Thursday, July 14, 2011

Recipe: Rice Cakes with Chicken Paillard and White Wine Caper Sauce

Some days at work are just non-stop. I am multi-tasking from the second I walk in the door in the morning with a deadline so closely upon me it sometimes makes my head spin.  Because I am a single mom, I don't have the luxury of getting to work at 6 a.m. like most people in my industry.  I walk in at 8:30 after carpool and coffee. Yes, I have to have coffee.  And yes it has to be from my coffee shop- it's a non-negotiable.  Anyhow, you could say it's a bit of a rush to get lunch for 50 out by 10 a.m. in order to be delivered and served by 11.  But, I'm not complaining, it does not bother me in the least-  I actually like the adrenalin rush I get out of working under pressure. Yes, I know the immense satisfaction I get from this is a little sick.  But, I simply love what I do and how I do it.  Every single day. If I was to describe my dream job, it's the one I have.  I feel blessed to have it.  I would not change a single thing.

Today was a little different, my lunch order was only for 12 people and it was not due until 11:15.  I can probably cook lunch for 12 people with my eyes closed at this point.  I made the order which included herbed rice pilaf and chicken Paillard with a white wine caper sauce, a caprese salad, roast baby squash and cowgirl cookies.  I finished so far ahead of schedule I unexpectedly had the rest of the morning to play in the kitchen; I had to sit there and wait for the runner to pick it up anyhow.

I made extra herbed rice so I could make rice cakes.  I Then had to also make more chicken, but only because I needed it for the pan drippings.  The chicken was only the means to an end for the sauce, the wine must deglaze something in the pan after all.  All I really wanted to eat was the rice cake and the luscious creamy sauce. Don't worry, I know you people eat meat and poultry.  I included the chicken recipe too since I put it in the photo.

Did I ever tell you how much I love butter? Butter, it makes everything better.  Yes, every single thing.  I realized just now how indulgent my use of butter was when I had to write the recipe down. If you must, you can omit half the butter in the rice pilaf, but I'm not doing any such thing.  

When pounding the chicken breasts to flatten them, I find it cleanest and easiest to put them in a plastic bag, close the bag and pound away.  This keeps all that raw chicken stuff from getting everywhere it's not supposed to be.   I made the rice this morning and chilled it for about an hour before forming the patties, but you could also do this with leftover rice from the night before.  Lastly, what does Paillard mean? It is a French method of cooking in which the meat is flattened, therefore tenderizing and allowing it to cook very quickly.

Chicken Paillard with Herbed Rice Cakes and White Wine Caper Sauce

Rice Cakes
1-1/2 cups Jasmine rice
3 cups water
1/4 lb. butter
1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs such as chives, rosemary, lemon thyme, oregano, basil and mint.
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 cups Panko bread crumbs

1. In a medium sauce pan bring the water and half the butter to a boil.  Add the rice stir briefly and cover the pot with a lid.  Reduce the heat to simmer and cook approximately 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  

2. Remove the rice from the heat and allow to cool a few minutes.  Mix in the herbs, additional butter and parmesan cheese.  Salt to taste and place in the refrigerator to cool.

3. Once the rice is completely cool, form into patties. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl or plate.  Whisk the egg in a small bowl until slightly foamy and dip each rice patty in the egg mixture then place onto the plate with breadcrumbs and coat both sides well.

4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Fry the rice cakes about 3 minutes on each side.  Place on a paper towel lined plate and set aside until the sauce and chicken are ready.  You can also place them in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.

Chicken Paillard
4 - 6-7 oz. Chicken breasts, trimmed 
1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary, chopped
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Plastic Bag and a Mallet.

1. Place chicken breasts in a plastic bag two at a time and pound to about 1/4" thickness with a mallet.  Remove from bag and season with Rosemary, salt and pepper.

2. In a large skillet, over high heat, heat olive oil until hot but not smoking.  Add chicken breasts and saute about 4 minutes on each side, turning only once until cooked through and golden brown.  Remove from the skillet, cover and set aside.  Do not wash the skillet.

White Wine Sauce
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup capers

1. In the same skillet the chicken was cooked in, over medium-high heat, pour 1 cup of wine.  Cook for about 2 minutes, it will boil and cook most of the alcohol out. Scrape the pan with a small whisk while the wine is simmering.  Add the butter and capers and whisk to combine.  Add cream and whisk in, then season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.  The sauce will thicken a little once it cools down a bit.
Serve over the rice cake and chicken. 

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