Category Archives: brandy

Brandied Chicken

IMG_3598

Here is a fun twist on a classic chicken marsala. To me, with its rich and spicy undertones, brandy is a winter liqueur. So what better way to dress up a chicken breast than bathing it in brandy? Like chicken marsala this dish is fast. The brandy adds a spicy sweetness to the onions and mushrooms making it a meal that the whole family will love.

BRANDIED CHICKEN

4 chicken breasts sliced in half or 8 chicken breast filets

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large yellow onion, sliced lengthwise

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups button mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup brandy

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium high heat.
  • Combine the flour, salt and pepper on a shallow plate and dredge the chicken breasts on both sides with the mixture.
  • Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. You want the breasts to be browned and mostly cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the sliced onion and the sugar.
  • Saute, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened and have caramelized slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms to the onions and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to high and deglaze the skillet by adding the brandy to the onions and mushrooms, scraping up any stuck on brown bits.
  • Stir in the chicken broth.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and cook for an additional minute or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Off the heat, add the butter to the skillet and stir until it has melted.

Serves 4

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French Chicken Noodle Soup

soup

Cooler weather means the onset of comfort food and what is more comforting than a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup? But this soup, adapted from Cuisine At Home isn’t your ordinary chicken noodle soup. Made with a French twist, it is a sophisticated version of the soup I grew up on. Enhanced with brandy and apple cider, the broth is flavorful without being overpowering. Mellow flavored leeks replace the traditional onions with tarragon being the herb of choice. And of course you mustn’t forget the bacon. The vegetables are sautéed in bacon drippings and the entire bowl is topped with a sprinkling of crisp bacon. What’s not to like?

Serve the soup with warm buttermilk biscuits (which you can make while the soup is simmering) and you have a comforting dinner that will warm you inside and out.

FRENCH CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

6 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 strips bacon, diced

2 cups sliced leeks

1 1/2 cups sliced carrots

1 1/2 cups sliced celery

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup brandy

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cups apple cider

2 bay leaves

6 ounces dried egg noodles

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Place the broth and chicken breasts in a large pot set over medium-high heat. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool. Reserve the broth.
  • When the chicken has cooled, use two forks to shred the meat into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
  • Add the bacon to a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon until crisp.
  • Use a slotted spoon to drain the bacon onto a paper towel lined plate.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic to the bacon drippings. Cover the pot and cook until the vegetables are tender crisp, about 10 minutes.
  • Uncover the pot and add the brandy to the vegetables, stirring to loosen any cooked on pieces. Cook until the brandy has evaporated.
  • Stir in the Dijon mustard then add in the reserved broth, the apple cider and the bay leaves.
  • Bring the soup to a boil over high heat.
  • Stir in the noodles, the diced apple and the shredded chicken. Cook until the noodles are tender.
  • Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and tarragon and season with the salt and pepper.
  • Serve immediately topped with the crumbled bacon.

Serves 6

Brandied Chicken

IMG_3598

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Here is a seasonal twist on a classic chicken marsala. To me, with its rich and spicy undertones, brandy is a winter liqueur. So what better way to dress up a chicken breast than bathing it in brandy? Like chicken marsala this dish is fast. The brandy adds a spicy sweetness to the onions and mushrooms making it a meal that the whole family will love.

BRANDIED CHICKEN

4 chicken breasts sliced in half or 8 chicken breast filets

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large yellow onion, sliced lengthwise

1 tablespoon sugar

2 cups button mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup brandy

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium high heat.
  • Combine the flour, salt and pepper on a shallow plate and dredge the chicken breasts on both sides with the mixture.
  • Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes per side. You want the breasts to be browned and mostly cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet along with the sliced onion and the sugar.
  • Saute, stirring occasionally until the onions are softened and have caramelized slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms to the onions and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to high and deglaze the skillet by adding the brandy to the onions and mushrooms, scraping up any stuck on brown bits.
  • Stir in the chicken broth.
  • Return the chicken to the pan and cook for an additional minute or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Off the heat, add the butter to the skillet and stir until it has melted.

Serves 4

Gluhwein (Mulled Red Wine)

 

Gluhwein (Mulled Wine)

The holiday is approaching and nothing says Christmas to me more than mulled red wine. Called by its German name of gluhwein, this warm spicy red wine is a staple of the holiday season throughout Europe. Regardless of where you are the base of the drink is the same; red wine is simmered with a variety of spices producing a warm and intoxicating drink that is sipped from small cups purchased from street vendors. Each country seems to have their own take on this traditional drink; in the Czech Republic slices of lemon float on top of the drink while orange is the citrus of choice in Slovenia and Croatia. Germany and Austria seem to forgo the the fruit but “class” up their presentation by servingthe hot beverage from commemorative mugs instead of paper cups. (This makes consumption so much more enjoyable). Look around a town square during the holiday season and groups of people will be standing around sipping their drinks and enjoying the holiday season.

I’ve been making my own version of gluhwein for many years. Whether it was served at our Christmas parties in Norfolk, VA or Tirana, Albania, every drop of the spicy warm goodness is inevitably gone by the end of the night. You can easily double or triple the following recipe if you are serving a crowd (or want a lot for yourself). For larger groups I like to make the gluhwein in a crock pot which makes it easy to serve and keeps it warm until the last drop has been drunk.

GLUHWEIN

2 .75 liters dry red wine
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup white sugar-or more to taste
10 whole peppercorns
10 whole allspice
20 whole cloves
6 whole cinnamon sticks
zest of two oranges

  •  Toast spices in a small saucepan until fragrant being careful not to scorch them.
  •  Place smaller spices (peppercorns, allspice, and cloves) in a tea ball or cheesecloth bag. Place all of the spices into a large saucepan or crackpot.
  •  Add the wine, brandy, sugar, and orange zest to the pot.
  •  Bring to a simmer over medium heat being careful not to boil the liquid. Stir occasionally to make
    sure sugar is dissolved.
  •  Reduce heat and let steep a minimum of 1 hour or longer.
  • When using a crock pot, I will use the “warm” setting and allow the flavors to intensify for the duration of serving while keeping the gluhwein warm.
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