POACHED CHICKEN BREAST WITH SHERRY CREAM SAUCE
This is one of our favorite Spring Season recipes when combined with the Seasons first asparagus. Buttermilk brining chicken breast is an excellent way to tenderize chicken, a technique we find especially useful for pasture-raised chicken which can have slightly more texture than conventionally-raised chicken. Brining followed by gently poaching the breast is a perfect way to feature the rich flavor and purity of our pasture-raised chicken. While the caramelized mushrooms and thyme in the Sherry Cream Sauce, create a mildly-sweet and earthy counterpoint.
2 buttermilk-brined skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon rendered lard, tallow, ghee or olive oil
1 large shallot, sliced
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup of Oloroso sherry, or other semi-sweet sherry
1 fresh bay leaf
4 King Trumpet Mushrooms, halved lengthwise
Flake sea salt to finish
Directions for the poached breast
- Place breasts in zip-top bag or airtight container and pour buttermilk over them until they are submerged. Place the breasts in your refrigerator and brine in buttermilk overnight.
- The next day, remove breasts from buttermilk and rinse with cold water. Sprinkle the Kosher salt onto the inside of the breasts and roll breast length wise so that the salted areas are touching and allow this to sit uncovered in your refrigerator for an hour or so. This will slightly “set” the meat and help the roulade adhere to itself while cooking.
- Carefully roll breast into a “roulade” (rolled) shape using plastic cling-wrap. If the surface of your chicken is dry, it helps to add a small amount of neutral oil to the plastic prior to rolling. After a few rolls in the plastic, twist plastic at both ends until the roll is uniform in shape. It should look like a tube of chicken. Tie both ends with kitchen twine to secure the roulade, the tighter the better for even cooking.
- Poach breast for 50 minutes at 146°. A thermal circulator (Sous Vide Machine) is ideal for this step, however a pot of water on the stove top with a simple digital thermometer to monitor the water temperature will suffice. Just make sure the water remains in the 146° - 155° range by adjusting the burner as needed.
- While the breast is poaching, prepare the mushroom cream sauce.
Sherry Cream Sauce
- Using 1/2 the teaspoon of rendered lard, tallow, ghee or olive oil, caramelize the halved mushrooms in a heavy bottom sauce pan.
- When one side of the mushrooms are golden brown, add the sliced shallots and sauté until translucent, then add the chopped thyme.
- Deglaze the pan with a splash of sherry - DO NOT FLAMBE! Reduce mixture until “au sec”, meaning, nearly dry. Make sure the sherry doesn’t reduce completely or it will scorch.
- Add the cream and bay leaf. Reduce the cream by at least half or until it has thickened enough to “hold a line” on the back of a spoon. To test this, dip the spoon in the sauce and run your finger across the back of the spoon. If the line through the sauce holds, your cream is sufficiently reduced.
- Remove the bay leaf, season to taste with more Kosher salt if needed, and hold sauce in a warm spot on your stove.
- Slice one end off of the roulade and slide the poached breast out of plastic wrap. Slice breast into round medallions and assemble on a warm plate.
- Dress medallions with warm mushroom cream sauce and a pinch of the flake sea salt, serve.
- This dish is delicious served with the season’s first asparagus and garnished with fresh tarragon or wild arugula.