I must confess to an unabashed and obvious bridge ingredient here – the savory cherry sauce evokes pinot noir better than anything except maybe cranberries. Come to think of it, cranberries would be a good experimental substitute for the cherries – I’d try them with blueberries as well.
6 Boneless chicken breasts (halves)
2 Tbsp ea. – olive oil and butter
3 Shallots, minced
3 Cloves garlic, minced
½ Cup pinot noir (drinkable, but not expensive)
3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
½ Cup chicken stock
½ Cup heavy cream
1 Small tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ Pint (or ½ can) cherries, pitted
Salt and pepper to taste
Place a breast (the chicken’s, not yours) between two generous layers of plastic wrap. Using any heavy, flat item (though not flat, a rolling pin or empty wine bottle will suffice) pound the breast to half its original thickness. Tip, wetting the plastic wrap helps prevent breakage during pounding.
Over medium high, heat a wide skillet for ~3 minutes, add the olive oil, then the butter. When melted, sauté the chicken breasts in batches, without crowding the pan. Sauté until just barely browned on each side (the inside should still be slightly pink at this point). Remove to a warm oven and hold.
Add the shallots and garlic to skillet and cook 6-8 minutes or until tender. Add wine and vinegar and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Continue to simmer rapidly until reduced to about 1/3 – ½ cup. Add chicken stock, cream and tomato and simmer until sauce is reduced by almost half, about 5 minutes.
Add cherries to sauce and stir to warm. After a minute or two, return the chicken and its drippings to the skillet and warm thoroughly, about another three minutes. Add a touch of salt and a generous amount of cracked pepper. Serve sauce over chicken.
NOTE: This recipe originally appeared in materials sent to members of “My Pinot Selections” – a bi-0monthly wine sampling program. To review wines currently in stock that will pair well with this recipe, click here.