An opinionated blog beginning with advice on how to create the ultimate French sauces
Intro: This is my second blog aimed at helping beginners to prepare French chicken sauces. Last week I used the Stove-Top-Cooking Method where I cooked a small skinless chicken breast quickly on the stove and created a sauce for it at the same time.
This week I use the In-the-Oven Braising Method: using this method I sear a large skin-on chicken breast on the stove and finish it by braising it in the oven. The sauce will be created in the pan as the chicken braises. (I used to love braised chicken when I worked in restaurants because once you put the chicken in the oven you can forget about it for a little while!).
Quick note: One thing that you have probably noticed by now-if you have been looking at the included pictures-is that I like to cook two servings of meat or chicken at the same time in the same pan. This is not by accident: Two portions per 12 inch pan is a system that usually seems to work best when cooking French-style entrées.
Cooking chicken using the Braising Method
The Braising Method Intro: Unlike the Stove-top chicken, (from last week's blog) the Braised chicken spends most of its cooking time in the oven. The process for this dish is pretty straight forward: you sear your chicken breast in a hot pan with oil, dump the searing oil, and then add liquid(s) and put the pan in the oven until the chicken is done. What makes braising special is that the liquids in the pan reduce and flavor the chicken breast while it cooks.
Cooking chicken using the Braising Method in four steps:
1) Sear your chicken. The first step is to sear the chicken breast-starting skin-side down on both sides in a pan with hot oil. When both sides are brown, strain out the oil.
Searing two portions of chicken along with mushroom caps
2) Braise your chicken. Next, remove the pan from the stove, carefully add wine or liquor to the pan, and then add more essential liquids (like cream, burgundy, reduced stock, etc.). Now place the pan with the chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or so. As mentioned, the liquid will reduce in volume as the chicken cooks in the oven. (Please check on it from time to time because some liquids will reduce faster than others).
Ready for the oven
3) Finish your sauce. When the chicken is done, remove the chicken from the pan, and finish your sauce. (This is usually done by whisking it and reducing it down on a medium flame). When it is done, return the breast to the pan and coat it .
Sauce is whisked while it reduces
4) Serve your chicken. Lean the breast on top of the starch that you are serving and then spoon the sauce on top of the chicken. I almost always like to place the chicken on top of or right next to the starch. (This time I used potato wedges).
Sauce is applied
Roasted Herb Chicken
The four French cooking methods used in preparing roasted Chicken
À la Minute- The method of first searing chicken, fish, or meat in a pan and then adding a liquid to it so a sauce can be created as the liquid reduces (with added heat) around the protein. Nothing equals the purity and flavor of French cooking better than this process.
Deglazing- The method of adding liquor or wine to a pan to remove the residue of the chicken, fish, or meat that is located on the bottom of the pan.
In-the-oven braising method- Method of sautéing a protein and then cooking it in the oven so it cooks in its own juices along with added liquid(s).
Searing- The method of browning the surfaces of a protein in hot oil.
Next week: Fish sauce.
The purpose of these blogs: The ultimate purpose of these blogs is to help you to successfully prepare French cuisine so that you can eventually plan and serve a multi course-meal.