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Chicken with Sage and Wine from The Lazy Gourmet

by on January 10, 2011 · 11 comments

One nice thing about the cool weather is that it has motivated me to cook. Baking has always been a pleasure, but this summer it got to a point where cooking the nightly meal was a big chore and I can mark 2010 as the year I introduced Todd to bottled marinara. We probably saved money having so many pasta nights, but I was kind of sad that cooking, a hobby I’d once enjoyed, was no longer fun.

Things picked up around late November when the temperature dropped and I found some culinary inspiration through like-minded bloggers. I also pulled out some of my old cookbooks, and ordered a few new ones. One new book I’ve grown particularly fond of and which I can see myself cooking all the way through (except for the fish chapter, of course) is The Lazy Gourmet.

Lazy Gourmet

The Lazy Gourmet was written by Marjorie Gelb and her daughter, Josie, whom I’ve known for years after meeting through a shared interest in cooking contests. What I never realized about Josie was what an amazing cook her mom was, so when I heard they’d finally put their family recipes into a book, I ordered a copy right away.

Josie’s mom trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, but she was a practicing lawyer who came home and made dinner every night for her family. Marjorie’s idea of “lazy” is a little different than mine and doesn’t involve anything close to bottled marinara, but the encouraging (without being sappy) intros and the anecdotes and tips have kept me engaged in the book and eager try the recipe that worked for their family’s various situations. There are no food photos, jut sketches and little illustrations, but the writing makes up for that. In some ways, it reminds me of an Ann Hodgman book, but different because it’s not Ann’s family, it’s Marjorie’s.

This recipe was last night’s dinner. I’m kicking myself for not taking a photo, but will add one next time. Maybe it stems from her French culinary training, but some of Marjorie’s sauces use a lot of butter. The thing with sauces is you can use as much as you want and I’ve found I’d rather make a sauce with lots of flavor-carrying fat and use a little of it then make a sauce that has half the butter and use twice as much. Not that it’s the case with every lightened recipe because there are plenty of good ones, but this recipe isn’t that rich if you just use a little bit of the sauce and ignore the part about using bread to soak up the rest. I left a lot of sauce in the pan. Speaking of which, I used a my trusty Viking Saute Pan which is perfect for cooking bone-in chicken from start to finish over the stove (and everything else in the world that calls for a skillet!). I love that pan.

Chicken with Sage and Wine

4 chicken breast, on the bone, skin on
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves
Several cloves of garlic, peeled
3/4 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio) or a combo of wine and stock.

1. Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and the olive oil in a large sauté pan. When foam from the butter subsides, brown the chicken on both sides over medium high heat, about 5 minutes per side.

2.Add sage leaves, garlic and wine to the pan. Cover, lower the heat to medium and cook 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

3.Remove chicken from pan (total cook time should be 30 minutes, but will vary depending on the size of the chicken). Adjust heat to medium-high and boil wine until syrup. Remove pan from heat and stir in remaining butter.

4.Serve chicken with sauce, rice, noodles or bread to soak up the sauce.

Note From Anna: This makes 4 servings. If you are using super-gigantic grocery store bone-in chicken breasts like the ones from H.E.B., you can cut them in half horizontally (go right through the bone) with a chef’s knife and still get 4 servings.

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Published on January 10, 2011

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue January 10, 2011 at 9:25 am

You had a lot going on this summer. I hope you didn’t spend any time beating yourself up about resorting to bottled marinara sauce.
If it’s any consolation one of the recipes I made from Ina’s new book call’s for “good marinara sauce, such as Rao’s”. So you’re not the only who turns to bottled marinara in a pinch.
For what it’s worth when I get out of my cooking zen due to stress or hot humid weather I turn to Greek or Mediterranean style dishes. I can often grill the protein and everything seems to be light and fresh. It gets me back on track… cooking wise.

Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat January 10, 2011 at 9:39 am

This sounds tasty- I’d love to see a photo too! I completely agree on sauces- I would much rather have a smaller amount of a really tasty sauce, than more of the low fat inferior version. This goes for desserts too!!

Anna January 10, 2011 at 10:21 am

Sue, that makes me feel better ;). I actually like some bottled marinara sauces and it’s kind of fun trying the different flavors. One thing I do with some of the more acidic ones is add a little cream. I noticed the sauces in Rome & Florence were a lot less acidic and adding the tablespoon or so of cream (plus a little fresh basil, in some cases) makes the bottled sauces more like the type we ate in Italy. I still haven’t tried Rao’s brand.

Amy, I’ll have to make it again so I can take the photo.

Sue January 10, 2011 at 10:42 am

Thanks for the tip about adding a little cream and or basil. BTW, I haven’t tried the Rao’s either. I was shocked to find some here, but the price was too much for me. Almost nine dollars a jar on clearance! I think it was $11 regular price.

Diana January 10, 2011 at 10:48 am

Long time lurker here. But I just wanted to say that instead of using cream to lessen the acidity, you can use a pinch of baking soda. I’m lactose intolerant, so no milk for me, but the baking soda thing works amazingly well!

Katrina January 10, 2011 at 11:52 am

Just made chicken marsala last night (though you know we don’t use wine, I used grape juice–probably not the same and I’ve tasted foods cooked with wine and they are SO good.)
My SIL teaching some healthy cooking classes here at my house every couple weeks. Last class was soups.
Here’s a super simple soup–one jar of your favorite tomato/spaghetti sauce and one can coconut milk. It was good, dairy free and everyone loved it. I’d add fresh basil to that, too.

Louise January 10, 2011 at 11:54 am

I’d hesitate to use baking soda to reduce the acidity of tomato sauce. We used to use a little baking soda in the cooking water of green vegetables to preserve their bright color, but probably twenty years ago we stopped that practice, when it was discovered that baking soda destroys the vitamin C content of vegetables.

Josie January 10, 2011 at 11:53 pm

So psyched you’re diggin’ “the laze,” Anna! And totally beaming at the shout out. Wait till you try the gruyere crackers– might be just your style.

Susan January 11, 2011 at 7:00 am

Wow! Thanks for the tip on the baking soda. Although I almost never use a bottled sauce, I’ve never heard of that trick. I also usually “doctor” it up a bit by adding cream and fresh basil. It must be challenging to get inspired sometimes to cook in the hot weather you have. Sometimes in winter here in the northeast it can actually be the best time to stay in and cook and bake. Kind of helps beat the winter blues!

Cakelaw January 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Sounds like a great book and a delicious dish.

Gloria January 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I don’t do much cooking, but I’ll bet if you are lactose intolerant you could add plain soy milk to lessen the acidity possibly? I don’t know if it would curdle….

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