Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chicken Scaloppine with Saffron Cream Sauce

Growing up, Sunday Lunch was a phrase deserving of those capital letters. I suppose it was an English tradition to have the "main meal" at lunch time, particularly on Sundays. I can't say I keep up this tradition on a regular basis, but more often than not I do try to cook something nice for lunch on Sundays. Mostly because I actually have time for more than a 30-minute meal.

Today my mother-in-law came over for lunch, so I wanted to make something tasty and comforting, but with a touch of elegance. I turned to Giada for the main attraction, her Chicken Scaloppine with Saffron Cream Sauce. I made sage polenta and steamed sugar snap peas to go alongside, and a simple affogatto (ice cream with hot coffee and chocolate shavings) for dessert.

Overall it was definitely a success, and I think the chicken brought a certain amount of sophistication to an otherwise homey dish. I tweaked Giada's recipe only slightly, by pounding the chicken first to make it extra thin so it would cook quickly, and adjusting a few other minor things. But it's definitely one to put in the "keeper" pile.

It's no pot roast or whole roast chicken, but for me, it is definitely worthy of the Sunday Lunch title.

Chicken Scaloppine with Saffron Cream Sauce
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis' "Giada's Kitchen"
Serves 4


2 tablespoons EVOO
1 pound of chicken breast cutlets, pounded thin between two sheets of wax paper
ground sea salt
fresh ground pepper
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Warm EVOO in a large skillet over high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and add to the hot oil. Cook until golden and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

2. Reduce heat to medium, and add shallots and garlic to the pan. Cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until wine is almost evaporated.

3. Add chicken broth and saffron threads to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, or until broth is reduced by half. Add cream, a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to combine. Simmer for 1 minute to blend the flavors. Pour sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Absolutely delicious. My mother-in-law, Virginia, assured me that this is a good dish to impress a mother-in-law with, and I figure she should know!


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