Shallots, butter, wine, rosemary, and garlic: you can hardly get more French than that. Sometimes a good dinner is not about expanding your palate with new cuisines and exotic ingredients; sometimes the ticket is what's familiar and guaranteed to be delicious.
I knew I was in good hands with Pierre Franey when I found this recipe in his book Cooking in France, companion to his PBS television series. A Frenchman with a deep love for his home cuisine, his recipes relied on good technique and classic flavors.
What's important with this recipe is cooking the chicken skin-side down for at least ten minutes, which crisps up the skin into a mouthwatering golden brown. The smooth, rich sauce—a buttery elixir of chicken juices, mellow garlic, fragrant rosemary, and white wine—needs that crisp counterpoint. I was amazed how this recipe transformed the lowly chicken breast into great cuisine.
- 2 pound chicken pieces, or 1 3 1/2 pound chicken cut into serving pieces
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
Season chicken pieces on both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat in heavy skillet large enough to hold pieces comfortably until butter foam has subsided. Add chicken pieces skin-side down and cook undisturbed until skin is crisp and golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Turn chicken pieces over and add garlic and rosemary to skillet. Continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
Remove chicken to rest and carefully remove all but a few tablespoons of fat from skillet. Add shallots and cook for 30 seconds, then add wine and chicken broth. Scrape up pan juices from surface and reduce sauce by half.
Return chicken pieces to pan skin-side up and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through. Add remaining tablespoon of butter to skillet to finish sauce. Serve chicken immediately with sauce draped around it.