jump to navigation

Chicken & Tomato Sauce September 21, 2011

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Garden, random stuff.

Chicken and tomato sauce.  Why, it could be just about anything, couldn’t it?

PhotobucketIt seems that this recipe from July’s issue of Bon Appétit  has been making the rounds on the internet – I first saw it on a blog, where it had been seen on a couple of other blogs, and so on.

I must say, it sounded intriguing – chicken breast, with a cherry-tomato pan sauce, finished with marjoram butter.

I am convinced that marjoram is one of the most under-appreciated herbs in the garden – right up there with tarragon.

Plus, of course, butter.

So one evening, when I was able to skip out to the garden for a couple of cups of cherry tomatoes (go garden!), I stopped on my way back in for a sprig of marjoram.  (And a bit of parsley – parsley don’t need no reason!)


The first thing we did was combine a couple of tablespoons of room-temperature butter with a clove of minced garlic, the sprig of fresh marjoram (leaves removed from the stems, of course, and chopped a bit) and just half a teaspoon of paprika  – we used Spanish – the not-hot kind and just a bit of salt and pepper (to taste).

(I think we have currently 4 different types of paprika in the house.  WHO has 4 different paprikas?  Crazies, that’s who.)

Then I assembled the rest of my ingredients – my freshly-picked (and washed) (and still whole) cherry tomatoes, the marjoram butter, and a bit, maybe half a cup, of dry white wine.

An aside:  You know how they say “never cook with wine you wouldn’t drink”?  Well, we generally cook with wine-in-a-box.  It’s not great wine, by any stretch of the imagination, or even kind of good wine.  What it is, though, is reasonably not-awful (not like “cooking wine” is awful), it’s comparatively cheap, and it keeps, on a shelf in the basement, for a couple of months.  Besides, you know what happens if you open a bottle of wine for half a cup?  You end up drinking the rest of the bottle.  Who needs that on a regular basis?

PhotobucketSo, while I was not drinking the rest of a bottle of wine, what I was doing was seasoning some boneless, skin-ON chicken breasts.

We’ve made a decision around here.  Whenever there’s chicken and a pan sauce, it’s going to be boneless, skin-on breasts, and we’re going to give them the ovenroasting treatment, then finish the pan sauce.

It’s kind of a rule now.


So on the stovetop, we browned just the skin side of the breasts in a little of that marjoram butter (why not, huh?), and once the (hot!) pan came out of the oven, the perfectly-cooked chicken breasts were moved to a covered plate to rest.

And by “rest” I mean “out of reach of any canine noses that may be in the vicinity.”

And then, my beautiful, fresh cherry tomatoes – into the hot pan!  And there, believe it or not, they started to cook and leak and get, well, almost saucy!


Of course, it’s not good having a pan sauce without something starchy to soak it up – and it’s no good having something to soak up your sauce unless you’ve got plenty of sauce, is it?

So we’re going to add a bit of liquid – in the form of the white wine.

Wine and tomatoes go together like, well, wine and pretty much anything, I guess.

Now do you see why I don’t want to finish an entire bottle of wine while cooking dinner?


Let that wonderfully fragrant sauce cook down – it’s just the chicken fond with the tomatoes and the wine, but wow!

Once the wine has reduced a bit and the sauce has thickened, you’ll take the rest of the marjoram butter (which, if you had half a brain, you stuck in the fridge while the oven was turning the kitchen into a butter-melting inferno) (I’ll definitely do that next time) and just mix it into the sauce – that’s what professionals call “mounting with butter” – DO try this at home!


Once the sauce has reduced and been mounted, we stuck the breasts back in just long enough to be sure they were still hot (not long – the sauce came together in like 5 minutes), then sprinkled with a bit of parsley, and served.

In our case, we served the chicken on a bed of cooked barley, with a generous spoonful of sauce over the whole thing and plenty of fresh bread for mopping up any stray bits of sauce.

This chicken dish was – I’ll be honest here – fantastic!  Sure, it’s tough to screw up when you’ve got the searing-then-oven-roasting thing going on.  But it was more than that – the sauce was wonderful.  The tart sweetness of fresh cherry tomatoes, along with the richness of the butter and the floral notes of marjoram made it a delightfully elegant rustic dinner.


I think maybe we’re planting more cherry tomatoes next year.


1. mazco34 - September 21, 2011

>>And by “rest” I mean “out of reach of any canine noses that may be in the vicinity.”<<

So when did you get warehouse racking and a step-ladder put into your kitchen?

Well, maybe not THAT far out of reach. 😀

2. judy - September 22, 2011

The cooler it gets the more I want to eat. Really looked GOOD. Fall is certainly in the air. 🙂

Soup weather! 😀

3. The Innkeeper's Daughter - September 22, 2011

I don’t understand why the finishing of the bottle of wine is a problem????

Finishing the bottle of wine, per se, isn’t a problem. It’s finishing a bottle of wine before dinner’s even cooked that’s the problem. 😉 Turns out a bottle of wine has just about as many calories as dinner! 😯

4. Monday Musings: 11.07.2011 Edition « Dark Side of the Fridge - November 7, 2011

[…] – Since chicken breasts were on sale this week, we’re doing a version of oven roasted chicken – this time  with an apple cider pan sauce.  I think some greens will nicely complement the […]

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: