This riff on a classic French dish is pure magic — easy enough for a Tuesday supper, yet dazzling enough for a Saturday soiree. HB contributor Alex Hitz shares his recipe.
CHAMPAGNE CHICKEN "VERONIQUE"
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 3 breasts), cut in half lengthwise
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup minced shallots
4 dozen red grapes, cut in half
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
COMBINE THE CHICKEN, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper in a medium-size mixing bowl and toss until all the chicken is fully coated with salt and pepper.
IN A LARGER, HEAVY SAUCEPAN over medium heat, melt the butter. When the foaming has subsided, add the seasoned chicken and sauté until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a serving platter.
ADD THE SHALLOTS to the saucepan and let them soften for 1½ to 2 minutes, without browning them. Add the grapes and let them cook with the shallots until they are just heated through, about another minute.
ADD THE CHAPAGNE or sparkling wine to the saucepan. Deglaze the pan by scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula. Turn the heat to high and let the mixture cook until it is reduced by at least half.
STIR IN THE CREAM, tarragon, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately.
Good to Know: Shallots are key to the dish’s depth of flavor, so keep an eye on them as they cook. Add the grapes when the shallots are translucent but not yet brown.
Photos by Victoria Pearson