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  Added: Mar 09, 2007  •  Visited (294)  •  Print version Print this recipe (36)  •  eMail recipe eMail recipe  •  Write review  •  Not rated Rate this recipe
Chicken Breast On A Bed Of Ham And Potatoes With Bearnaise Sauce
(Chicken Pontalba)
What You Need:
  • 14 tablespoons plus ½ pound butter, all cut into ½-inch bits
  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallions, including 3 inches of the green tops
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • ¼ pound cooked smoked ham, sliced ¼ inch thick and cut into ¼-inchdice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley plus 4 fresh parsley sprigs, both preferably the flat-leaf Italian variety
  • 2 one-pound chicken breasts, skinned, boned and halved
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil plus vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 1 large boiling potato, peeled and cut into ¼-inchdice
  • ½ cup tarragon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried tarragon
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground hot red pepper (cayenne)

  • How To Cook:
    1. First prepare the ham mixture in the following manner: In a heavy 8- to 10-inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter bits over moderate heat. When the foam begins to subside, add the onion, the mushrooms, ¼ cup of the scallions and the garlic.

    2. Stirring frequently, cook for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not brown and the liquid that accumulates in the pan has evaporated. Add the ham and stir until the mixture browns delicately.

    3. Then add the wine and chopped parsley and, stirring constantly, cook briskly until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape almost solidly in the spoon. Remove the skillet from the heat and cover to keep the ham mixture warm.

    4. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season them on all sides with ½ teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper. Roll one piece of chicken at a time in the flour to coat it lightly, and vigorously shake off the excess flour.

    5. Melt 8 tablespoons of the butter bits with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet set over moderate heat, stirring so that the butter does not brown. When the foam subsides, add the chicken breasts and, turning the pieces occasionally, cook over moderate heat until they are lightly and evenly browned.

    6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet tightly and simmer the chicken for about 20 minutes, until it is tender and shows no resistance when pierced deeply with the point of a small sharp knife. As it simmers, use a bulb baster or a large spoon to baste the chicken every 7 or 8 minutes with the pan juices.

    7. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Line a shallow baking dish with a double thickness of paper towels and place it on the middle shelf of the oven.

    8. Pour vegetable oil into a deep fryer or large heavy saucepan to a depth of 2 or 3 inches and heat the oil until it reaches a temperature of 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Pat the diced potato completely dry with paper towels, place the dice in a large sieve and lower the sieve into the hot oil.

    9. Stirring the dice with a skimmer or slotted spoon, deep-fry them for 2 or 3 minutes, until they color lightly and evenly. Transfer the potato to the paper-lined dish and keep it warm in the oven.

    10. About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, make the bearnaise. Combine the vinegar, the remaining ¼ cup of scallions, the tarragon, parsley sprigs and peppercorns in a small enameled or stainless-steel saucepan.

    11. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook briskly, uncovered, until reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing down hard on the seasonings with the back of a spoon to extract all their juices before discarding the pulp. Set the liquid aside.

    12. In a small heavy pan, melt the remaining ½ pound plus 4 tablespoons of butter bits over low heat. Do not let the butter brown. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep the butter warm.

    13. Working quickly, combine the egg yolks and water in a 1½- to 2-quart enameled or stainless-steel saucepan, and beat vigorously with a wire whisk until the mixture is foamy.

    14. Then place the pan over the lowest possible heat and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and almost doubles in volume. Do not let the yolks come anywhere near a boil or they will curdle; if necessary, lift the pan off the heat from time to time to let it cool for a few moments.

    15. Still whisking constantly, pour in the reserved warm melted butter as slowly as possible and continue to beat over low heat until the sauce thickens heavily. Beat in the lemon juice, red pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and then taste the bearnaise for seasoning. Set the sauce aside off the heat.

    16. Before assembling the chicken Pontalba, add the deep-fried potatoes to the ham mixture and stir over moderate heat for a minute or so to blend the mixture and heat it through.

    17. Spoon the mixture onto four individual heated serving plates, dividing it evenly among them, and smooth the top with the back of the spoon. Place a chicken breast half on each portion and ladle the bearnaise over it. Serve at once.

    To Serve: 4
    This recipe is also available in:
    Cuisine » Americas » Creole
    Main Ingredient » Meat & Poultry » Chicken
    Main Ingredient » Meat & Poultry » Ham
    Main Ingredient » Vegetables » Potatoes
    Dish » Main Courses


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