Saturday, February 26, 2011

Carmela Soprano's Poached Chicken with Homemade Pesto Sauce

Last week I prepared Carmela Soprano's Pizza Di Scarola, which, I admit, was a bit of work.

So, this week I thought I'd do something simple.
This is so simple, I don't know how she had the nerve to include it in the book.
Maybe she was tired from making Pizza Di Scarola, too.
Oh, well, winter is dragging on, so we all can use a break.

Okay... in the Fit for a Bride chapter of Carmela's Entertaining with The Sopranos is a real quickie.
It must be something they pull out when someone has to elope.
Or maybe for Janice, when she's picked out another husband and they're not sure how long he'll last.
It doesn't exactly scream "Party Time".
Well, how much effort would you put into a wedding dinner for Janice?
Me, neither.

This week's recipe is Poached Chicken with Pesto.
It feeds a crowd in a hurry, so it might be good to file away for a gathering.
When you don't want to bother much.
Like for Janice.

It calls for 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast.
If you've got a box of chicken breasts sitting in the freezer - yes, it was a good price - then here's something that might jazz those birdies up a bit. 

Oh, I would serve the broth, too.
Carmela just drains it, but I mean, throw in some veggies and pasta or rice after removing the chicken, cook a bit more and you've got another course.
Even Janice would eat it.
Or feed it to Bobby's kids.

Pesto can be made ahead of time.  Just cover and keep at room temperature for up to an hour, or refrigerate overnight.  It'll get a bit stiff in the fridge, so let it warm up and stir before using.

If you're really in a rush, there's nothing wrong with pulling out a jar of prepared pesto.
I don't think even Tony can tell the difference.

Summer will be back.

                        Poached Chicken with Pesto

In a blender, coarsely chop
1 Cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 Cup packed fresh parsley leaves

Add and chop fine
1 large garlic clove
2 Tablespoons pine nuts

With the machine running, slowly add 
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
Add to taste
Blend until smooth.

In a dutch oven bring to simmer
4 Cups chicken broth
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
Make sure the breasts are covered (add water if needed)
Bring the liquid back to simmer
Cover and cook 5 minutes
Turn the breasts and cook 5 more minutes
Check if a breast is done in the thickest part

Remove the chicken and let cool about 5 minutes

Cut the chicken into crosswise slices and fan the slices on a platter
(or leave them whole and give everybody knives)
Drizzle with the sauce 
(or have it on the side so people can avoid it, if they'd rather)
Garnish with basil sprigs and lemon slices, and serve
(or sprinkle with parsley - not everybody likes basil)

Would I make Poached Chicken with Pesto again?
Using the simpler instructions.
Especially in the summer since it doesn't need the oven.
And I'd serve the broth.

Another recipe down.  Twenty-nine more to go.

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