
Adapted from Epicurious, Nightly Specials
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard (I used whole grain)
1 cup chicken stock
1 (4 oz) cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup light cream
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a pan on medium-high heat and add the chicken breasts. Brown them on each side for 6-8 minutes. Check for doneness. I check by cutting into the breast on the underside in the thickest part. More experienced chefs say that they can tell by the chicken being firm to the touch and the juices running clear. But I just don't trust that, personally.
When the chicken is done, transfer it to a covered dish to keep it warm.
Add a little olive oil or butter to the pan if there is not enough left after removing the chicken. Add the shallots and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the shallots begin to brown.
Take the pan off the stove, and away from the flame to add the brandy. By doing this, you are avoiding the brandy turning into a flambe! If, by some chance during cooking the brandy were to catch fire, you can cover it with a pot lid.
Turn the flame down to low and return it to the burner. Keep an eye on it, watching for flame, and let the brandy evaporate over low heat.
Add the wine to the pan, raise the heat to high, and bring it to a boil.
Whisk in the mustard and the apple sauce, and let reduce for 1 minute. Pour in the broth and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Turn up the flame and cook for about minutes so that some of the liquid reduces and the sauce becomes thicker.
Add the cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Then, stir in the chives and return the chicken breasts to the pan.
Serve the chicken with either couscous, rice, pasta or mashed potatoes. Garnish with more fresh chives and red pepper. The red pepper and chives added a lot to the presentation here, because everything was the same color.