Chicken with Balsamic Cream Sauce

Wine Commentary by Gary Twining

Chicken with Balsamic Cream Sauce

Try this several different ways. Add mushrooms and sweet red peppers. Substitute chopped shallots and garlic for the onions. Try seasoning with thyme, basil or a pinch of cayenne pepper. Keep the recipe for beurre manie (a dough-like mixture used for thickening) on hand – it’s a good lump-free way to thicken a sauce. Look for balsamic vinegar that has been made using traditional methods in Modena, Italy.

4 boneless chicken breast fillets, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup heavy cream
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS butter
Beurre manie (recipe follows)
Minced fresh parsley, for garnish

In large skillet, heat 1 TBS olive oil. Sauté the onion over low heat until soft and golden. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add 1 TBS olive oil and the butter to the same skillet. Sauté chicken over medium heat until nearly cooked through. Add chicken broth, vinegar, salt and pepper. Scrape up browned bits. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer over low heat about 5 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Return onions to skillet. Add the heavy cream and beurre manie, stirring until the dough dissolves. Cook until thickened and bubbly. Serve over rice, garnished with parsley. Serves 4.

Beurre Manie

Beurre manie is simply equal parts softened butter and flour, kneaded together to form a paste

1 TBS softened butter
1 TBS flour

In a small bowl, knead together butter and flour.

Gary: Balsamic vinegar has a sweet/sour tang that can challenge wines, though the addition of cream will help mellow the flavors in this particular sauce. Chicken is wine-flexible, but with this sauce try a lightly sweet Riesling, Chenin Blanc/Vouvray, Viognier or an Oregon Pinot Gris with a ripe hint of fruit. A sparkling Rosé or pink sparkler made from Malbec would also be a nice choice as would a number of still, dry Rosés. Red wines with elegance, acidity and restrained fruit such as a gentle Côtes du Rhône, Rioja/Tempranillo, Primitivo or Nero d’Avola would all work.  

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