Seared Ahi with Depuy Lentils and Arugula

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 4

Ahi is a lean, full/well textured/‘meaty’ and full flavored fish that pairs well with red wine.
I created this recipe to pair with the 2003 Lambert Bridge Sonoma County Merlot.
The earthy flavor of the Depuy lentils add depth and balance to the dish.
Note: because bay leaves vary in size, I find it more accurate to list this ingredient by length.

Lentils

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons leeks, white only, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized carrot, small dice (1/2 cup diced)
  • 2 inches bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Merlot
  • 3/4 cup Dupuy lentils
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, place olive oil, chopped leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover and let cook for 2 minutes, until the leeks are cooked but not brown. Remove cover, add carrots and bay leaves, cover again and sweat the vegetables for 4-5 minutes. Add the merlot, bring to a boil, and add the lentils, thyme, chicken broth and water. Simmer over low heat, taste, and add salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Let the lentils rest until needed. There should be some broth not yet absorbed by the lentils. This broth will become the “sauce” for this dish. If the lentils sit long enough to absorb the broth, add a bit of warm water just before serving, and re-heat the lentils.

Fried Leeks

  • 1/2 cup leeks, white only, cut into 2”long thin strips (julienne)
  • 1 tablespoon flour, all-purpose
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • sea salt, to taste

Rinse leeks with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel, leaving them slightly damp. Place the leeks in a small bowl, add the flour and toss to coat.
Place a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the canola oil. When the oil is hot (1-2 minutes), add the flour-coated leeks and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes until they are crisp and slightly golden. Remove leeks from the oil, and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Sprinkle the leeks with a pinch of salt and toss. Keep crisp in an airtight container or ziplock bag to use later as garnish.

  • Merlot Drizzle
  • 1/2 cup Merlot
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

In a small sauté pan, over medium-high heat, add _ cup merlot and boil until it has reduced to 1 tablespoon. Pour the reduction into a small bowl or dressing container. Add the olive oil and whisk (or shake) until combined and slightly thickened.

Ahi

  • 1 pound ahi fillet, 1” thick center cut, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups baby arugula

In a medium sauté pan, over medium heat, place canola oil and pre-heat for 1 minute. Season the fish on both sides with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place gently into the sauté pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. I like to serve ahi very rare. If you prefer to cook it rare to medium-rare, add 2 minutes to each side.

To Serve
Reheat the lentils. Toss the arugula with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a touch of coarse sea salt. Place a mound of arugula on the center of a warm plate. Add the fresh chopped parsley to the lentils and place a healthy serving just to the side of the arugula. Place the seared ahi atop the lentils and arugula and drizzle with the merlot dressing. Sprinkle with a pinch of coarse sea salt. This dish is delicious with whole roasted baby carrots.

Enjoy with a glass of Lambert Bridge Sonoma County Merlot.

Pan Seared Halibut with a Chardonnay Ginger Sauce

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 4

Here is a great dish for Chardonnay. If the wine rich and creamy/buttery, they will compliment each other. The ginger in the sauce helps to connect the flavors of Chardonnay which often have aromas of pear and apple. The ginger and the chili sauce add enough spice and sharpness to keep the flavors clean. This dish also works well with a wine that has a good amount of acidity, which cuts right through the richness of the sauce and refreshes your palate for the next bite. If you wish to serve this with a sweeter or fruitier wine, just increase the amount of chili sauce to add additional heat, and increase the amount of lime and orange zest (or try adding a little lemon juice and see what it does!).

  • 1 each  Shallots, finely minced
  • 1 each Lemongrass, cut into 1/4” thick slices, soft white part only
  • 1 Tablespoon  Fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon  Whole coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon  Whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup  Light fish stock or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Chardonnay
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 cup Fennel, cored and cut into julliene strips
  • 1/4 cup Carrots,  peeled and cut into julienne strips
  • 1/4 cup Leeks, Jullienne
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Peanut oil (or other high temp cooking oil: light olive oil or canola)
  • 1 pound Halibut, cut into 4 – 1/4 pound boneless pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon  orange zest, use a microplane
  • 1/4 teaspoon Lime zest, use a microplane
  • 1/2 teaspoon  Sweet hot chili sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup butter, chopped into pieces, at room temperature
  • to taste  Sea salt and Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chives, cut into 1/4inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon  Sesame Seeds

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan, combine stock or broth, chardonnay, lemongrass and shallots. Place over medium high heat and reduce it to 1/4 cup. Strain through a fine strainer and place the remaining broth back into the sauce pan. Add the cream and coconut milk and reduce again over medium heat until this is reduced to approximately half and has slightly thickened.
  2. Put this mixture aside until you are ready to finish the sauce.
  3. Fill a medium sauce pan with 1/2 inch of water andplace a small steamer basket in the sauce pan, cover and bring the water to a biol. Once the water is boiling and there is steam, lower the heat to medium (still making stem), remove the cover and add the jullienned vegetables. Cover and steam for 2-3 minutes so the vegetables are still slightly crisp but not raw. Remove and spread out on a plate to cool.
  4. Season each portion of halibut with salt and pepper.
  5. In a heavy duty cast iron skillet or other cooking pan on medium to medium high heat, place the peanut oil in the pan and let it heat until you see the oil starting to ripple when you tilt the pan. Make sure you do not heat it so far that it starts to smoke!
  6. Carefully place the halibut in the pan with the whitest side down and cook until light golden brown (2-4 minutes depending thickness). Carefully turn each piece of fish and cook on other side for another 2 minutes or until the halibut is still slightly undercooked  in the middle.
  7. While the halibut is cooking, Mix the jullienned vegetables together and spread them in the center of each four pre-warmed plates. Place the small sauce pan with the sauce reduction back on a medium-low fire and bring it to a simmer. As it simmers, whisk in the softened butter so that is becomes part of the sauce.
  8. Place the cooked halibut on top of the vegetables (you should still see some of them sticking out around the halibut), then pour the sauce evenly over the halibut so that it pools onto the plate. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.

Grilled Halibut with Mango Mustard Butter

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 6

I love the delicate taste and texture of Wild Alaskan Halibut. The fillets are cut from large fish that can range from 40-100 pounds. I especially like to cook larger pieces as the center cuts are moist and tastey.

If you are willing to try cooking and turning a larger cut of this delicate fish, try a one pound piece and share it with your guests.

  • 2 each Halibut fillet, skin off, each piece 1 pound
  • ¾ cup Grenache Rosé
  • ¼ cup fresh mango, ripe, diced fine
  • 1 t  whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbs  cream
  • ¾ cup butter, salted, cut into small pieces, left at room temperature to soften
  • 1 ea lime, juice of

Method for the butter:

Place wine in small sauce pot and reduce over medium heat to ¼ cup. Add mango, mustard and cream. Reduce again until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a sauce. Remove from heat. Allow to cool completely. Add butter and whisk into the mixture until smooth. Add lime juice to the mixture mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator and whisk occasionally. Once it has started to firm (but is still pliable), remove, place in plastic wrap, and roll into a cylinder.

I make most of my flavored butters this way as they can be made a day or two ahead and kept refrigerated. When ready to use, cut off just what you want to use for the meal (this recipe is perfect for 6 guests, but you can double it and save the rest in the freezer for another day), and allow it to sit out and warm to room temperature.

Method for fish:

Meanwhile, pre-heat your grill to medium or slightly higher. Wipe the grates with a bit of cooking oil to prevent the halibut from sticking. Place the fish with what would have been the skin side up. After 3 minutes, lift the fish gently off the grill and turn it 90 degrees to create “hash” marks. After another 3 minutes carefully flip the halibut and continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes depending on the heat of the grill and the thickness of the fillet (the thicker the better for texture).

When the fish is almost fully cooked, place the softened butter in a small saucepan and warm gently while either swirling the pan or stirring with a whisk or spoon. The bit of cream in the butter will prevent it from separating the way butter usually does when warmed.

Serve the halibut on a warm platter with a few wedges of lime, the butter sauce either spooned over it or in a small bowl on the side and a glass of Grenache Rosé.

Roasted Gulf Shrimp with Fennel-Apple Salad and Ginger-Mustard Aioli

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 6

This is a wonderful and simple way to prepare shrimp and it is a very wine-friendly dish. I served this at a recent Wine Club Luncheon, with the Paradise Ridge 2006 Estate Sauvignon Blanc. If the wine you choose is a little higher in acid, then a touch of small freshly squeezed lemon can help bring everything into balance. Try the first bite without and the second with a bit of lemon and see how you prefer it.

  • 12 each White Gulf Shrimp, large (under 15 per pound), peeled and “deveined”
  • 2 teaspoons Olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon Chipotle Chili powder
  • To taste Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup  Ginger-Mustard Aioli
  • 2 cups  Mache (lamb’s lettuce)
  • 3 cups  Fennel-Apple Salad see recipe below

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the shrimp with olive oil, salt and chipotle chili powder. Place shrimp on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 5-7 minutes and remove when just cooked.
  3. Place a portion of the fennel-apple salad in the center of each plate. Top the salad with two shrimp (slightly warm) and drizzle around the plate with the aioli.

Fennel-Apple Salad

Serves 6

  • 2 cups  Fennel, shaved or very thinly sliced
  • 3 each  Apples, Gravenstein or other sweet-tart apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tarragon, fresh, chopped
  • To taste coarse sea salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients and season to taste with coarse sea salt.

Ginger-Mustard Aioli

Serves 6

It is very important that the mustard you choose be true whole grain. Good whole grain mustards have great texture and a more subtle mustard flavor. Maille mustard is a good choice.

  • 1 each  egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup  olive oil, light
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
  • To taste salt and pepper

Directions

Combine the yolk, lemon zest, ginger, lemon juice and the mustard in a small mixing bowl. Using a whisk, stir this mixture together and slowly add the 2 oils. Taste and add salt and pepper until you like the flavor. Refrigerate until ready to use. You can make this a day ahead.

Grilled Salmon with Rosé Butter

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 6

I serve salmon dishes whenever our local wild salmon is in season. Here is a simple combination of wine and food that works well together. The meaty flavor of the salmon pairs well with the Syrah Rosé.

I use a flavored butter with this dish and often make the butter a few days or a week ahead and refrigerate or freeze until needed. I add a touch of cream to the butter and this keeps it smooth when it’s warmed.

  • 2 lb Wild Pacific Salmon
  • 1/4 t garlic salt
  • ½ c + 2T Syrah Rosé
  • 1T  lemon juice
  • 2 t  lime juice
  • 2 T  cream
  • ¾ c  butter, cut up and softened at room temperature
  • to taste salt

Making the butter:

Place wine and garlic salt in small sauce pot and reduce over medium heat to 2T. Add cream. Reduce again until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a sauce. Remove from heat. Add lemon and lime juice. Allow to cool completely. Add butter and whisk into the mixture until it is smooth. Place in refrigerator and whisk occasionally to make sure the butter remains smooth. Once it has started to firm but is still pliable, remove and place in plastic wrap and roll in a cylinder in plastic wrap.

Cooking the salmon:

  1. Meanwhile, pre-heat your grill to medium or slightly higher. Wipe the grates with a bit of cooking oil to prevent the salmon from sticking. Place the fish with what would have been the skin side up. After 3 minutes, lift the fish gently off the grill and turn it 90 degrees to create “hash” marks. After another 3 minutes carefully flip the salmon and continue to cook for an additional 3-5 minutes depending on the heat of the grill and the thickness of the fillet. I prefer to cook the salmon rare to medium-rare and let the heat in the fish finish the cooking.
  2. When the fish is almost fully cooked, place the softened butter in a small saucepan and warm gently while swirling the pan or stirring with a whisk or spoon.
  3. Serve the salmon on a warm platter topped with the butter “sauce” either spooned over it or in a small bowl on the side with fresh green beans, some baby greens and a glass of Syrah Rosé.

Fire Roasted Salmon

Category: Entrees Comment
  • 1 filet of salmon (2-2.5 pounds) Serves 4-6 guests depending on what else is served.

Equipment needed (for one fillet):

  • 6 Untreated cedar shims, cut to 7” lengths, soaked in water
  • 1-6’ 2”x2” redwood post with 2 holes drilled
  • 1-18” 2” x 2” redwood post with holes drilled to match the 6’ post.
  • 2’ wire (baling wire)
  • Fire pit or BBQ fired with wood

Stand for the fire stick: this can be an umbrellas stand, a hole dug in the ground, a 2.5” diameter piece of PVC pipe that is 12” long, stuck in the ground. Just like you may have seen surf fisherman use for their fishing poles.

As alternative, you can use the cedar shims and what is known as “hardware cloth”: 1/4” square holes screening. This can hold the salmon and the cedar shims and go directly on to a BBQ.

Use very fresh wild salmon (line caught). They tend to have a better flavor than the farm raised salmon. We use smaller filets, approximately 2-2.5 pounds each, with the skin kept on!! Remove the small “pin bones” from the meat with a needle-nose pliers or tweezer.

Next the fillet of salmon is marinated in a brine overnight:

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup golden brown sugar
  • 2 qt water
  • 2T black peppercorns (whole)
  • 1t fresh thyme
  • 3” bay leaves (yes, we measure them by inches)

Combine these ingredients and sitr until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Place salmon fillet in brine and keep in refrigerator overnight.

Cooking:

Start a fire in your fire pit or BBQ. Use large logs and let it cook for at least 30-40 minutes to develop a good bed of coals. While this is taking place, put the salmon fillet on the redwood pole (see diagram). Make sure you spray the cedar shims with a non-stick spray before assembling. Once the salmon securely on the pole, add a few additional logs and let them flame for 5-10 minutes before placing the salmon over the fire. Place the salmon so that skin side is facing the fire and let it cook for at least 45 minutes on that side untilt he skin starts to get crisp, Turn the salmon so the skin side faces the fire for the last 15 minutes of cooking. Depending on how far from the fire you place the salmon, it can cook for 1 hour to 1.5 hours. It can hold on the stick and stay warm by the fire without overcooking for quite a while. Add logs as you go to keep an even heat for the fish.

Remove the salmon and pole from the fire, remove the fish carefully and serve immediately with a mango chutney or a white wine butter sauce (sauvignon blanc based); or you just with lemon. The subtle flavors of the fire will come through!!

Seared Ahi with Depuy Lentils and Arugula

Category: Entrees Comment

Yield 4 portions

I like to begin food and wine pairings by thinking in terms of the “relative weight”.. What this means is, that I tend to pair ‘heavy’ or richer foods with ‘heavy’, more complex wines, and ‘light’ foods with ‘lighter’ wines.

Ahi is a lean, textured, full-flavored fish, and therefore one that pairs well with red wine. I have created this dish to enjoy with Sonoma County Merlot. The wonderful earthy flavor of Du Puy Lentils adds depth and balance to the dish.

(note: in this recipe I list bay leaves by the “inch”, since they vary in size)

Lentils:

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons leeks, white only, finely chopped
  • 1 each medium sized carrot, (1/2 cup diced)
  • 2 inches bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Merlot
  • 3/4 cup Du Puy Lentils
  • 1 teaspoon  thyme, fresh, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups  chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • to taste salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

Fried Leeks:

  • 1/2 cup   leeks, white only, cut into 2”long thin julienne strips
  • 1 Tablespoon  Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons  canola oil
  • to taste sea salt

Merlot Drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup   merlot
  • 2 Tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil

Ahi:

  • 1 pound   ahi fillet, center cut, cut into 4 pieces, 1” thick
  • 1 Tablespoon   canola oil
  • 2 cups   baby arugula

Lentils:

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, place olive oil, chopped leeks and a pinch of salt. Cover and let cook for 2 minutes, or until the leeks are cooked but not brown. Remove cover, add carrots and bay leaves, cover again and sweat the vegetables for 4-5 minutes. Add the merlot, bring to a boil, add the lentils, thyme, chicken broth and water. Bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer over low heat for approximately 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Let the lentils rest until needed. There should still be some broth not yet absorbed by the lentils. This is part of the dish, and will be the “sauce”. If the lentils sit long enough to absorb this liquid, add a bit of warm water just before serving, and re-heat.

Fried Leeks:

Rinse leeks in a collander with cold water, then dry by patting with a paper towel. This should leave them still slightly damp. Place the leeks in a small bowl, add the flour and toss to coat.

Meanwhile, place a small sauté pan over medium heat and add the canola oil. When the oil is hot (1-2 minutes), add the flour-coated leeks and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes or until they are crisp and slightly golden. Remove the leeks from the oil, and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Sprinkle the leeks with a pinch of salt and toss. Reserve for later.

Merlot Dressing:

In a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, add _ cup merlot and boil until it has reduced to 1 Tablespoon. Pour into a small bowl or dressing container. Add the olive oil and whisk (or shake) until combined and slightly thickened.

The Fish:

In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, place canola oil and pre-heat for 1 minute. Season the fish on both sides with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place gently into the sauté pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. I like to serve the ahi very rare. If you prefer to cook it rare to medium-rare, add 2 more minutes to each side.

To Serve:

Reheat the lentils. Toss the arugula with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and a touch of coarse sea salt. Place a mound of arugula on the center of a warm plate. Add the fresh chopped parsley to the lentils and place a healthy scoop just to the side of the arugula. Place the seared ahi atop the lentils and arugula and drizzle with merlot dressing. Sprinkle with a small pinch of coarse sea salt. Top the ahi with a small handful of fried leeks standing tall to give the dish some dramatic height. This dish is great served with whole roasted baby carrots.

Enjoy with a glass of Sonoma County Merlot!

Grilled Chicken with White Grenache Plum Sauce

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 6

This is a wonderfully simple recipe. What I like most about it, is that it can be served hot or room temperature. So if you’re expecting guests and prefer to spend as little time as possible preparing food at the last moment, this is a great option.

The Plum Sauce can be made several days ahead and the chicken can be cooked beforehand and served at room temperature, or grilled quickly while enjoying the company of your guests (and a good glass of White Grenache!) and then served hot off the grill.

Either way, the sauce should be served room temperature or chilled.

I like to marinate the chicken breast for an hour or so prior to grilling as it gives the chicken a better flavor.

  • Plum Sauce
  • 1 t butter, unsalted
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • ¼ c hoisin sauce
  • 1 each shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 quart chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • ¼ t ground coriander
  • 1 c White Grenache
  • 11 each mint leaves
  • 3 each garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 2 lb plums (dark, red plums are best), pits removed

Directions

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, cook the shallots and garlic in the butter until they start to brown. Add the White Grenache and reduce the volume to ½.  Next, add the vegetable or chicken broth (I prefer vegetable broth for this recipe), plums and sugar. Simmer until the plums are just cooked through. Add the mint, hoisin and coriander and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain to remove the skins (which give the sauce excellent color and taste), shallots, garlic, plum pits and mint. Be sure to push all the plum meat and juices through the strainer, as this is the body of the sauce. At this point, you can allow the sauce to cool, place it in a blender and blend until very smooth.

Marinating the chicken:

  • 6 ea chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • ¼ c  olive oil
  • 2 each garlic, whole peeled cloves, crushed
  • 1 t  whole black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2  sprigs fresh oregano

Directions

  1. Place olive oil in a small glass bowl. Add smashed garlic cloves (you can use the side of a knife to do this) and crush further with a fork against the side of the bowl. Smash peppercorns, roughly chop oregano and add to the garlic-olive oil mix. Toss chicken breasts in the mixture to coat. Toss a few times during the next hour.
  2. After one hour of marinating, light the barbecue to medium heat. When ready remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, and place what would have been the skin side down (this is the smoother side). After 3 minutes, lift carefully and turn 90 degrees, still leaving the skin side down. This will create the “hash” marks that add to the presentation and flavor of the chicken. After another 3 minutes, flip the chicken and cook for approximately 3 – 5 minutes until just cooked.
  3. Serve hot with the Plum Sauce, or allow to cool to room temperature, slice and serve.
  4. This dish is great with a potato salad with walnuts, cilantro and olive oil.

Chicken Stuffed with Pinot Gris Butter

Category: Entrees Comment

Yield: 6 servings

This is my version of the traditional Chicken Kiev updated to Wine Country standards. I use a Pinot Gris butter instead of the traditional herb and garlic butter. It adds additional citrus flavor to the chicken as it cooks. This compliments the wine as well.

By carefully double breading this dish, it locks in the butter, so that you get a burst of flavor and aroma when you first cut into it.

I often serve this with simple steamed rice or cous-cous so that I can taste the flavor of the butter as it is absorbed by the starch.

This is one wine oriented dish that my children love.

  • 6 ea  chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, 6-7 oz each
  • 3 cups  unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 ea  eggs, large
  • 2 cups  flour

Directions

  1. Place the chicken breasts between 2 layers of plastic wrap and pound lightly with either a mallet or the back of a heavy sauce pan to flatten and even out the thickeness. You want to widen the chicken breast so that you can wrap it around the Pinot Gris butter.
  2. Place the chicken breast on a cutting board so that the “skin side” (even though there is not skin on this) is facing down. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Take 2 tablespoons of VERY COLD Pinot Gris butter (one chunk if possible) and coat it heavily with the breadcrumbs by rolling it in the crumbs. This will help keep the butter from escaping when you bake it.
  4. Place the butter in the center of the breast and wrap it completely in the chicken breast so the butter is locked inside. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  5. Place eggs (mixed with 1T of water), flour and breadcrumbs in 3 separate bowls or pie dishes. Take the stuffed chicken and coat lightly in flour. Wipe of the excess, being careful not to break the seal of the chicken around the butter. Then dip in egg, then breadcrumbs. Then go back to the eggs (we are going to skip the flour this time) and then the breadcrumbs again. This will form a double breading to help keep it crisp and seal in the butter.
  6. Carefully place this on a plate that has been sprinkled with additional breadcrumbs.
  7. Once all the chicken has been breaded. You have a choice, this dish can be baked in a small glass baking dish, or you can first pan-fry the bottom then the top to give it a little color and a bit of a crust.
  8. Either way, place in a baking dish and place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven to finish cooking. If the chicken is baked all the way, plan on at least 20-30 minutes in the oven.
  9. If you have pan-fried them first, plan on 15-20 minutes.
  10. When done, remove from the oven and CAREFULLY place these on a plate with steamed rice and a nice vegetable of your choice. I like green beans lightly steamed and tossed with a little bit of olive oil.
  11. The goal is to serve these immediately out of the oven and to cut into them before the butter has escaped.
  12. It always happens that some of the butter has escaped, so I will spoon this extra butter on the chicken for additional flavor.

Pinot Gris butter:

  • 1 cup  butter (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup  Gallo of Sonoma Pinot Gris
  • 1T   chopped parsley (flat leaf preferred)
  • 1.5 t   minced garlic
  • 1.5 t  minced shallots
  • 3/4 each Zest of lemon
  • 1/3 each Zest of orange
  • 1/8 t  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 t   salt
  • 2T  unseasoned breadcrumbs (panko)

Directions

  1. Allow butter to soften to room temperature.
  2. Place pinot gris in small non-reactive sauce pan and reduce over medium heat to approximately 1/4 it’s volume (you should have about 1.5 – 2 T of reduced wine left). Allow reduced wine to cool to room temperature before using.
  3. Place butter, reduced wine, garlic, shallots, parsley, and pepper in a small to medium sized mixing bowl. Zest lemon and orange with a micro-plane directly into the bowl so that the essential oils from the zest go into the butter. Add the breadcrumbs (I use this only when I make the stuffed chicken dish since it helps keep the butter inside)
  4. Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon until all the wine is absorbed into the butter mixture. Taste and add salt.
  5. Roll it in wax paper into a “log” shape and store either in the refrigerator or the freezer until needed. This recipe can be made several days ahead. It is best when made at least 2-3 hours ahead or the night before to allow the flavors to develop and so that it can chill for the chicken dish.\
  6. The butter can be made and the chicken can be stuffed a full day in advance. In fact, it cooks better when the chicken is stuffed and breaded ahead of time. If you do this though, you will need to roll again in breadcrumbs just before cooking.

Chicken Vallejo

Category: Entrees Comment

Serves 6

This is a wonderful dish that is quick and easy to make. It has a great depth of flavor and spice that pairs beautifully with Zinfandel. You can make the sauce a day or two ahead and then cook the chicken in the sauce the next day and serve.

Sauce:

  • 1 each Ancho Chili, roasted, seeded and stems removed
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3 Tablespoons corn oil
  • 18 each whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 each large yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted & chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano, Mexican, fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives, chopped

Directions

  1. Soak the chilis in the water for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the corn oil and garlic cloves in a heavy bottomed sauce pot over low to medium heat. Cook the garlic slowly until it turns a light golden brown and is very soft (10-15 minutes). Remove from the heat, but save the pot and the oil.
  3. With a slotted kitchen spoon, remove the garlic cloves and place them in a blender with the tomatoes, chilis and water. Blend until smooth.
  4. Put the pot and oil back on the stove over medium heat and add the onions and salt. Stir occasionally and cook until the onions are soft and golden. Add the tomato mixture, almonds, raisins, olives, oregano and chicken broth to the onions. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Keep sauce warm or refrigerate for the next day.

Chicken

  • 12 pieces chickens, whole, cut into 8 pieces each
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Season the chicken pieces with salt and chili powder.
  3. Place a heavy bottomed skillet on a medium-high fire.
  4. Add the canola oil. Once the oil is very hot, add the chicken pieces in one layer skin side down and cook until the skin is golden brown.
  5. Turn the pieces and cook until the other side is slightly golden. Pour off any fat from the pan.
  6. Add the warm sauce and place the pan with the chicken and the sauce in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the chicken prices are fully cooked.
  7. Place the chicken pieces on a plate with rice and ladle the sauce over the rice and chicken.