Friday, May 15, 2009

Author Jane Cleland: Jerry's Chicken

I've discovered author Jane Cleland recently. Her finely crafted series about antiques expert Josie Prescott are among the best I've ever read, even if Josie does not talk about cookbooks... I've given some as gifts to happy recipients, including my Mother, who has read every mystery and loves these. Her latest, Killer Keepsakes, is about a missing beloved staff member at Josie's business, and I believe it is the best yet in the series. I subscribe to her very fun e-newsletter, too, which you can do on her website - see below! To my delight, Jane agreed to guest blog. Please welcome Jane Cleland.

Jerry’s Chicken:
Honoring Josie’s Grandfather

by Jane Cleland

In my Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries, Josie often uses her mother’s handwritten cookbook. Her mother would add notes and comments, like serving something savory to balance a salty dish. In Antiques to Die For, I wrote:

“Jerry’s Chicken had been created by my grandfather, my mother’s father, Jerry Keas, who was, apparently, an onion guy. He loved growing them and he loved eating them. He also loved cooking with them and he invented this recipe.
It’s not easy to make, my mother had written all those years ago. Don’t try it unless you have the time.”
For his recipe, Josie’s mom added this note: “Josie, dear, this is your grandfather's recipe. He was, as you know, an onion fanatic, and he often experimented with different onions. He favored Vidalias, but I prefer red onions. Also, because of the pungent, nutty flavor of the fontina, I always serve it with something sweet, like carrots steamed, then tossed with a sprinkle of salt, a little butter, a dash of nutmeg, and a pinch of cinnamon--oh, and about a tablespoon of thyme honey.”

It is my pleasure to pass on the recipe for Jerry’s chicken. As an aside, there are yummy dishes mentioned in all Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries, including the now available, Killer Keepsakes, and all of the recipes are on my website, I hope you enjoy the books, and I hope you enjoy the recipes from Josie’s past!

Jerry's Chicken
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 c. thinly sliced red onion
2 tsp fresh sage, minced and divided
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2/3 c. shredded aged fontina cheese (about 2 oz)
4 four-to-five-oz boneless, skinned chicken breast halves, tenders removed
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. chicken broth 4 tsp. all-purpose flour
1. Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry. Cut a horizontal slit along the long, thick edge of each breast half, slicing through almost to the opposite side. Set aside.

2. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large, non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add the onion slices and 1 tsp of the sage, stirring occasionally, until the onion id golden brown, 6 to 7 min. Stir in the salt and pepper. Let cool. Sir in the fontina cheese.

3. Stuff each chicken breast half with 1/4 c. of the onion mixture. Insert two wooden toothpicks at angles to seal the opening.

4. Warm a platter in a low oven.

5. Heat the remaining 2 tsp of oil in the same skillet over med-high heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook until golden, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the warmed platter and loosely cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

6. Add the wine and remaining sage to the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping up any brown bits, for 2 minutes.

7. Whisk the broth and the flour in a small bowl until smooth.

8. Add the broth mixture to the pan and whisk until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute.

9. Return the chicken to the pan, and coat each breast with sauce, turning it several times. Cook, covered, until the chicken is just cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes.

10. Remove the toothpicks, and serve the chicken on the warmed platter. Just before serving, top each breast with additional sauce.

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