by Betty Thompson
I AM ALWAYS SEARCHING FOR new recipes using chicken suprêmes -- boneless, skinless chicken breasts -- because they can be prepared quickly. I've discovered that recipes often travel around and are adapted in the process.
The recipe for "Chicken Pueblo" came from the Culinary World Tour Page on the Internet. The person who saw it on New Orleans' WYES-TV program, "Great Chefs of the West," liked it so much he put it on the Net but forgot the name of the restaurant in the Southwest where it is served.
The dish consists of chicken suprêmes marinated in grapefruit and orange juice, assorted chilies and garlic, and served with strips of sweet bell pepper and slices of nopales.
Nopales are the young flat paddles of the prickly pear cactus. They have a flavor somewhere between green beans and okra. A few stores in Humboldt County carry fresh ones in the produce section or canned ones in the Mexican food section. If unavailable, substitute with a vegetable such as green beans.
The recipe for "Mediterranean Chicken," with marinated artichokes, dill and feta, was served by a friend in Seattle. She clipped it from a Seattle paper, but it was taken originally from "The 5 in 10 Chicken Breast Cookbook" by Brooke Dojney.
The recipe "Pollo con Liquore" came from a newspaper review posted on the window of Chateaulin Restaurant in Ashland, Ore. The article praised the cuisine and this dish in particular.
Chicken suprêmes can be prepared in 6-8 minutes. Flatten them slightly with the broad side of a knife. They can be sautéed or broiled in butter about 3 minutes on each side. Take care not to overcook or they become dry and tough.
When cooked to perfection they are white and the juices run clear yellow. When pressed with the finger they yield and spring back.
Suprêmes can also be poached in the oven. To do this heat a little butter in a heavy casserole. Roll suprêmes in butter, cover with a piece of buttered wax paper, pressing it close to the meat. Cover casserole and bake at 400° for 6-8 minutes.
Marinate this chicken ahead. Then sauté just minutes before serving. Serve with fresh nopales or green beans if the cactus is unavailable.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons clarified butter (or olive oil)
1/2 cup cream (or low-fat condensed milk)
4 fresh nopales (or one 11-ounce jar nopalitos drained and rinsed)
1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 white grapefruit
Juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1-2 jalapeño or serrano chilies and 1 yellow chile, seeded and cut julienne
1/4 cup red bell pepper cut julienne
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
Mix marinade ingredients and the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.
Prepare the nopales. Using garden gloves and a sharp paring knife, slice the spines from the nopales and cut into 1/4 inch slices resembling green beans. If using canned nopalitos, drain and rinse.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter in a large sauté pan. Add the chicken breasts and brown for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove the breasts and keep warm.
Add the rest of the marinade. Bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes; add the cream and simmer until reduced by half another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over chicken breasts.
Sauté cactus and peppers in the remaining 2 tablespoons of clarified butter until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve one breast per person with sauce, and one-fourth of the sauteed nopales and pepper on the side.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 6-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon or more red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt and fresh pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch in 2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Pound chicken between plastic wrap. Drain artichokes, reserve marinade. In a heavy skillet, fry chicken in 2 batches using 1 tablespoon marinade for each.
Heat marinade hot before adding chicken. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and keep warm. Add chicken broth, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 4 minutes. Add cornstarch and dill. Cook 2 minutes until thickened.
Stir in artichoke hearts, cook 1 minute. Spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with feta and parsley. Serve with small pasta or rice.
4 tablespoons butter
2 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (Portabello)
1/2 cup sliced olives (such as Kalamata)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
1 cup chicken broth, hot
5 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon sherry
11/2 cups cream (or low-fat condensed milk)
1 pound linguini, cooked
1 cup parmesan
1/4 cup parsley, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Sauté chicken cubes in 2 tablespoons butter for 1-2 minutes. Add peppers, mushrooms, olives and garlic; continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan along with the flour and sauté together for 2 minutes. Add hot chicken broth and simmer, stirring until thickened. Add brandy, sherry and cream and continue cooking until heated through.
Return chicken and vegetables to the pan. Heat through and pour over hot linguini on a heat-proof dish. Top with parmesan. Broil until golden. Sprinkle with parsley and lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Betty Thompson teaches cooking classes locally.