Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sometimes I'm a Rock Star

Last nights dinner was so decadent and lovely. It was the exact dinner hug I was hoping for. Even though the stormy evening I was expecting ended up being sunny and bright, this perfect for fall meal was still plenty exciting.

Roasted Chicken with Swiss Cream Sauce

1 broiler/fryer chicken (3-4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces and patted dry
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Fresh thyme

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Place, skin side down, in a greased roasting pan. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes. Turn pieces over and bake 15-20 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 180°. Transfer chicken, skin side up, to a foil-lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle half of the cheese over chicken. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned.

Pour fat from roasting pan. Place pan on the stove-top over medium heat. Add broth, stirring to loosen browned bits. Stir in the cream and mustard. Bring to a gentle boil, cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Return chicken to pan, spoon some of the sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with thyme. 4-6 servings.

French Lentil Salad

1-1/2 cups dried lentils
1 small onion, peeled and halved
1 small carrot, quartered
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Fresh ground pepper
6 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
2-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Kosher salt
1/3 cup mixture of half olive oil and half canola oil
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Pick over and rinse lentils. Place in a large saucepan; add the onion, carrot, thyme, bay leaves and garlic. Season with pepper. Add cold water to cover the lentils by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes or just until tender, adding additional water if necessary.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine mushrooms and wine. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is evaporated, stirring occassionaly.

In a bowl, whisk 1-1/2 tablespoons vinegar, mustard and a pinch of salt. In a steady stream, whisk in oil. Season to taste. Drain lentils; discard onion, carrot, thyme and bay leaves. Transfer to a large bowl and add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar; toss to coat.

Add the mushrooms, dressing, green onions and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. 6 servings.

Serve the meal with some crusty French baguette to soak up the cream sauce.

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