This meal is restaurant-worthy. Sure, it looks relatively unassuming. But it tastes incredible. The shallot-wine sauce on the chicken is the highlight of the dish, and I'm already day-dreaming about using it again on steak in the future.
Don't be turned off by peppercorns in the title of the recipe - they aren't as prevalent as they may sound. Personally, when I hear "peppercorn-encrusted steak" or "peppercorn-encrusted salmon" I am really turned off, because that usually means all you taste are the peppercorns. But here they are delicately applied, and they really do add to the flavor of the chicken, rather than distracting from it. If you own a pepper mill, put it on the coarsest setting. If you don't, put some peppercorns in a ziploc bag and smash them with the back of a skillet. Either way will work.
I ate this meal alone while my husband is working late tonight, and it was a shame because there was no one to ooh and aah over it with. My cat had to suffice, and she didn't want to taste any herself. She just took my word for it. (Please don't judge me.)
Rosemary Peppercorn Chicken with Lemon Spinach
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 large or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound)
2 teaspoons coarsely ground peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons EVOO
1 shallot, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons good quality red wine (I used merlot)
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 pound baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Brush chicken breast on both sides with 1 tablespoon dijon mustard. Sprinkle both sides with rosemary, peppercorns and salt to taste, patting the herbs into the chicken so they don't fall off.
2. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Ad 1 tablespoon EVOO. Add chicken and cook until golden brown (NOT cooked through), about 6 minutes, turning only once. Transfer to a baking dish and bake until cooked through, about 12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, add shallots to the same skillet you used in step 2. Cook over medium-high until just soft and browned. Remove pan from heat, and carefully add the wine (step back!). Return to heat and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add the broth, bring to a boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining mustard and the parsley.
4. In a deep skillet over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon EVOO. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add spinach, season with just a tiny sprinkle of salt and cook until wilted. Stir in the lemon zest.
5. Slice the chicken breast and top with the shallot-wine sauce. Serve beside the spinach.
I hope you have someone with you to ooh and aah over this one. If not, feel free to ooh and aah to me about it! Enjoy.