Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chicken Breast with Walnut Aillade and Tomato Jam & Polenta

In my last post, I shared how I made a Savory Tomato Jam.  The recipe for  Chicken Breasts with a Walnut Aillade comes from "Two Fat Ladies".   If you've never watched their show, it's quite interesting. I've caught a few episodes on the Cooking Channel, and their British humor is quite entertaining.  So, what is an aillade sauce?  It's a garlic sauce. I loved the simplicity of the sauce, that is the star of this show.  I thought this would be a perfect work night dinner-- and it was.  Within the last minutes of making this dish, I was inspired to top the chicken off with some tomato jam.  It was a great idea, my husband said. He loved the whole dish. 

Whole foods had a  terrific sale on free-range boneless chicken breasts, so I stocked up and froze a few packages. I thawed the chicken, in the fridge,  the night before.  The chicken is marinated in plain yogurt with fresh lemon juice-- for about 30 minutes.

I usually keep a container of Fage Greek Yogurt on hand. I love how thick it is, and the non-fat version is excellent. But, any kind of plain yogurt will work.

I whisked in the juice of one fresh lemon.

I seasoned the chicken with just salt and pepper and set them into the yogurt and lemon juice...

These marinated for about 30 minutes, so the sauce can be made, next.
The sauce is very simple to make. (A food processor plays a helpful role). We begin with two ounces of fresh garlic.  (I used two large cloves.)  I always keep shelled walnuts in the freezer-- grab a large handful, or about 2 1/2 ounces. Add about one Tablespoon of water, and grind the walnuts. Season the ground walnuts with some salt...

...add some pepper...

You need about 1/2 cup of walnut oil.  This oil is a bit pricey (I found mine at Whole Foods).  You could use olive oil, though.  I think it would be a good substitute.

While the processor is running, slowly add the walnut oil until you have a thick sauce-- almost like mayonnaise.

Add a handful of chopped fresh parsley, and there you go!  Set the sauce aside...

I decided to warm about one cup of tomato jam.

Heat some oil in a pan, and pan fry the chicken on each side to sear.

NOTE: I forgot to wipe off the excess yogurt. Had I done so, I would have gotten a nicer sear. Ah, well.

Spoon over the aillade (walnut sauce) and cook over low heat until chicken is done (just a few minutes more).

I'm on a polenta kick, as of late.   I make mine with chicken stock, Parmesan cheese and sometimes a little mascarpone cheese or either heavy cream or half and half.   At first, I thought I'd make mashed potatoes, but the polenta called my name.  So, there's the final dish.  I think it took about thirty minutes to make.

  I think the tomato jam adds such a beautiful color. Don't you?

VERDICT:  The sauce is excellent. It has a lot of garlic, and I actually cut back on the recommended about in the original recipe.  So, be forewarned.  (I've stored the remaining sauce in an air-tight container.)   I think the sauce would be excellent on fish.  I also think it would be delicious on pasta, too. I like marinating chicken in yogurt, as I think it tenderizes the meat.  The lemon flavor was a bit strong, I thought, so I think I'd add half the amount of lemon juice-- I even think lime juice would be a nice substitute.   I loved the different textures in each bite-- the creamy polenta, tender chicken and then the chunky bite of tomato jam.  Wow!  My husband raved about this dinner, and yes, I would make this again. It's super fast, and if you love garlic, you will love this recipe.  It's actually quite healthy. (Well, maybe the polenta is a stretch, if there's mascarpone or heavy cream in it!)

Here's a printable recipe.

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Becki's Whole Life said...

Everything here looks yummy and very interesting. The Walnut sauce looks so flavorful and I like how it emulsifies in the food processor like that. I also love that you marinate the chicken in the Greek Yogurt, I am definitely going to try that. I'm sorry I missed the sale at Whole Foods - that's a great deal!

bellini said...

This is definitely my kind of dish Debby. I have coveted your tomato jam!!

Valerie said...

Walnuts are so scrumptious (and not just in desserts)! This looks fabulous, Debby.

I could live on Fage yogurt!

Mary said...

I really like the way this sounds, Debby. I'll have to try it. Time is a problem now, but when I get to it I'll let you know how it was received by my gang. Because it comes from you, I don't suspect there will be a problem:-). Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

Christine's Pantry said...

Everything here looks good.

Joanne said...

Wow this whole meal, every aspect, sounds absolutely amazing...from the walnut sauce to the tomato jam. And then you served it over polenta. You're basically my hero.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I love the Fat Ladies and their crazy affectations (trilling their rs for example). I know one of them is dead now (the lifestyle they bragged about got the better of them after all) but she must have died happy.

Lovely sauce. I'm mildly allergic to walnuts, so I wonder if it would work with another nut. I do find boiling the nuts first cuts the itchey mouth issue though.